Italy on track for Orient Express-like rail experiences

Overnight Dolce Vita train to debut in 2023

Italy will introduce its first rail tourism project targeting the luxury market, beginning in 2023.

Dubbed the ‘Dolce Vita Train, the project aims to capitalise on demand for ‘slow travel’ and encourage visitors to explore Italy by rail, with exclusive services offered on the tracks.

The Dolce Vita Train will cross 14 regions of Italy, encompassing 128 cities, on 16,000 kilometres of railway lines. The carriages will feature 20 suites and 12 deluxe cabins, with a total capacity of 64 passengers.

Train interiors are being designed by a Milanese architecture studio and will be a nod to the atmosphere of the Orient Express, but equipped with the modern technologies and innovative services.

Arsenale SpA, a company active in the luxury hospitality sector, is partnering with Trentialia on the project, which will initially launch with five trains operating on 10 routes linking artistic centres, bucolic countryside and big-ticket destinations, including Venice, Alba, Maratea, Montalcino, Val D’Orcia, Cortina and Sicily. Journeys will range from one to three nights in duration.

Tuscany, Italy | Credit: Pixabay

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The Dolce Vita Train “will open up a new frontier in the luxury hospitality market, focusing on the huge appeal of the Italian territory and its unique characteristics (seas, lakes, hills, mountains and villages, historic locations, art, regional food and wine, together with the Mediterranean climate), as well as the advantages of using slow, sustainable and more authentic tourism to discover Italy’s best-kept secrets,” said Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane SpA, the operator of the Trentialia network.

Arsenale SpA has already invested in a portfolio of luxury hotels, including Soho House and the Orient Express (the former Hotel de La Minerve) in Rome, and Rosewood in Venice.

The project aligns with the company’s development strategy, which, in addition to enhancing prestigious Italian assets in the luxury sector flanked by the largest international brands, integrates its capacity for a premium offering to create new cutting-edge hospitality services of the highest level, ready to face the challenges of the tourism market in the near future.

Maratea, Italy | Credit: Valter Cirillo from Pixabay

Paolo Barletta, CEO of Arsenale SpA, said: “Tourism is not just about hotels and restaurants. Italy is an all-round experience and it is precisely from this experience that we must start out once more for an integrated and complete offer. We want to connect Italy and generate that word of mouth, which, in the coming years, will lead tourists to discover the destinations that are lesser known today.”

“We would like to be able to take passengers on new itineraries, where the resilience of ‘Made in Italy’ shall construct dedicated experiences, new hospitality and a completely Italian warmth.

“The Dolce Vita Train is a tribute to Italy – the beauty and uniqueness of our territory, its excellence, the cities of art, the unique features of the landscape, through to the good food and dining experiences that are the hallmarks of our country and for which reason will be the pillars of our offer and our iconic trains.

“With the gradual stabilisation of the global health situation, we are convinced that the luxury sector will act as a driving force for the recovery of national tourism. Our work is aimed at creating the conditions to welcome once more the millions of travellers who, over the next 50 years, will choose Italy as their first destination. This is not just a desire but a commitment,” Barletta said.

From 2026, the service will introduce hybrid carriages as part of its sustainability focus.

Lead image: Venice, Italy | Credit:  Oleksandr Zhabin/Unsplash

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