Metro Napoli Linea 1, Bicloch 2009, CC BY 3.0


The first Italian subway was built in Naples. It was the first piece of the direct railway between Naples and Rome, which served as a subway line. Then the “vesuviana” metro was built that connects Naples to Sorrento, Sarno and Baiano (Avellino) and Cumana – Circumflegrea metro was built connecting Naples with Torregaveta (municipality of Bacoli) and Naples with Quarto Flegreo. In more recent times, the so-called “Collinare” subway was inaugurated that today connects the hilly part of the city to the Central Station, and the north-east Campania subway (ex Alifana) that starts from Piscinola station, which is shared with the “Collinare” subway, connecting the city of Aversa. Last, partially in operation, the western subway (built entirely in tunnel) between Piazzale Tecchio (Stadio San Paolo) and Piazza Municipio (where it connects with the urban subway system).

Line 1 – the “Collinare” subway

Already in the 60s of last century there was talk of building a fast connection line between the commercial center of Naples, the hill of Colli Aminei and the Vomero hill. It was decided to build a “funicular” to connect Piazza Matteotti with the hospital area located at the top of the Colli Aminei. In the years following that first project turned into a subway between the Vomero and the center of Naples. It was projected at first to a mixed railway rack to overcome the steep slopes for the significant difference in height, then it was opted for a traditional railway. A ring-shaped path was planned to build from the Colli Aminei Hill, turning  between Piazza Medaglie d’Oro and Piazza Vanvitelli, crossed the track of the new line to a level lower near Piazza Arenella to sweeten the gap between the Vomero and city center, so that the train would come to the city centrum with maximum gradients of 55 per thousand, allowed with the ordinary railway system.

On December 22, 1976 construction work began with great difficulty due to the earthquake of 1980 and the chronic shortage of funds. The first stretch of the subway was inaugurated March 22, 1993 and linked the Colli Aminei station to Piazza Vanvitelli station. Already this short section was useful for connecting the hospital area and the Vomero hill in the center of Naples with the transshipment of passengers from the subway to the three funiculars that refer to the immediate vicinity of Piazza Vanvitelli: the funicular of Montesanto, the Central funicular arriving central part of via Toledo and the funicular of Chiaia arriving at Piazza Amedeo.

Step by step the “Collinare” subway extended his northern line to Piscinola station, towards the center of the city, it reached the National Museum station in 2001. A few years later lengthened to Piazza Dante. In 2013 the Piazza Garibaldi Station came into operation, connected with an underpass to Central Station.

The subway line 1 “Collinare” is known for art stations. There are works of art specially created by famous international artists in each station, or is the same station is a work of architectural art: Salvator Rosa, Materdei, Museum, Dante stations the first ones; Toledo, University, Garibaldi the latter ones; the Municipio station and the Duomo station will be of small museums where what was found during excavations of the same will be placed and valued; Municipio station were unearthed ancient buildings that belonged to the medieval fortifications of the Angevin, the ancient Roman port of the city was found with some boats still intact and artifacts such as vases and objects used by the navy of the time at a lower level. The Duomo station, which will be operational by 2016, were found Greek and Roman artefacts belonging to the old “cardine” that ran through the “Foro” of the city (between Via Tribunali and Via Duomo).

The extension of subway Line 1 to the new “Centro Direzionale” is being constructed, to new Palace of Justice and to the Capodichino Airport and it should be operational by 2020. There is the project of construction of the subway the beyond the airport until Piscinola terminal, thereby closing the circuit of line 1. the Piscinola station is also the terminal of the North-East Campania subway, suburban railway that has taken the place of the ancient Alifana line is currently operating as far as the town of Aversa. The major interchange nodes of the line 1 are the Municipio Station and the Garibaldi Station. The Municipio Station is shared with the Western subway line 6 (not yet completed) which will connect Piazza Municipio with the  Campi Flegrei interchange nodal (Fs Subway – line 2, Cumana Metro), it will be connected by underpass at the Maritime Station and Beverello station (Gulf islands), and the tramway that connects via delle Puglie, and S. Giovanni a Teduccio and Mergellina. Garibaldi station is connected with a underpass to the Central Station,  to the FS subway (line 2), to the lines of the Circumvesuviana metro reaching Sorrento, Baiano (Avellino) and Sarno, and to the tramway which on one side has the terminal in via delle Puglie (Poggioreale area), and the other side has its terminus at Mergellina (it momentarily stops at Piazza Municipio due to work) and S. Giovanni a Teduccio.

Line 2 – FS Subway, the oldest

The construction of a fast railway was suggested, among other measures made provision for the law on the “risanamento” of the Naples city, issued on the occasion of the 1884 cholera epidemic, to create a fast railway line to connect Naples with the capital Rome, through a tunnel under the city up to Fuorigrotta and then continue to the over ground.

The construction of railway took many years. In 1925 the first part was put into operation linking the Central Station of Naples with Pozzuoli. The terminal of the trains were arrears of 200 meters in the ancient Central Station of piazza Garibaldi creating a new open-cast subway station to a lower level, called Piazza Garibaldi station, which served only the trains that passed in the fast railway Napoli-Roma. It was the first subway line in Italy, the second was the Rome subway Line B inaugurated in 1955.

On the following years the metropolitan exercise was expanded with the construction of new stations. In 2014 line 2 was extended to S. Giovanni a Teduccio, near the new technological university and the new headquarters of Apple in Naples. Since 2002 the FS subway is equipped with an tapis roulant in underpass which is connecting the Piazza Cavour station with the station Museo of the line 1, while more recently an “inclined” elevator is linking the Mergellina station line 2 with the Western subway – line 6.

Today the tracks of the ancient Direttissima Naples-Rome are dedicated exclusively to the metropolitan service with the construction of high-speed railway on the same line. The FS subway crosses two interchanges, besides the aforementioned Cavour-Museo: the node Campi Flegrei, linking Cumana and Western subway with FS subway, the piazza Garibaldi node with the Central Station, the subway line 1, lines Vesuviana metro, the over ground tramway.

Lines 3 and 4 – Circumvesuviana metro and suburban railway

This railway manages four other suburban lines besides the two urban lines of Naples, began operating in 1884 with the line that connected Naples with Baiano (Avellino), managed by the Compagnia Anonina Chemin de Fer Naples Baiano. In 1890, a second line was added which, again starting from Naples, arrived in Ottaviano to continue, the following year, up to San Giuseppe Vesuviano; today it ended in Sarno. The terminal station of Circumvesuviana in Naples is on Corso Garibaldi, in place of the former station  Napoli – Caserta and near to Bayard Station, where today a few remains are present, which served the Naples – Portici railway.

In 1901 the line along the coast was created with the passage of the railroad to the Società Anonima Stade Ferrate Meridionali (SFSM), it starts from Naples and arrives in Torre Annunziata to deflect inwards, joining in Poggiomarino with the trunk Napoli – Sarno. In the first postwar period (1915-18), the railway was completed with the complete electrification of the railway and the almost total doubling of the tracks and the trunk was constructed from Torre Annunziata to Castellammare di Stabia, in the second postwar period (1946) it was extended up to Sorrento, replacing the tramway connecting the two localities. In recent years the traits Botteghelle – San Giorgio a Cremano and Pomigliano d’Arco – Acerra were built.

Currently the Circumvesuviana is owned by the regional holding company Ente Autonomo Volturno. In Naples metro system Circumvesuviana is distinguished by the denomination line 3, which concerns the Naples – Botteghelle – San Giorgio a Cremano line and line 4 that, always starting from Naples, arrived in Ponticelli and intersects with line 3 at Vesuvio station, it is present with all its lines in the interconnection of Piazza Garibaldi.

Lines 5, 7 (and 8) – Cumana and Circumflegrea metro and suburban railway

Cumana railway was born in the last 800 years through the work of the Società per le Ferrovie Napoletane with the railway Montesanto Torregaveta, with steam traction. In 1927 it was necessary to modify the track to allow the construction of the Mostra d’Oltremare. In 1938 the Cumana became the property of the Società per l’Esercizio di Pubblici Servizi Anonima (SEPSA) later merged into the regional holding company AEV, which provided the underground of the railway between the hill of Posillipo and the Mostra station and the complete electrification of the same. Currently the Cumana uses as terminal Montesanto station in common with the Circumflegrea metro by the same company. This terminal has recently been completely restored. It continues in the gallery to Piazzale Tecchio, to reach Bagnoli always with double track. Trains used a single binary in the trunk between Bagnoli and Arco Felice although the doubling is already operational for the half-way but, at the height of Pozzuoli, though the new gallery was already built to house the double-track line, the works are stopped for 10 years to economic and bureaucratic reasons. The line is to double track from Arco Felice to Torregaveta. The Baia station, after the construction of a new tunnel, has for some years inactive, pending adaptation to the new track.

The Torregaveta terminal, which is located 30 meters from the sea, provided for the transshipment of passengers traveling to the island of Procida and Ischia on ferries departing from the little port of Torregaveta, thus avoiding the storms that frequently affect the channels of Procida and Ischia, the service has never been activated. This line for the section that interests Naples (Montesanto Bagnoli) is marked as line 8 in the transport city plan.

The Circumflegrea railway was built by SEPSA, which already operated the Cumana, in the 50s of last century to link the new neighborhoods of Naples: District Trajano, Soccavo, Pianura and the municipality of Quarto Flegreo with the center of the city. In 1986 the construction was completed with the tract Quarto – Torregaveta. The Circumflegrea has in common the Montesanto terminal and the Torregaveta terminal with the Cumana metro. Recently it was decided to double the tracks which now works on the trunks between the Piave Station and the Pianura station, and between the Pisani Station and Quarto. The work of the first trunk between Montesanto and Piave although virtually concluded, are stopped and the trunk operates single track. The remaining doubles are still to be contracted. This railway is marked as line 5 for the urban trunk (Montesanto – Pianura).

A stretch of railway, that connects the Soccavo station of Circumflegrea with Edenlandia station of Cumana, is under construction, but now the work has stopped. This stretch, marked as line 7, is intended to create a link between the university district of Monte S. Angelo and other subway lines by means of the different interchanges.

Line 6 – Western Subway

This subway was designed on the occasion of the World Cup Italy 90, at first it was planned to connect the Campi Flegrei (Stadio San Paolo) with Ponticelli in the form of metro with a first section in the gallery and the continuation in the over ground. Only the first section entered in operation between the stadium S. Paolo and Mergellina for World Cup Italy 90. After many years the work was resumed but, in the meantime, the initial project has changed, transforming the metro into subway with completely underground path and with terminal station at Piazza Municipio, adjacent to the Municipio Station of line 1 of the subway. Since 2011 the service is suspended between Campi Flegrei and Mergellina. In 2016 Arco Mirelli and San Pasquale stations are completed, the Chiaia station and Piazza Municipio station are almost complete, The operation of subway is expected in 2017.

The city of Naples will have one of the largest rail transport systems and efficient in Italy, with the completion of the line 1 and line 6, allowing about 70 percent of the city population to find a station of subway or metro within 500 meters of their house, to reach almost every place of the city and many of the neighboring towns through the many interchange nodes.

(Photo at the top: Metro Napoli Linea 1, Bicloch 2009, CC BY 3.0)