Introduction to Blog

As the title suggests, the purpose of this blog is to provide some background material concerning:
  • Travel on secondary railway lines in Italy - including steam excursions
  • Cultural links
  • Information concerning regional cuisine and restaurants 
Background information is provided for "clusters" of regions:
The blog discussions will focus on specific trips on secondary railways lines. Each trip will provide a further set of links specific to that particular local situation.

The blog encourages comment from visitors and suggestions for inclusion under each of the categories. This site focuses predominantly on rural contexts, whereas a sister site "What Seria A tifosi (fans) eat" focuses more on eating in urban areas. 

I had the idea for the blog some years ago. I had spent some days attending a workshop in Potenza and travelled back north using the local train to Foggia where I connected with the Eurostar. The beauty of the journey; travelling across the hill/mountain tops, impressed me so much that I started to explore the other secondary rail routes through Italy. Given my passion for food and interest in railways, I thought I would like to share some ideas with like-minded people. So I set myself the task of documenting: the smaller lines; where there are steam excursions; places of interest; local/traditional food and restaurants. In most cases, I have relied on information I have gathered from the web. In due course it is my intention to experience some of these trips and to document the experiences "first hand".
For each cluster of regions links to additional sources of information are included. Links to general (national) sources of information are included at the bottom of the page.
A number of other links are also included below. 

Travelling to Italy

Rail Travel  : A number of links for booking rail travel are includedSeat61 provides good advice on combining tickets. It also deals with the issue of rail passes and supplements. Rail Europe and International Rail have on-line booking facilities for city-to-city travel and rail passes. Rail passes used to be associated with Inter Rail and young people, however, they are available to all ages and groups. Note that there may be some restrictions on the use of rail passes on certain trains such as high speed trains and sleepers. Also note that if you are resident in Europe rail passes usually do not include travel in your "home" country. Information on Rail Passes


International Travel to Italy
When making an international booking using the internet you may want to compare prices and schedules with the national rail provider in the country of your departure. You may save time and even money. Where possible I will point out the various options. 

Italian Domestic Rail Travel
Rail travel in Italy remains good value despite the "price hikes" that followed the introduction of the high speed trains (first Eurostar Italia and subsequently the Freccia trains). There are a number of points that are very important. 
  • Even if you have InterRail passes, you cannot walk onto any train. You need to have a reservation for Frecciarossa and Intercity trains. You may be required to pay a supplement (fine) if you have not made a seat reservation. It is also wise to do so as many trains during peak periods (even Intercity) can be quite crowded.
  • If you book a ticket for a regional train on-line, there are restrictions on changing your departure time and you may risk having to buy a new ticket. If you think that you may need to change your schedule, it is advisable that you buy your ticket at the station just before leaving (multi-lingual self service machines are available at most stations). 
  • When using Trenitalia on-line booking, be very wary as you will invariably be offered options that use the Frecciarossa services. This can result in paying up to 2-3 times the price of a regional train ticket for travel on traditional lines. On this blog/website you will be advised on how to avoid being routed on the high speed trains. 
Air Travel  : I have not included low-cost airlines. A note for those travelling into the UK from outside Europe. Unless you are travelling on to Milan or Rome, you will have to change airport (Gatwick). Based on personal experience, I prefer the inter-continental hubs of Zurich, Munich, Brussels and Copenhagen. They are easier to move around. There are many direct inter-continental connections into Milan and Rome. Emirates also flies to Venice. Alitalia has a Turin - Moscow connection.

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