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Italy to run luxury ‘Dolce Vita’ sleeper train


Julia Buckley, CNN

It’s one of Europe’s most beautiful countries with an immense amount of heritage: world famous cities, spectacular landscapes and a top notch railway system to get around.

Italy is already a dream destination — but now there are plans to make the rail experience a little more dreamier, with plans being drawn up for a “Treno della Dolce Vita.”

The “Dolce Vita train” is set to run 10 routes through Italy’s most famous landscapes, in historic trains with retro luxury, Dolce Vita-era fittings. The itineraries will cover 14 of Italy’s 20 regions, and reach 128 cities, covering 10,000 miles of tracks from north to south. Itineraries will range from one to three nights.

Passengers — who will sleep, eat and be entertained onboard, in the style of iconic services such as Belmond’s Venice Simplon-Orient-Express — will be able to ride through Tuscany’s famous hills, and around Sicily, in luxury trains that pay homage to Federico Fellini’s 1960s film of the same name.

The trains are due to debut in 2023, but were announced with a trial run from Rome to Civitavecchia, on the Lazio coast, in a vintage train kitted out especially for the occasion.

Celebrity chef Carlo Cracco catered the journey, giving a taste of what guests will experience.

The Treno Dolce Vita is a joint project between Trenitalia, part of Italy’s state railway company Ferrovie dello Stato, and Arsenale S.p.A., a company specializing in luxury hospitality which is behind forthcoming luxury hotels including Soho House in Rome and the Rosewood in Venice.

A spokesperson for the project called it “a new frontier in luxury hospitality,” promising that all of Italy’s top draws — the sea, hills, lakes, mountains, medieval villages and foodie destinations — will be served by the trains.

The project hopes to capitalize on the desire to travel to lesser visited places, and travel more slowly, post-pandemic.

Paolo Barletta, CEO of Arsenale SpA, said: “Tourism doesn’t just mean hotels and restaurants. Italy is a 360-degree experience and we need to start again from that experience to make a complete offering.”

He promised that the trains will take tourists to “lesser known places” on “new itineraries.”

Retro glamor

The experience will rest heavily on the “Made in Italy” brand, with retro fittings from some of Italy’s most famous designers, including Gio Ponti, Carlo Scarpa and Piero Fornasetti.

The company is also promising artwork from the period onboard.

Itineraries will cover world-famous areas such as Tuscany’s Val d’Orcia, as well as lesser known spots. “The Trapani Triangle” will be a slow ride around Sicily, taking in destinations including Taormina, Agrigento and Modica, as well as Trapani and Palermo.

Other routes will take guests through less-touristed parts of the country, including the Sila mountains in Calabria, and the Basilicata coast. Matera, the famous ‘cave-house’ city set to appear in the upcoming Bond film “No Time to Die,” will also be on the route.

Northern routes will include Milan to Cortina through the Dolomites, Milan to Turin through Piedmont wine country, and the Ligurian Riviera.

Each 11-carriage train will carry just 64 people in 32 cabins — 12 deluxe and 20 suites. Onboard there will be fine dining, live entertainment, a lounge bar and a concierge service to help with on-the-ground arrangements.

There’s no word yet on how much tickets will cost.

Can’t wait till 2023? In the meantime, Trenitalia has announced new routes for summer 2021, including the first high-speed Frecciarossa train between Milan and Reggio Calabria, and high-speed routes to the mountains, including Bolzano to Ancona, and Milan to Trento and Bolzano. Services are also being stepped up along the Adriatic coast.

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