Why were the papal states slow to adopt railroads and trains, first invented in 1804?
Pope Gregory XVI, simply opposed these technological innovations commonplace in today’s world.
In fact, he had banned not only railways, but street lights too in the papal states in the mid 19th century. He had nicknamed them “roads to hell.”
In French, he called them chemins d’enfer meaning road to hell, a play on the French for railroad chemin de fer meaning iron road.
After his papacy, his successor Pope Pius IX in 1849 traveled for the first time on a railroad from Portici to Pagani and was enamored with the new invention.
When he returned to Rome, he began the construction of a railway network within the papal states.