Fondazione FS Italiane

Fondazione FS Italiane looks after and manages the Italian State Railways’ vast historic heritage: founded on the 6th March 2013, it oversees a fleet of over 400 pieces of historic  rolling stock, around 150 of which are in full working order. It also oversees the archives and libraries, both the Pietrarsa and the Trieste Campo Marzio Museums and the “Binari senza Tempo” project which has reopened tourist routes along what were once abandoned lines.

It is an ambitious project, made possible thanks to the involvement of FS Italiane (Italian State Railways) and its network and train operating companies, RFI and Trenitalia respectively, and also, from 2015 onwards, that of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Tourism in the role of “Institutional Partner”.

Fondazione FS strives to valorise and pass down the immense historic and technical heritage of the Italian railways to future generations, it represents an important passage in our national history. The Foundation’s aim is to bear witness to the important role of the train as a symbol of national development and unity, and also to reclaim a new form of rail travel through tourism to the benefit of local communities and areas.

A strong link with italian railway history

Since the early 1900s the train has played a fundamental role in Italian life: daily millions of people have travelled the length and breadth of the peninsular on trains which were symbols of progress, social status and modernization.

The train represents the Italian people’s shared past, a past which we have chosen to embody in our choice of logo. Nicknamed “the barrel” or “the TV set”, the logo was originally adopted by the State Railways between 1966 and 1982 and is instantly recognisable. Moreover, past and future are linked in the FS Group’s monogram, which is also the logo’s subscript symbolising how the past and technological experience lend a competitive advantage to the FS Italiane Group.

Our Headquarter: Villa Patrizi

Today

Our headquarters are situated in the Villa Patrizi complex in Rome, a prestigious and historic building which also houses the FS Italiane holding company and the Ministry for Infrastructure and Transport.

Known to Romans as “the Railway Building”, the complex has a number of wings. It is composed of two main adjoined edifices, the first of which comprises four pavilions (spread over a number of floors,) and linked around a central courtyard. while and the other, known as “the Pentagon”, has five. During the post-war period, another eight-storey annex was built to the back of the complex and more stories were added to the original two buildings, bringing them to the current seven.

From an architectural viewpoint, the central courtyard is of particular note and houses the so-called “Fish Fountain” which is surrounded by a four-sided, double arched portico which the Foundation’s offices overlook.

The rooms which house the Foundation, have been fully restored and furnished with pieces salvaged from regional offices across the country: the Archives and the Central Library are fittingly located here and preserve a unique collection of volumes on railway history and technical books, some dating back to the middle of XIX century. While our offices, happily rubbing shoulders with the past, are situated on the first floor.

And then...

The history of Villa Patrizi began in the 16th century, when Sebastiano Cipriani, instructed by Cardinal Giovnni Battisti Patrizi, designed and built the Patrizi family villa between 1716 and 1726.

The original building however was almost completely destroyed in 1849 during clashes between the French and patriots defending the Roman Republic: Most of the building and all of the interiors were ravaged by fire. After its reconstruction in 1863 the family acquired the adjacent property, Villa Bolognetti, united the gardens and transformed the entire area.

In 1870 the house was at the centre of one of the capital’s most historic events: it was from this spot that the heroic Bersaglieri (Italian riflemen), entering in the city through the nearby Porta Pia, began the assault that would conquer Rome.

In 1907 Ferrovie dello Stato acquired the property and set up the newly created Italian State Railway company’s headquarters here, designed by the architect Pompeo Passerini.

A Foundation for the future of heritage trains

The FS Foundation’s story encompasses a number of components: its heritage trains, its historic lines and all of the men and women who are currently looking after and leading these “iron giants” into their new, future role.

The FS Foundation was established in 2013 following the express wishes of FS Italiane, Trenitalia and Rete Ferroviaria Italiana who had wanted to create a safe and structured future in which to safeguard the “family treasure”. Having spotted great potential in the salvaging of both old trains and tracks, they decided to dedicate both to tourism. This is at the origin of all the Foundation’s restoration projects, from the Pietrarsa Museum’s renovation to the Timeless Tracks project and from the revamping of the luxury EMUs  the Harlequin and Settebello, to the cataloguing and digitalisation of the historic archives.