Historic trains: on the presidential convoy with the FAI

historic convoy presidential train

Presidential train – ph. Stefano Cremisini ©
FAI Fondo Ambiente Italiano

In 1925 King Vittorio Emanuele III issued a tender for the construction of a luxurious train to be used during official journeys. Ansaldo, Piaggio, Breda and FIAT took part in the competition but it was the latter who won the contract, entrusting the project to Giulio Casanova, architect exponent of the Italian liberty current who taught as a teacher of decoration at the Albertina Academy from 1920 to 1940. L artist was able to design a train with a sumptuous decor decorated with stucco, friezes, precious woods and gold work.

The train, delivered in 1928, was composed of three main carriages almost twenty meters long: two for use by the king and queen respectively and one used as a dining room. To these were added nine other cars designed in a more modern style and intended for the princes and other notables.

During the Second World War several wagons were destroyed or damaged, but in 1948 the Officine FS of Porta Prato and Voghera returned them renewed and without the coat of arms of the House of Savoy to convert the train into a presidential train.

Presidential train compartment

Presidential train – compartment -ph. Stefano Cremisini © FAI Fondo Ambiente Italiano

In 1989 the president Francesco Cossiga donated some cars to the National Museum of Pietrarsa while in 2004 Carlo Azeglio Ciampi was the last president to travel on this historic train, to reach Livorno after leaving the capital.

This is a brief history of the presidential train, a story that the FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano) together with the FS Italiane Foundation allowed to relive those members who were present on Thursday 6 June at the Rome Termini station. The visit brought to the attention of the public some environments such as the royal dining room, the king’s and queen’s bedrooms, a carriage used as a press office, a first-class carriage and a bunk compartment.

The visit to the presidential train remains an exceptional event since his last trip 15 years ago but it is still possible to savor the retro taste of a journey on ancient luxury cars with the many other historic trains still in circulation. Above all, the timeless Orient Express remains an icon that immediately brings to mind the elegance of the 20s and 30s: still active on the historic 1883 route from Paris to Istanbul, the Orient Express promises an unforgettable journey with the its refined interiors, the classic five o’clock tea or the three or four-course menu offered by the renowned on-board kitchen, whose revamping was carried out by MULTIRAIL.

Orient Express refrigerated catering area

Orient Express – Refrigerated catering area

The FAI in collaboration with the FS Italiane Foundation invites interested parties to a tour on one of the most famous historic trains in Italy