Explore Italy next with the next luxury train from Orient Express
In the 1960s and 1970s, the free spirit and glamor of “La Dolce Vita” spread throughout Italy – artistically, socially, in fashion and design. Today, a train of the same name is being developed by Orient Express, showcasing the country’s exceptional design and routes meant to visit not only the big cities, but also the little gems off the beaten track.
The train is also a throwback to the company that operated the original Orient Express, the one associated with international intrigue and Agatha Christie on its route from Paris to Istanbul from 1883. Due to the decline in business, the train ceased operations in 1977. and the French rail network SNCF acquired the name. (The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, launched in 1982 with a few original cars bought at auction and owned by Belmond is a completely different train.) The new project is a joint venture between Gruppo Arsenale SpA, the real estate and hospitality company that owns train, Accor, which acquired 50% of the Orient Express brand in 2017, and the SNCF Group, which retained the remaining 50% and entered into an agreement with Accor to develop Orient Express hotels.
“It’s exciting to revive the refined nomadic spirit of Orient Express for a new generation of travelers,” said Stephen Alden, CEO of Raffles and Orient Express, Accor. “The original train route was innovative in the way it paradoxically brought cultures together – West with East, history with modernity. As travel artisans, we want to revive this grandiose “journey to elsewhere” of yesteryear and reconcile certain paradoxes: a journey and a destination, astonishment and inspiration, movement and contemplation. With the backdrop of breathtaking panoramas and a unique blend of cultures, we are confident that travelers will have unforgettable experiences in Italy with Orient Express. The good life. ”
Designed by Milan-based design studio Dimorestudio, the interiors of the train will still be opulent but reflect the Italy of the 1960s / 1970s, not the traditional tone of the original in its 12 luxury cabins, 18 suites, one bedroom suite. honor and a restaurant. The founders of Dimorestudio Emiliano Salci and Britt Moran were inspired by design icons of this era such as Carlo Scarpa, Gio Ponti and Ignazio Gardella as well as artists of the Spatialism movement who emphasized space and time in their designs to create a look that would merge the design of that era with the spirit of travel. Of course, Italian cuisine and wines will be presented on board in collaboration with local chefs and sommeliers as well as local “Made in Italy” products in different destinations. At the main train hub in Rome’s Termini Station, an executive lounge dedicated to train passengers will also offer local refreshments and staff to prepare guests for their journey.
These journeys will be made by six trains crossing 14 regions of the country from north to south and to three destinations outside the country: Rome to Paris, Istanbul and Split, Croatia. Given the partnership with SNCF, 10,000 miles of rail lines will be explored, including 4,375 miles of backcountry tracks leading to lesser-known scenic discoveries beyond lakes, forests, alpine mountains and the littoral. To the north, the train will travel from the Italian lakes to the Dolomites and Veneto, exploring Venice, the Langhe region and Mantua; passengers traveling in November will be able to taste the first white truffles in Alba.
In the center, the train rises from Rome through the Tuscan hills and Umbria, passing through the vineyards and artistic treasures of Florence and Siena. In the south, passengers will see the wild west of Sicily, returning to Syracuse and Mount Etna, then up the Ionian coast to the beaches of Salento and stopping in the Baroque town of Lecce and the tiered city. from Matera continuing towards Naples and Pompeii.
On international routes, passengers will travel between Rome and Paris along the French and Italian Riviera. The journey from Rome to Istanbul passes through Venice and follows the historic route of the original Orient Express to this Turkish city. The road from Rome to Split also passes through Venice and Trieste along the islands of the Dalmatian coast to this Croatian city.
Trains will start running in 2023; visitors starting or ending their trip to Rome will have an option attached to the train when it opens the following year. The Orient Express Hotel, Minerva, the first hotel of this new group, is expanding into the former 17e century palace Palazzo Fonseca which previously functioned as the Grand Hotel de la Minerva in the Pantheon district of the city. It was once a stopover on a grand European tour that drew people like Herman Melville and a long-stay residence for writers such as George Sand and Stendhal. The new owners hope that it can once again be part of an important story.