Explore the Museum

The History of Pietrarsa


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.


Thanks to the extensive restoration work carried out between 2014 and 2017 Pietrarsa’s National Railway Museum was transformed in to the prestigious and captivating space that we see today.

The pavilions’ characteristic nineteenth-century architectural features were restored and the outdoor spaces were improved upon by installing a Mediterranean Garden and a new glass parapet along the seafront terrace, offering unique views over the Gulf of Naples. New forms of technology also play an important part in the museum’s new setup. Pietrarsa has become one of Europe’s leading railway museums thanks to its screening room, equipped with the latest in audio and video technology, to its conference hall  which is both comfortable and functional and to its new interactive tours which employ both virtual reality tools and dedicated apps.