National Gallery Of Historical Firemen - Atlas Obscura

National Gallery Of Historical Firemen

An expansive collection of vehicles and other paraphernalia marking the history of firefighting. 


The National Gallery of Historical Firemen (in Italian, Galleria Storica Nazionale dei Vigili del Fuoco) was founded in 1991 by Firefighter Commander Nicola Colangelo. Although this appellation is the most common in the English language, a more accurate translation of the name of this museum would be the Historical National Gallery of Firefighters. The gallery consists of four interconnected rooms in a beautiful Renaissance building in the Palazzo Ducale complex. These rooms used to be the royal stables. 

The items on display are arranged in chronological order. The oldest item is a hand-operated water pump from the 18th century used by local volunteers who formed a proto-fire brigade organization. At the opposite end of the museum are more contemporary items, such as a chopper made in 1956 and used for many years afterward.  Along this spectrum is a wide array of uniforms and vehicles local firefighters use. Among the most noticeable vehicles are bicycles equipped with a hose, horse-drawn carts carrying hand pumps or barrels of water, historical cars and trucks, and motorbikes with a sidecar attached—all with the logo of the fire brigade distinctive of that era.

Historical information on fire brigades is also provided, highlighting its long history that goes as far back as the first century CE, when Emperor Augustus set up the first recorded institution. Through the years, the scope of the fire brigade evolved to include emergency interventions not directly related to fire, such as floods and earthquakes.

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October 26, 2023

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