Pietrarsa’s history and the history of the Italian railways are one. These buildings which now house the museum were once the Royal Workshops for Mechanical Works, Ammunition Production and Locomotives which was founded by Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies in 1840. It’s purpose was to free the realm from having to depend on British and French technical supremacy.
Pietrarsa was therefore Italy’s first industrial hub (preceding Breda and Fiat by 44 and 57 years respectively). It was still in operation until the end of the 1970s when the rise in electric and diesel engines brought about the demise of steam and of the plant itself. In 1977 the workshops were earmarked to become a museum which was then opened in 1989 after restoration work was carried out: and this is where our story begins.