A new Orient Express train arrives in Italy, what happened before?

A new luxury hotel train, the Orient Express La Dolce Vita, will operate in Italy from 2023. It also offers international flights to Paris, Istanbul and Split. The train continues the legacy of the world-class Orient Express, which began in 1883.

The new Orient Express La Dolce Vita is all about celebrating the 60s and 70s, a historical period in Italy known as “La Dolce Vita” or “The Sweet Life”. It is a joint venture between Trenitalia, part of Italy’s state railway company Ferrovie dello Stato, and investor Arsenale. The Accor Hotel Group is the official hospitality partner of La Dolce Vita.

The luxury coaches will visit more than 128 Italian cities across 14 regions. It includes three international destinations from Rome to Paris, Istanbul and Split. The train’s first journey will begin in January 2023, when an estimated 80,000 passengers will be carried by 2026. It will rival the Simplon-Orient-Express, which is operated by Belmond and offers once-a-week trips across Europe from London and Venice.

Serving a dining car at Orient Express La Dolce Vita

Historic train

The Orient Express luxury train has been known as a platformer in popular cultural media such as the book “Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie. This was inspired by a real event when the westbound Orient Express was stuck in the snow for 5 days 130 kilometers from Istanbul in 1929. The train was also featured in the James Bond movie “From Russia with Love”, among many other films and media . The train also played a role in an important historical event, when on November 11, 1918 German officers signed a surrender document in the Allied commander’s Wagons-Lits at the end of the First World War.

The Orient Express was a long-distance train service created in 1883 by the Belgian company Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (CIWL). On October 4, 1883, the first train left Paris for Istanbul, then still called Constantinople, with forty passengers on board. The round trip took 13 days. Back in the day, trains traveled across Europe and into Western Asia, with stations in London and Paris in the northwest and Athens or Istanbul in the southeast. Luxury hotels were acquired and added to the service along the way.

All Orient Express

The Orient Express is best described as a service rather than a specific train. She’s had many different coaches and methods over the years. On May 20, 1977, the old school Orient-Express made its last direct flight between Paris and Istanbul. As air travel dominated the market at the end of the 20th century, it became difficult for Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits, which had to sell some of its cars at auction.

The last of the Orient Express

What is the actual last trip of the Orient Express can be discussed. The Orient Express became a service of Austrian Railways (ÖBB), and this EuroNight train made its last trip in 2009. It was officially called the Orient Express and a continuation of the “original,” the train expert wrote, “The Man in Seat 61,” but without its old luster.

However, since the 1960s, this service no longer operates until Istanbul, and she lost her Hungarian Paris – Budapest couchette and the Romanian Paris – Bucharest sleeping car in 2001. Since 2007, she started her journey in Strasbourg instead of Paris when the Paris – Strasbourg line was opened High speed TGV. On part of what was once the Orient Express, ÖBB is back to operate trains again, from Paris to Vienna. These NightJets launched in December 2021.

Started in 1982, today’s privately run Venice-Simplon Orient Express aims for the splendor of the original, similar to the upcoming La Dolce Vita train. For the right price, you can still go for a ride in the original, restored Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits. The journey from London to Venice takes 24 hours and costs more than 2,600 euros per person one way, including meals. Orient Express La Dolce Vita prices will be similar, with trips averaging around €2,000 per person per night.

Revival of “Amazing Journey”

“It is exciting to bring the refined Bedouin spirit of the Orient Express program to life for a new generation of travelers,” says Stephen Alden, CEO of Raffles and Orient Express at Accor. “The original train route was innovative in the way it, paradoxically, combined cultures together, history with modernity. As travel craftsmen, we want to relive this amazing ancient world of ‘A Journey to Elsewhere.'”

“Against the backdrop of stunning panoramic views and a unique blend of cultures, we are convinced that travelers will have unforgettable experiences in Italy with the Orient Express La Dolce Vita.”

See more renderings of the Orient Express La Dolce Vita below:

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