Italferr is the first Italian engineering company to have its own staff of archaeologists.

A unique, specialised office in Italy that deals with the preliminary identification of ancient pre-existing structures and the identification of the most effective solutions to resolve any interference between new railway works and the archaeological heritage, as well as enhancing the findings, through specialised projects, to spread knowledge of historical processes used. The team works in collaboration with the territorially competent Archaeological Superintendencies in Italy and is registered in the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism's list of operators qualified to draw up the Archaeological Assessment Document.



Italferr, engaged since 2006 in the field of preventive archaeology, is the most structured and organised company among the large Contracting Authorities in terms of drafting sector studies and of carrying out archaeological investigations and excavations. It follows the various levels of in-depth study of projects and shares with the territorially competent archaeology superintendencies the entities and methods of execution of preventive verification activities.

In Italferr's background is the experience gained on archaeological findings that have occurred during the construction of the rail sections of High Speed lines. The expertise acquired in this field has significantly contributed to the birth of the procedure of "Preventive Verification of Archaeological Interest", which has become part of Article 25 of the Public Procurement Code (Legislative Decree 50/2016 and subsequent amendments). This is a crucial design element for a conscious and sensitive approach to strategic infrastructure destined to bring important transformations to the territory.

Archaeological Studies qualify rail projects based on specific parameters: acquisition of archival and bibliographic data from analysis of historical cartography, toponymy, aero-photo imaging interpretation and surface reconnaissance campaigns for observation of land.

In addition, they make it possible to process the mapping of archaeological findings attested in the territorial scope of the interventions, with indicators of potential risk related to the extent of known ancient pre-existent structures and the characteristics of the project works.

Based on the findings of Archaeological Studies, in accordance with the archaeology superintendencies, Italferr draws up calibrated projects for the execution of geophysical surveys, geoarchaeological coring, exploratory assays and trenches, excavations in extension.

After the design phase, the division carries out the field activities conducted under the supervision and technical-scientific direction of the territorially competent archaeology superintendencies, taking care of the Supervision of Works and coordination related to safety on construction sites.

Italferr takes care of every aspect related to the execution of the archaeological investigation, such as access to the areas being verified, explosive ordnance remediation, setting up of the sites.

Field activities are carried out by archaeological companies and firms via mechanical means and the aid of specialized manpower represented by archaeologists, topographers, draughtsmen, anthropologists, geologists and restorers. Once these activities have been concluded, verification of the technical and scientific documentation on the results of the investigations conducted is carried out, which becomes an integral part of the railway project from the earliest stages and is the instrument for obtaining the necessary clearances before the start of the construction phase.

This new approach has enabled Italferr to achieve significant results, such as controlled scheduling of the time and cost of carrying out archaeological investigations and a drastic reduction in the number of discoveries being made during construction.

In agreement with the archaeology superintendencies, Italferr takes care of the activities related to post-excavation and the enhancement of the most significant archaeological contexts by means of study, cataloguing and restoration of the findings, processing of databases and GIS platforms, scientific publications, design and setting up of museum spaces.

In addition, the vast experience gained in the field of high-speed rail has made it possible to experiment with an innovative approach and highlighted the need to apply new methodologies to make archaeology a "design element". The railway structure thus becomes an opportunity to learn about and enhance the substantial archaeological heritage of the areas it passes through.


An extraordinary "domus" found during preventive investigations carried out on the Lercara-Caltanissetta Xirbi railway section for the doubling of the Palermo-Catania HS line. Excavation activities are ongoing.


Twenty thousand archaeological artefacts unearthed during excavations for the Fiumetorto-Cefalù-Ogliastrillo railway track doubling on the Palermo-Messina line, which went into operation in 2017 under Italferr's Supervision of Works.