Born in Monza (Italy) in 1965, Francesco has been passionate about trains since he was a child. His passion over the years has been expressed both through photography and historical research, and he has also worked as a volunteer in the field of conservation and restoration of historic rolling stock. For some years he has been combining his interest in railways with the hobby of landscape painting, despite being self-taught. His oil works span various eras, and also include trams and buses, but his interest in the history of railways leads him to prefer older subjects, often set in Northern Italy, where he lives.
Intercity near Albenga
The bright red livery of an E.402 with a Milan-Ventimiglia Intercity brings a touch of colour to the Ligurian Riviera near Albenga, in the 1990s.
Branch line in Piemont
The first Italian railway was inaugurated in 1839, but it was only in 1854 that the Italian industry began to produce locomotives, even if clearly of British design. This painting set around 1880 portrays one of these first engines, in service on the SFAI (Strade Ferrate Alta Italia) network. At that time they were already old, even if over the years they had been improved with the closed cab. Nevertheless, some of these engines, classified in the FS 113 group, survived in service until 1907.
The FS 660s were built in the early 1900s to haul express trains on the Rome-Pisa-Genoa route. They were very elegant locomotives, among the most beautiful that have ever circulated in Italy. This painting is set in 1906 in their heyday. The location is the rocky coast, full of tunnels, near La Spezia.
Steep gradient to the Frejus
Alp crossings have always been a great challenge for steam engine designers, but also for drivers and firemen! The 470s, with their 5 coupled axles, represent a focal point in the development of mountain locomotives in Italy. Their use in double or triple traction was frequent. This painting represents a scene set at the Frejus pass (Turin-Modane line) before its electrification, completed in 1920.
The Lloyd Express Hamburg Altona-Genoa, made up of CIWL carriages, passes at full steam from Monza around 1910. The locomotive is a brand new 680.
One of the 5 British Dean Goods, which arrived in Italy following the British Army in 1944, is shown here after the war, already registered by the FS (293 class) and fitted with Westinghouse brakes. These locomotives were used on the Adriatic route and ended their activity in the early 1950s.
Three-phase in Laigueglia
The first high voltage electric railway in the world was Italian (1900). The three-phase alternating current system, which required two overhead wires, has spread to many lines in the north of the country in the first half of the century. The Ventimiglia-Genoa route maintained the three-phase system until 1964: in this painting an international express from France passes in front of the church of San Matteo in Laigueglia, in the 1950s.
A family portrait of E.428 resting in Milan Centrale shed, circa 1970.