Italy is launching a series of vintage trains for tourists

The historic and vintage trains will whisk tourists from major hotspots to rural regions and beyond

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly
Contributing Writer
Train and bridge in Tuscany
Photograph: Shutterstock

It seems like a day doesn’t go by without a new European train route launching nowadays. Which is a win not just for those looking to gaze out at gorgeous landscapes, but also for the environment. 

After a dazzling new coastal route launched in Italy last year, the country is launching not one, not two, but three more new routes. The trains are part of a new brand called FS Treni Turistici Italiani, which is focused on offering a unique rail experience for tourists in Italy, rather than simply getting from A to B. 

The three categories include Lusso (luxury), espressi (express), and omnibus-regionali, and they’re all operated by Italy’s state-owned railway operator, Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane (FS). 

The long-distance luxury routes include the Orient Express La Dolce Vita service, which will launch in 2024. Omnibus-regionali services will be a more affordable, slower route plan, with a focus on showcasing Italy’s glorious vistas, and will stop at small towns and villages with unique food traditions. 

Express services will transport passengers from major cities to tourist areas, such as from Milan to the Tuscan coast, and include a night train looping the southern regions. These journeys will run on repurposed vintage carriages, some of which will even have meeting rooms and ski storage. 

There are also routes offering passengers a hassle-free short break. One ‘cruise train’ route will ferry holidaymakers from Rome to the ski resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo. You can board on Friday evening, have dinner and doze away in a sleeper carriage, then hop on a shuttle bus to the slopes from Calazo-Pieve station. After a weekend skiing, you’ll get picked up again on Sunday night, and be back in the city before you know it.

It all sounds pretty wonderful – and, best of all, sustainability is at the heart of this new programme. Italy has fallen victim to overtoursim in recent years — in 2022, 56 million people visited the Bel Paese, and popular destinations such as Venice are now under threat

Antonio Tajani, Italy’s deputy prime minister, said at the launch that this programme is part of a ‘modern tourism strategy,’ for Italy, with the hopes that tourists will get to know the country’s traditions and smaller communities instead of sticking around in major tourist hotspots.

While showcasing lesser-known parts of Italy, the routes should also encourage a more sustainable means of seeing the country by making rail travel an integral part of the holiday. And the routes are set to launch as soon as 2024. All aboard!

Did you see Venice might soon be added to Unesco's list of endangered sites?

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