International Model Railway Day: origins and events

p>The International Day of Model Railway is dedicated, as the name suggests, to model railways and their enthusiasts. It occurs on December 2nd of each year and in Italy it is celebrated with dedicated events and free museums. It is an excellent opportunity to get closer to the railway world and deepen the techniques and technological systems behind the scale reproductions of railways, trains and everything that gives rise to this universe to be explored.



In this article, we will find out what is the origin of the festivity and what are the free museums in Florence for students and families who want to explore the theme of model railways.



History and origins of the International Model Railroading Day

The origins of the International Day of Model Railroading come from Germany, precisely in 2015. Since that year, it is celebrated every December 2 in most of Europe and brings together experts and enthusiasts of the railway world told through models with meticulously precise details.


But model railways have much older origins. Already in the early twentieth century, the first models of a means of transport that had revolutionized the previous century began to be sold (the first Italian railway line was inaugurated in 1839). Presumably born in England, this branch of modelling owes its Italian fame to Italo Briano: publisher, publicist, science popularizer and, above all, passionate about trains. He was a pioneer of Italian model railways thanks, in addition to his passion, to the representation of several companies specialized in the production of equipment for modelling. But not only that, Italo Briano was the founder and first president of the Italian Federation of Railway Modelers and “Friends of the Railway”, which will celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2023 together with that of the magazine Italmodel Ferrovie: a collection of articles on railway and modelling techniques. Once he retired from the various activities in which he was engaged, he entrusted to paper all his knowledge and experience with the book, in three volumes, “Storia delle ferrovie in Italia”.

Italo Briano's passion has given life to a movement that sees the International Day of December 2 as a moment of sharing and an opportunity to meet to celebrate the passion for Model Railways.


The same passion struck Giuseppe Paternò Castello di San Giuliano: creator and modeller of the craft and architectural work of 280 square meters hosted by the HZERO museum, which helps discover a parallel world made of tracks, landscapes, destinations and scenery.



Free events in December for model railway enthusiasts

The events for model railway enthusiasts include exhibitions, fairs and museums. In Florence, for example, HZERO on the occasion of the International Day of Model Railways, opens the doors of its museum with a free entry. On December 2nd, therefore, it will be possible to visit for free the large model of 280 square meters and the museum space, to admire the work of one of the greatest enthusiasts of trains and railway systems, the result of over forty years of work.


But the events dedicated to the International day of model railway take place in all of Italy. On 3 and 4 December at the Orfea Village in Rome, it will be possible to attend a free exhibition of model railways organized, among others, by Valentino Leone, member of the “Gruppo Romano Amici della Ferrovia.”

There are also numerous trading groups organized by model railway enthusiasts. Most of these will be open to visitors, free and accompanied by exhibitions and events, such as the one organized in Treviso on December 8th by the Treviso Railway Recreational Association or the one in Empoli, on December 18th, held by the “Toscana Ferrovie in Scala Association.”



Florence museums with a free entry

The free Museums in Florence are mainly churches, Basilicas and gardens, but not only that. The city is a real open-air museum that offers art and culture in every corner. There are many options. So: what can you visit for free in Florence? The Cathedral of Santa Maria in Fiore, for example, can be accessed to admire the majestic vault, the facades with their many secrets and the decorated portals.

Among the most important pictorial cycles of Florentine art of the sixteenth century, the one inside the Chiostro dello Scalzo has free entry. A small hidden jewel, originally the entrance to the church of the Compagnia dei Disciplinati di San Giovanni Battista, frescoed by Andrea del Sarto.

Also by the master Andrea del Sarto is the Last Supper kept in the namesake Museum, set up in the refectory of the ancient convent in the church of San Salvi. It is possible to enjoy its beauty with a free visit to the four rooms that prepare the viewer for the majesty of the fresco dated 1520-25.



How to book free museums in Florence for the International Day of Model Railway

If you are wondering how to book free Museums in Florence, it is good to remember that most organizations require a reservation, through the appropriate website, where you can choose the time slot you prefer and allow the museum to limit entrances.


Specifically, the HZERO museum opens its doors for free on December 2nd, but only upon reservation. To book the free HZERO entry for the International Model Railway Day, just visit the HZERO ticket office.


By clicking on "Buy online" you will be redirected to the Vivaticket website where you can choose the formula you prefer. To take advantage of free admission, select the "HZERO Museum" ticket and the day of Friday 2 December from the calendar. Choose the time slot you prefer and free entry will be applied. We will be waiting for you for an unforgettable day of model railways!