Pope Francis’ well-wishes for the Italian Railways: more attractive, sustainable and supportive

Vatican, 16 September 2019

More attractive, sustainable and supportive. These are the qualities that Pope Francis wished for the Ferrovie, addressing CEO Gianfranco Battisti, the employees and managers of the Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane Group during today’s visit.

In his speech, Pope Francis explained: “The Ferrovie dello Stato are a fundamental means of transport and connection for the country, along with representing a support and incentive for economic and social development. They constitute a capillary articulation that unites the various areas of the country [...], encouraging the exchange of people and freight, experience and knowledge, culture and wealth.”

Continuing, the Holy Father defined the High Speed—the first decade of which the FS Group celebrates this year—as: “a public work of strategic importance, which [...] offers thousands of passengers a service of remarkable quality each day.” In the Clementine Hall, the Pontiff recalled the progress made and the innovations introduced by the Ferrovie dello Stato in recent years.

He then described in detail the three qualities of the Railways of the future:

  • Attractive - because they are capable of attracting investments, improving quality, promoting trade and generating new entrepreneurial realities.
  • Sustainable - for the business world, individual citizens and the territory it traverses and the communities it involves.
  • Solidarity - favouring families and those in most difficulty due to being older in age, having physical limits or a low income.


The Pontiff concluded by recalling the commitment to respect the principles of equality and non-discrimination, being principles underlying our Code of Ethics.

The words of the Pope were echoed by those of our CEO Gianfranco Battisti who stated, “This year also marks 180 years since the birth of the first railway in Italy, the Napoli-Portici line, on 3 October 1839. This reminds us of the importance of the Group in accompanying the history of our country. We have a grand history, comprised of great objectives made possible mainly thanks to the commitment of our people: the railway workers who, with great pride, perseverance, tenacity and passion, have allowed us to reach such ambitious goals.”

Social responsibility represents one of the strategic cornerstones of our company for the creation of a better future and connected to the well-being of travellers and those who work towards this,” Battisti concluded, addressing the Pope directly: “Our commitment is especially focused on the many young people, so that through the enhancement of their abilities and competences, they may become ‘sources of value’ in turn, as a testimony of hope for the future, guardians of collective assets, protagonists and simultaneous builders of the common good. Our daily actions are thus dictated by a human and sustainable approach. As a company, Your Holiness, we wish to lay the foundations today for building tomorrow.