Where I mostly tell you about a dream travel itinerary for everyone in Italy, and easy to do by train. Tested on the Connecting Europe Express.
Day 6 on the Connecting Europe Express and I am sure many are wondering how I solved my laundry problem (see the previous post). Well, you should know that I just spent the evening at one of those nice laundromats, chatting up some random dude and playing chess online. I lost too, not happy about it.
This means I couldn’t go taking selfies around Milan as per my usual and have zero photos of the city to show. But then again, the Duomo is no secret place of Italy for sure. Instead, I will post this nice picture of our Desiree, the beating heart of the Connecting Europe Express, enjoying what seems to be a delicious Pizza at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele.
Smooth morning for everybody I believe, the train takes off on time and off we go towards a dream itinerary for any traveller in Italy.
Only a couple of hours and we are in Genoa where we stop for a few minutes. It’s really nice to spot the castle right from the station. If I only had 30 minutes I would have gone out to get a piece of its famous crunchy focaccia.
Then we move south, following the Terranean Sea coastline, in the direction of Cinque Terre. The expectations for the ride are high, as this is a stretch of beautiful small towns nestled between rock and sea, with some of the most iconic views from Italy. Unfortunately, expectations are not met.
Don’t get me wrong. Cinque Terre is a magnificent place to visit. But the railway passes through a series of long and very frequent tunnels, which I guess is necessary for smooth travelling through this hilly area. As a consequence, train passengers get only glimpses of what they are missing, unless they stop by to spend a couple of days of course, which is what normally visitors do.
It’s incredibly easy to travel with regional trains that stop in all Cinque Terre stations. The timetable is rich and efficient both in high and low season, tells me Albert, one of the content creators on the train. He has been there in winter to take photos of the area in tranquillity and says there are trains already at 4 AM, for the early risers. It’s also much easier to visit here by train to avoid queues and traffic, not to speak about the fact that parking spots are just impossible to find. One might ruin his vacation only for that.
Our train keeps going though, at a relatively fast speed, between 80 and 120 Km/h (this is not a high-speed train). It stops in Pisa, then it turns inland to reach Florence, both of these towns are in no need for presentations.
Then it continues towards Arezzo, we are close to the land of Montepulciano now, with olive trees and vineyards flowing in front of our eyes, and many small villages scattered around the hills, with their churches and small fortresses at the top. Shortly after it passes by Lake Trasimeno, a gem of central Italy, and we are already in from the Umbria region. It’s never-ending.
I could stop anywhere in the centre of Italy, and have anything a traveller might ask for: cultural heritage, gastronomic discoveries, great landscapes and nature photography, good weather, hills, mountains, lakes, and the Mediterranean is never that far away.
It’s really a dream touristic itinerary for everyone, and totally feasible by train. I would say if you need to go from Milan to Rome, take the high-speed train that goes through the centre of Italy, it’s quicker and smooth. Our itinerary today was for the traveller or the tourist with time to stop here and there and enjoy the country.
I think the reason we went that way, besides the panoramas, is because, the train wanted to pass by Genoa, where the extension of the capacity of hinterland connections to the port is one of the big infrastructure priorities for the TEN-T Rhine-Alpine Corridor. Probably something that was discussed during a seminar that took place in the morning on board, on the segment between Milan and Genoa.
So, this is the end of a pretty quiet day on the Connecting Europe Express. A tough day for the photographers and videographers on board, fighting with the frustration of wanting to take photos and the interruption of the tunnels and slightly cloudy weather. But hey, no one complained.
We have still 30 days to go and lots of photographic opportunities, starting perhaps in Rome tonight, or on our way to Bolzano tomorrow.