Oh man, what a lot of us would get right now for a luxury trip around the most beautiful cities in Europe. A lot of people have already started eyeing 2023 as the year they restart their love affairs with travel (pending the situation at the border) and for those that are more into long-term planning, you might want to start your itinerary by giving this a look. We can’t really relate too much here on our little island nation in the corner of the world, but when you’re travelling in Europe, you spend a solid chunk of your journey sitting on the seat of a train. So, if you’re going to do that anyway, you might as well make it the finest train on the damn rails, right?
If all goes according to plan, that title might belong to the Orient Express La Dolce Vita, a brand new six-train fleet that promises a truly awesome experience for travellers. Those familiar with the iconic Orient Express of the 19th century might already be familiar with the route, though this new version adopts a distinctly Italian flavour.
Each of the six 11-carriage trains will whip passengers through 16,000km of rail, passing through as many as 131 cities, primarily around Italy, but also making stops in Paris, Istanbul and the Croatian seaside paradise of Split. Helming the interior look is an Italian architectural design outfit, Dimorestudio, who have attempted to replicate the 1960’s Italian aesthetic of La Dolce Vita (or the sweet life, in English), coating the interior with vibrant colouring, carpeted floors and walls littered with engaging contemporary artwork. It’s an approach that co-founder Emiliano Salci describes as “not creating a replica, but our own interpretation of the (original Orient Express) train, with an eye towards our heritage”.
The revival of the Orient Express is ultimately the joint result of a collaboration between primary Italian train operator Trenitalia, state-owned railway company Ferrovie Dello Stato, private investment firm Arsenale and French hospitality stalwart Accor. Though the project serves many purposes for its various investors, central to all is the shared aim of providing travellers with the opportunity to see areas of Italy beyond the major centres, giving them a more thorough and authentic taste of the Southern European paradise.
“The idea is to give passengers the chance to get off the train and explore beyond Italy’s most obvious destinations—a ‘dolce vita’ experience at 360 degrees,” remarked Arsenale CEO Paolo Barletta during the unveiling of the project earlier this month. Trenitalia CEO Luigi Corradi emphasised the environmental credentials of the trains, adding that “La Dolce Vita train will accelerate luxury rail tourism and will appeal to many passengers as a safe and eco-sustainable way of moving that protects the environment and allows them to rediscover the most fascinating places in our regions.”
At an expected cost of around 2,000 euro per night, it’s not going to be the kind of train you can afford to jump aboard on a whim, but if you can save up the pennies and want to experience the full scope of what Italy has to offer, this might soon be the optimal way to truly tick the Mediterranean nation it off the bucket list.
All images courtesy of Accor/Dimorestudio