The little train that goes around Etna
realization of the railway that,
going around mount Etna, was connecting Bronte with Catania and
Giarre, was for the town an event of historical importance.
Was finally taken away from isolation a town of
about 20.000 inhabitants, economically developed and
with a prestigious college, the Real Capizzi
college, which was lodging several Sicilian and
Calabrian students (the boarders at that time
reached the number of over three hundred ).
brontese folks, the relatives of the boarding school
students which normally came to Bronte, were forced
to weary journeys on carriages or mule back to reach
Catania or Giarre.
The commercialization and
transport of the brontese products (pistachio, wine,
almonds, cereals, whit and oil) toward Giarre o
Catania was carried out travelling for over a day
with small carts pulled by mules or horses, over
terrible mountain roads with the added danger of
being robbed of everything by the many bandits that
infested the zone.
The railway was bringing wealth
and releasing from isolation a country of 20.000
inhabitants with an agricultural very thriving
economy, but his realization was long and tormented.
The idea of realizing a railway around Etna was born
with the constitution of a Consortium Between
Catania and the piedmont countries, stipulated with
the Royal Decree of December 31st, 1883.
first deliberation of our Civic
Council regarding the building of the railway goes
to January 9th, 1882:
Was establishing that the
station in Bronte Of The Circum-etnea did not have
to be distant more than 500 meters from the habitat
and that the quotes of contribution for all the
associated councils "must not
exceed L. 60.000 for fifty years".
year later, on February 22, 1883, the same Council
accepted the distribution of the shares done by the
Provincial Deputation, which for our council was
amounting at L. 5.174,10.
Two years later,
on April 7, 1884, the Civic Council, "knowing
that good part of the population wanted the station
of the Circumetnea to rise in Pietra Pizzuta
district, below the old theatre, downstream of the
habitat", decides to change the initial project
moving, the station in the next district "Carcere
Again two years later, the Council,
with a deliberation of 23 January 1886, names the
baron Enrico Grimaldi- Serravalle of the company
Circumetnea representative of the Council.
hopes of the brontese citizens to have the station
"near house" however were disappointed. Lively
protests were raised, 26 October 1889, from the Civic
Council against the concessionary company than with
a new layout, established unilaterally, was placing
the station upstream to a distance of about three
kilometers from Bronte.
The concessionary company,
pursuing only its economic interests, realized
upstream (on the current place) the way and the
station, very far from the habitat.
The first railway section inaugurated on February
2nd, 1895, was the "Catania Borgo-Adernò", "qualified
for everybody indistinctly the transport travelers, luggage and dogs,
goods to big and little speed, vehicles and cattle".
The Aderno-Bronte stroke was inaugurated on June
2 of 1895; the station in Bronte was built, very far from the
lived center, in the high part of the town.
The Council, to make the marketing of the brontese products easier, was
forced to a further expense of lire 50.000 to connect the station of the
Circum "with a new road suitable for carriages".
The railway was completed on July 10 of 1898 with a total length of 114,90
km (same as today).
The speed of movement
was very limited: it was
absolutely forbidden to
exceed the speed of 22
or 25 Km / h in certain
sections (almost the
entire line), it also
dismissal for the
Not much has changed
since then. After more
than a century the "Littorina"
continues to trudge
slowly and with
difficulty to reach the
833 meters of Bronte; it
has almost completely
lost its function of
"fast connection" with
Catania, remaining in
the end a vehicle only
2016 in the
locomotive depot of the
Bronte station, an
exhibition space for its
historic rolling stock
was inaugurated by the
railway, set up inside
the former railway depot
in Via Etna.