Of men and iron: the history of the Italian railway. Exhibition on Via Dante in Milan

Milan, 08 October 2019

Inaugurated today was Di Uomini e Ferro—Viaggio negli archivi fotografici delle Ferrovie dello Stato (Of Men and Iron—A journey into the photographic archives of Ferrovie dello Stato), a photographic exhibition set up in Via Dante and curated by Fondazione FS Italiane and Rizzoli Illustrati with the patronage of the Municipality of Milan.

Free and open to all until Wednesday 6 November, the exhibition allows visitors to discover the historical heritage of the Ferrovie dello Stato, with 38 photographs selected from the archive of the Fondazione FS Italiane and partly collated in the volume Di Uomini e Ferro, published by Rizzoli in January 2019.

Claudia Maria Terzi—Regional Councillor for Infrastructure, Transport and Sustainable Mobility—and Luigi Cantamessa—General Director of the Fondazione FS Italiane—were in attendance. Mara Venier was in attendance as special guest.

The Di Uomini e Ferro book and exhibition highlights important pages in our history, revealing the amount of passion and sacrifice that was needed to construct and operate the 'rail road' that has modernised the country,” declared Claudia Maria Terzi, Councillor for Infrastructure, Transport and Sustainable Mobility for the Lombardy Region. Much praise thus goes to the work carried out by the Fondazione FS—an investment of a cultural nature that thus becomes a historical patrimony of the entire country.

“Di Uomini e Ferro – Viaggio negli archivi fotografici delle Ferrovie dello Stato is a unique exhibition that recounts the history of Italy through the unpublished images found in our archive,” explains Luigi Cantamessa, General Manager of the FS Italiane Foundation. “Indeed, our country managed to rise up after the Second World War thanks to the thousands of railway workers toiling from Bolzano to Sicily. The large family of railway workers, in fact, contributed to the modernisation of Italy, from the reconstruction to the advent of High Speed. Thus, strolling along Milan's central Via Dante, a short distance from the Duomo, one can admire the portrait. We would like visitors to the exhibition to understand how behind a train's journey, there are cutting-edge technologies and the work of those who, yesterday and today, make all this possible.

The Di Uomini e Ferro – Viaggio negli archivi fotografici delle Ferrovie dello Stato exhibition presents the train not only as a means of transport but above all as a place of memory with timeless charm. Indeed, the train, as a symbol of the industrial revolution, radically changed people's mobility between the 19th and 20th centuries.

In addition, it represents a journey along the Peninsula through images of Italians who have chosen the train for their travels throughout the years. The images not only present the many railway workers whose labour contributed to the creation of the national identity but also testify to the decisive role that the development of the rail network had for the Unification of Italy.