Around 1870 the financier Ernest Emmanuel Oblieght had the idea of building a funicular over Vesuvius. In 1878 he obtained the concession of soils and the lease of the soils for thirty years. The project, drawn up by the engineer Olivieri, involved two directions along which as many cars weighing 5000 kg each pulled by steel cables ran through 45 hp steam engines. The cost of the work, which was completed in 1880, amounted to 435,000 lire. On May 25, before the official inauguration, the commission for the testing was held in Naples and on June 6, around 5 pm, the Vesuvius funicular was inaugurated.
The funicular inspired Luigi Denza and Peppino Turco to write Funiculì funiculà, a song that made the Neapolitan music famous in the world. Luigi Denza, director of the Music Conservatory of London, in the summer of 1880 was in Castellammare di Stabia to spend his holidays there. In his hotel he met Peppino Turco, a Neapolitan journalist, who also was there for health reasons. The song, released that same year by Ricordi, was a huge success, so much so that Richard Strauss included it among the themes of his symphony “Dall’Italia”.