Almost 140 years ago, the Orient Express’ inaugural journey from Paris to Constantinople (which is now Istanbul, Turkey) took place. There was a grand total of 40 passengers, and the trip lasted 13 days. While the flight from Paris to Istanbul would take less than four hours today, this trip had massive implications for the entire planet. Not only was the Orient Express visionary by including luxury “sleeper cars,” but also it marked Europe’s first transcontinental express, spanning over 1,700 miles. The original train would cease operations in 1977 due to declining interest amid competition from air travel, however, after almost half a century, the glorious locomotive is making a long-awaited return to the nation of Italy.
Beginning in 2023, the new Orient Express La Dolce Vita trains will cover 14 regions in Northern and Southern Italy, as well as other international destinations such as Paris, Istanbul, and Split, Croatia. The luxury locomotive will include six trains and several world-famous itineraries, all taking place at a relaxed pace. Even better, part of the itinerary in Rome includes a stopover at the first-ever Orient Express Hotel, the Minerva, which is due to open in 2024. Drawing inspiration from Frederico Fellini’s iconic movie, La Dolce Vita, the trains are a tribute to the historical period of intense artistic enthusiasm that swept Italy during the 1960s. In many ways, the trains pay homage to the most romantic aspects of the Eternal City, being labeled as an “ode to Italian seduction, Italian cuisine, and the artistic competition” that has long been associated with Rome.
Patrons will be able to take a step into the past with this environmentally friendly “slow tourism” experience that crisscrosses one of Europe’s most popular countries. In a world where instant gratification isn’t fast enough, this travel experience offers a needed change of pace with itineraries covering the Alps, Italian hillsides, and gorgeous southern beaches, all while being pampered with five-star amenities. For pricing information, contact the Orient Express on its website.