If the art journey becomes “slow”. Discover Pompeii and the Valley of the Temples aboard the historic FS trains

Valley of the Temples, Tempio Vulcano stop | Courtesy Ferrovie dello Stato Foundation

Go back in time aboard a carriage from the 1930s to grab from the windows all the beauty enclosed in temples, palaces, museums, archeological sites.
From the characteristic wooden interior, the upholstered sofas and the Liberty details of an old train, the eye runs to the art of the landscape. And the password is only one: slowness.
Whether you choose to glide along the Valley of the Temples, to admire from an unusual perspective what Pindar considered “the most beautiful city of mortals”, or decide instead to explore the wonders of the lavish royal palace of Caserta, the experience on board on FS historical trains will be the most authentic opportunity to climb the slope of time and immerse yourself in a not too distant past, where the “iron monsters” were synonymous with development, the driving force behind the economic and then social transformation of Italy.
There FS Italian Foundation today the great historical heritage of the Italian railways is preserved. Established on March 6, 2013, it brings together under its protection a park of historical rolling stock characterized by 400 vehicles, archive and library collections, the museums of Pietrarsa and Trieste Campo Marzio and the railway lines that were once suspended, now restored to a new tourist calling with the project “Timeless Track”.
Thus, the journey to discover the art treasures aboard the 1950s Corbellini wagons or “Centoporte” becomes an experience.
There are trains (TrEno: Canelli and the Underground Cathedrals) that run between hills and vineyards, including the local gastronomic offer in the travel experience, and trains that rush between sea and mountains, such as the one that climbs up from Montesilvano to Roccaraso . .
We ideally boarded four trains to live an artistic experience out of time.
Historic trains do not run every day, but only on set dates and times. Before you travel, you must therefore remember to consult the Statens Jernbanefonden’s website.

Tickets are on sale through all Trenitalia channels: official website, station ticket offices and self-service stations, authorized travel agents.


Dante’s train | Courtesy Ferrovie dello Stato Foundation

From Pompeii to Paestum aboard the Campania Archeotreno
The departure, aboard the Archeotreno Campania, an electric locomotive with 1930s “Centoporte” wagons, 1950s Corbellini wagons and trunks, is set at. 9.55 from Naples Central Station. And so on through the Vesuan coast towards Pompeii and Paestum, the two pearls declared World Heritage Sites by Unesco. If you look to the left, you can see the volcano, while the view to the right sinks into the Gulf of Naples. Short stop in Pietrarsa to admire the National Railway Museum, among the pavilions that were once the buildings of the Royal Mechanical, Pyrotechnic and Locomotive Factory, founded by Ferdinand II himself in 1840, and all back aboard the ancient city that was literally canceled in 79 AD. at the eruption of Vesuvius.
In Pompeii the train makes a stop that allows you to enjoy a walk among the painted villas, shops, public buildings. Head towards Paestum, the city built in the late 7th century BC. as Poseidonia, which has become one of the most important commercial centers of Magna Graecia. The gaze bends in front of the temples, the amphitheater, the city, and the walls that surround it.
And then back by car to Naples.


Reggia Express Train | Courtesy Ferrovie dello Stato Foundation

In the old Bourbon residence aboard the Reggia Express
An open window and the silhouette of the Royal Palace of Caserta, sliding into the Centoporte and Corbellini carriages, for a leap back in time in the 30s and 50s. We are aboard the Reggia Express, the historic train that connects Naples Central Station with the desired residence of King Charles of Bourbon, part of a more complex political reorganization project involving the creation of a new “administrative” capital of the kingdom. On August 29, 1750, the Caserta dynasty, an old possession of the Acquaviva family, was bought by Charles of Bourbon, who entrusted Luigi Vanvitelli with the task of creating a place that could compete with the other European royal residences, the French Versailles, the Habsburg Schömbrunn and the Bavarian Würzburg. The construction of the palace began with the laying of the first stone on January 20, 1752 and continued until 1759. After the death of Luigi Vanvitelli, his son Carlo and other architects completed the magnificent royal residence, which was not completed until the following century … During the stage of the Reggia Express, there will be plenty of time to visit the Royal Palace, the park and the English Garden, connected to each other by highly skilled perspective games.
In the rooms of the palace Terrae Motus collection, conceived by the Neapolitan gallery owner Lucio Amelio in memory of the earthquake that shook Campania and Basilicata in 1980, and donated to the Royal Palace in 1993 after the first exhibitions in Boston, Herculaneum and Paris, brings us back to the present by introducing artists of caliber by Keith Haring, Merio Merz, Andy Warhol, Michelangelo Pistoletto. 17.00 everyone on board, to glide slowly towards Naples.


The National Railway Museum in Pietrarsa | Courtesy Ferrovie dello Stato Foundation

On Pietrarsa Express for a dip in history
On board the Pietrarsa Express it is possible to follow the route of the first railway line in Italy. This historic train connects the center of Naples with the Pietrarsa Museum. On board the Centoporte carriages, so-called due to the numerous doors that open on the side, pulled by a pair of electric E626 locomotives, the wooden seats offer guests a journey through time, when the Naples-Portici route was inaugurated in 1839 by Ferdinand II of Bourbon.
Built to avoid the risk of the other European states of England and France overcoming the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in terms of technological development, the line was one of the sovereign’s first steps in the modernization of the kingdom. Once in Pietrarsa, a visit to the National Railway Museum is a must, an industrial building that tells the public its story enclosed in the pavilions that housed the buildings of the Royal Mechanical, Pyrotechnic and Locomotive Factory founded by Ferdinand II himself in 1840. i support for the railway.


Dante’s train | Courtesy Ferrovie dello Stato Foundation

From Florence to Ravenna in the footsteps of Dante
A 136 km journey aboard a Liberty train that crosses the heart of the Tuscan-Romagnolo Apennines to touch the lands that Dante Alighieri visited on his voyage of exile, between art towns and medieval villages surrounded by unspoiled nature. Welcome to “Dante’s train “ which opens its wagons to the public on certain dates in the months of July, late August, September and October until 1 November. The train departs at 8.50 from Florence, where the memory of the Most High is completely enclosed in the house where he was born, and in the church of Santa Margherita, where the poet met Beatrice, who according to tradition is buried here. Four intermediate stops divide the town on the Arno from Ravenna. The first is in Borgo San Lorenzo, before leaving for Ronta, and touches Scarperia and San Piero a Sieve – two cities that have always been united under the name Medici family – to continue on the hills of Vicchio, home of Giotto and Beato Angelico. Stop in Marradi, the city of Apennine, where the poet Dino Campana was born, and stop in the medieval village of Brisighella, one of the most beautiful in Italy, with the manfredean fortress from the fourteenth century, Monticino’s shrine from the eighteenth century and the clock. tower. Next stop is Faenza, famous for its pottery, and finally the mosaic’s Ravenna and San Vitale, the Sant’Apollinare Basilica and the Galla Placidia Mausoleum. In the city that shines with its early Christian and Byzantine religious buildings, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, Dante completed the composition of the cycle of Comedy and spent the last years of his life until his death in 1321. Here stands the Poet’s Tomb with nearby the Museum and the House dedicated to the poet.
17.54 we leave for Florence.
On each car, a travel assistant will take care of accompanying travelers in their experience by telling them the story of the places that were touched during Alighieri’s exile, and also providing valuable information about the monuments to be visited at each stop.


The wooden interior of Dante’s Train | Courtesy Ferrovie dello Stato Foundation

Railway of the Temples
Ten kilometers immersed in history, surrounded by the charm of an archeology that never ceases to amaze. The Ferrovia dei Templi Agrigento Bassa – Porto Empedocle is currently closed to the public due to the renewal of the armament, and could be reactivated as early as next October.
The 10.1-kilometer line connects the Agrigento Bassa station (still active on the Palermo-Agrigento Centrale line) with the Porto Empedocle Succursale, allowing you to discover the Valley of the Temples and admire a landscape recognized since 1997 as a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples are the obligatory stops for archeology enthusiasts. Birthplace of Luigi Pirandello, founded around the sixth century BC, Agrigento has for centuries known different names under different kingdoms, ranging from the Greek Akragas to the Roman Agrigentum, from Kerkent under the Arabs, to the Norman Girgenti. .


The historic train in the Valley of the Temples | Courtesy Ferrovie dello Stato Foundation

To admire the historic center of medieval origin, just reach the western top of the hill in ancient Girgenti, where the ancient structure marked by the gates of the walls and various testimonies of Arabic-Norman art are still visible today. Before departure it is possible to go to the convent of Santo Spirito, to the medieval church of Santa Maria dei Greci, to the cathedral of San Gerlando.
Stopped off Vulcan Temple (right in front of the monotonous temple) it offers a great view of the valley and the Kolymbetra garden. Almost nothing is left of the temple, with the exception of small sections of the base with four steps and two surviving columns, the location of which allows the reconstruction of a Doric temple dating back to 430 BC, with six columns on the short sides and thirteen at long. Inside the cell was found the foundation of a small temple dating back to the 6th century BC. We are in the Valley of the Temples, which houses the Temple of Juno, the Temple of Concordia, the Temple of Hercules and the necropolis in its huge belly. . To the west rises the colossal temple of Jupiter, that of Dioscuri, the high school, the area of ​​the shrines of the Chtonian gods (the main complex of sacred buildings dedicated to the cult of Demeter and Kore), Kolymbethra’s garden (recently handed over to the FAI and returned for public use). Everyone on board. Continue towards the sea with the Chaos Gallery, not far from Luigi Pirandello’s birthplace, which finally appears on the sea. A 30 per mille descent leads to Porto Empedocle Central station.

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