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Explore Italy by train: These new rail routes are your ticket to hidden villages and scenic nature

Some of the new FS routes will be charted by vintage trains.
Some of the new FS routes will be charted by vintage trains. Copyright Canva
Copyright Canva
By Angela Symons
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Italy’s state railway operator has announced new vintage tourist trains and sleeper routes.

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You’ll soon be able to explore popular Italian tourist destinations and tucked away villages on vintage trains.

In 2024, Italy’s state owned railway operator Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane (FS) is launching a series of train routes to encourage visitors to see the country more sustainably.

As much about the journey as the destination, FS Treni Turistici Italiani (Italian Tourist Trains) will feature three categories of train ranging from affordable to luxury.

The new services aim to respond to the “growing demand for rail tourism”, according to FS.

Here’s what you can expect.

Explore Italy in style on the Orient Express

At the upper end of the scale, FS Treni Turistici Italiani will include the new Orient Express La Dolce Vita.

The train will cross Italy from north to south on six routes, stopping at new Orient Express branded hotels in Rome and Venice along the way.

The luxury service is owned by hospitality company Accor, with FS providing the rolling stock and staff.

Chug between Italian cities on vintage trains

History buffs will love the new FS routes plied by ‘treni storici’ - vintage trains. These will focus on areas of historical and scenic interest, stopping for guided tours, walks and tastings along the way.

Medium and long distance ‘Espressi’ (Express) trains will also be launched between major cities and tourist attractions.

Their seasonal routes will include Milan to San Candido on the Austrian border; Milan to Livorno, Genoa, and Ventimiglia (close to the French border); and a night train from Rome to the south coast, including Metaponto, Catanzaro and Reggio Calabria.

The express trains will adapt 1980s and ‘90s rolling stock for tourist use with restaurant cars, cabins and luggage storage - including for skis and bikes.

Discover Italy’s charming villages on a budget

Finally, the ‘Omnibus-Regionali’ weekend services will feature slower regional trains at affordable prices.

The routes will be planned with tourists in mind, charting scenic villages rich in history, food and wine traditions.

It is hoped the new train routes will give these hidden destinations an economic boost. For every €1 spent on the historic-tourist trains, between €1.50 and €3 will be spent in the destinations visited, a study commissioned by FS forecasts.

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