Period 1: Salvatore Bianchi (1868-1935)

Stazione Termini

Pope Pius IX [4]

The first Termini station was built in order of Pope Pius IX (1846-1878), shortly before the annexation of Rome into the new Italian kingdom. The construction of the station designed by Salvatore Bianchi (1821-1884) began in 1868 and was completed in 1874 [1]. Pope Pius IX was born in 1792 and reigned till his death in 1878. He is the longest-reigning Pope, after Petrus (30-65) who reigned for 35 years. Pope Pius IX showed great interest in technological innovation. The best-known example of this remarkable interest of the Pope is Stazione Termini. In 1860, Rome had two railways arriving in two different stations: Pio Latina and Pio Centrale. This was not efficient and it hardly had a positive effect on commerce and prosperity. Therefore, Pope Pius IX decided to unify the two stations in one large central station. At that time, many Italian cities such as Milan and Turin were building their own stations and Rome, as the capital of Italy, could not stay behind [2]. Not everybody agreed with the plan to locate the first central railway station in Rome. People were sceptic about the station and several debates followed. The opposition argued that rebels could easily enter the city. Rome was not able to close the gates to keep the rebels outside [3]. This could put the safety of the city and the habitants in danger. Furthermore, it was a highly expensive project for the city [3]. Despite these arguments, the construction of the first Stazione Termini started and Pope Pius IX got what he wanted.

Stazione Termini was designed by the architect Salvatore Bianchi. Bianchi was born in a noble family and he had a passion for Papal studies. One of his other important projects is his design for the Celio's Military Hospital. The construction of the hospital in Rome started in 1885 and was completed in 1891 [5].

Stazione Termini around 1870 [8]

The first Termini station was made of a wooden structure and it had a plaza in front of it where people could meet each other. At first sight, the outside of Termini does not look like a station. It could be anything such as a palace due to the use of materials. Bianchi used in his design ornaments, arches, pillars and many little details which refers to antiquity. A remarkable feature is that the pillars in the front do not have a function for the construction of the station, they are only there for the decoration. The main function of this station was to transport people but some complementary services were available for the travellers. For example, travellers could make use of the Coffee Room and the Royal Postal Service. The prominent travellers could utilise the Royal Room and the Room of Ministers [3]. However, people did not come to Stazione Termini especially for the use of these services. Their main purpose was to travel and these services made the transportation more comfortable.

In the middle of the station, at the side of the plaza, stood a big clock so that passengers could check the time for departure. The clock is an example of how the design of the station contributes to the main function, travelling. Next to this, an obelisk was placed on the plaza, as a memorial to the Italian catastrophe in the battle of Dogali. Nowadays, the obelisk is located in a street nearby, via delle Terme di Diocleziano [6]. One of the most favourable feature of Stazione Termini is the location of the station. The station is constructed on the periphery of the city centre, an enormous free space close to the centre of Rome. In the course of time, the city expanded and there was enough space to aggrandize Stazione Termini. It became the centre point for the urban area [3]. After the opening of Stazione Termini, the station seemed to be too large for the needs of Rome. However, an increasing number of people became aware of the benefits of the station. Only after 15 years, the railway traffic had enormously expanded and the station became too little for the demand [1]. Therefore, a series of enlargement work began such as constructing more tracks and platforms and building a ticket office [7].


  1. Kallis, A. (2014). The Third Rome 1922-1943. Palgrave Macmillan.
  2. [Accessed 5 Oct. 2017]
  3. Passini, G., & Pezzoli, G. (2000). Roma Termini. Bologna: Editrice Compositori.
  4. [Accessed 19 Dec. 2017]
  5. [Accessed 5 Oct. 2017]
  6. [Accessed 26 Nov. 2017]
  7. [Accessed 7 Oct. 2017]
  8. [Accessed 19 Dec. 2017]