Stazioni del territorio: the FS Group project to regenerate small towns with new services

  • the initiative aims to enhance and convert 20 stations into multifunctional hubs in municipalities with less than 15,000 inhabitants
  • go-ahead for five pilot stations in the 2009 and 2016 earthquake zone of central Italy
  • agreements signed with Amazon Locker, Associazione Nazionale Carabinieri, Italian Red Cross, Federfarma, FIMMG, Sport e Salute

Rome, 16 April 2024 - Make stations a more valuable part of the social fabric by exploiting their widespread presence throughout the country and converting them into multi-service centres for citizens and local communities.

This is the aim of Stazioni del Territorio, a project promoted by FS Group companies and involving railway stations in municipalities with fewer than 15,000 inhabitants.

The purpose of the initiative is to convert stations into multifunctional hubs by using available space in buildings and disused outdoor areas, and making them available to citizens for multi-purpose and public utility services.

The project was presented today at the FS Group's headquarters in Rome by Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure and Transport Minister Matteo Salvini, the 2016 Earthquake Repair and Reconstruction Commissioner Guido Castelli, ANCI Secretary General Veronica Nicotra, FS Group CEO Luigi Ferraris, the CEO and Executive Manager of RFI Gianpiero Strisciuglio, the Director of the Luiss School of Government and Co-Director of the Luiss Policy Observatory Giovanni Orsina. During the presentation, a live link was made to the Popoli-Vittorito station (Pescara).

Stazioni del Territorio will involve 20 stations throughout Italy and has already started in five pilot stations in the four regions of central Italy affected by the 2009 and 2016 earthquakes: Popoli-Vittorito (Pescara), Urbisaglia-Sforzacosta and Matelica (Macerata) are both nearing completion, while Antrodoco Centro (Rieti) and Baiano di Spoleto (Perugia) are undergoing works due for completion in 2025.

For each station, the needs expressed by the local area were listened to and the services and functions needed were included in the project. These ranged from medical clinics to pharmacies, and workstations with electrical outlets to Amazon Lockers.

The other stations that will be involved are: Sesto Calende (Varese), Arona (Novara), Gemona del Friuli (Udine), Camogli (Genova), Diano Marina (Imperia), Passignano sul Trasimeno (Perugia), Piazza al Serchio (Lucca), Loreto (Ancona), S. Gavino Monreale (South Sardinia), Golfo Aranci (Sassari), Tropea (Vibo Valentia), Maratea (Potenza), Cesano di Roma (Rome), Sant'Agata di Militello (Messina) and San Marcellino - Frigano (Caserta).

The criteria for selecting the stations were as follows: Municipalities with a population of less than 15,000, internet coverage, availability of adequate space for the installation of services, passenger service active and location predominantly in urban settings.

The services to be set up in the stations were the subject of agreements signed by the FS Italian Group with: Amazon Locker, Associazione Nazionale Carabinieri, Italian Red Cross, Federazione dei Medici di Medicina Generale (FIMMG), Federfarma and Sport e Salute.

The initiative also includes a collaboration with Infratel Italia, which will work closely with the municipalities to bring free WI-FI connections to railway stations.

The study “Piccole Stazioni: un tempo nuovo per i borghi” (Small Stations: a new time for villages), carried out by the Policy Observatory of the Luiss School of Government in collaboration with the FS Group, found that 78% of people interviewed believe that living in a village offers a better quality of life than living in the city. It is particularly interesting that 39% of young people aged between 18 and 34 years old have considered living in a village. However, the Policy Observatory notes that this trend in opinion is tempered by challenges such as access to services, connectivity and job opportunities.

The Stazioni del Territorio project therefore aims to act as a stepping stone towards realising this aspiration, by offering railway stations and giving them not only renewed importance but also a new purpose: instead of serving as mere railway connections, they will be hubs for services, culture and social cohesion in local communities.