Why not try a slow travel experience? We selected 3 train itineraries for your next vacation: from the Alps to Sicily on special trains

Speed lovers, stay away!! This post talks about long, slow train journeys through very remote parts of Italy and the small pleasures that can be found in breathtaking views (volcanoes, vineyards, mountains, the list goes on!) and short stopovers in quiet unassuming villages along the way.
Slow travelers, read and enjoy the following proposals and start planning your next ‘slow’ holiday.

Sight of Etna from the Circumetnea train's window
View of Etna from the Circumetnea train’s window, photo via wikimedia

Circumetnea: visit the castle of Horation Nelson and admire the white whip of the Etna volcano

Slow Travel in Italy: Circumetnea in Bronte, Sicily
Circumetnea in Bronte, Sicily, photo by Ingo Hamm on Unsplash

The Circumetnea railway line connects little towns and villages at the foot of Mount Etna that runs for 110 km from Catania to Riposto, on the east coast of Sicily.
Many students and commuters take it each day to reach their place of work and their schools. It can be a great way to see what the daily life in Sicily is like.
A round trip from Catania to Riposto will take 3 hours. You need to check train schedules as outside of peak hours train services do not run regularly or run all the way from Catania to Riposto.
If you do not have enough time to go all the way to Riposto, get on the train at Catania Borgo Train Station and get off at Bronte.
This little village is nowadays notorious as the place where some soldiers of the army known as “The 1000 Redskirts”, the army led by General Giuseppe Garibaldi who freed the South of Italy from the Spanish dominion, repressed the local rebellion.
Not far from Bronte you can visit the Horatio Nelson Museum, its name comes from the British naval admiral Horatio Nelson. Horatio was named the Duke of Bronte and offered a castle as a reward for helping the Spanish King Ferdinand I stop the rebellion of 1799.
The museum houses a Byzantine icon that legends say Saint Luke, one of the evangelists painted himself.

Facts: the itinerary. Find train timetables at http://www.circumetnea.it/linee_orari.php
Round trip ticket: € 7.50
Time: 3 hours

The little green train. Train Palau – Tempio: sea and mountains of Sardinia

Slow Travel: The green train in Sardinia
The green train photography from buongiornoalghero.it

The little “green train” runs from the world-famous Palau coast, in front of the archipelago of La Maddalena, in the wild nature up to 500 meters on the sea level.
The green train runs through wild landscapes of incredible beauty. From the train window you can admire the wonders of Gallura: from the granite rock formations, to the Liscia Lake, from the megalithic monuments to the architecture of industrial archeology.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a daily train service. Remember to check the timetables to plan your trip well.
If you don’t like the idea of sharing a train filled with strangers, maybe you can entertain the idea of renting an entire train just for you and your family!! You can choose the dates you want to travel, how many people will be going and how many carriages you need! Quite an experience don’t you think?
Facts: the itinerary. Train timetables can be found at http://www.treninoverde.com/calendario/
One way ticket: € 15
Round trip tickets: € 20

The Red train: up where the eagles fly


Slow Travel on the Red train Bernina
The Red Train photography by Jon Watts via Flickr

The red old train runs from the mountain village of Tirano in the northern Italian Alps and goes to the Swiss village of St Moritz, famous worldwide as “the place to be” for European celebs and members of legendary noble families from the old continent.
The red train whose name comes from the red color of its wagons was awarded the “Unesco Heritage title” back in 2008 as the work completed along this railway is held in high esteem.
The train line runs for 61 km and climbs to a height of 2.260 meters, this is the highest point a train reaches in Europe. Some of the slopes incline to an incredible 70% and the train goes through 46 tunnels.

Facts: itinerary. Train timetables can be found at http://www.rhb.ch
One way ticket: CHF 33/55
Round trip tickets: CHF 62/110
Please remember you will be visiting two different countries, Italy and Switzerland, and each country has its own currency. Swiss francs are not accepted in Italy.
Euro is usually accepted in Switzerland but some shops and restaurants will give you back change in Swiss francs. (Give you back change in swiss francs is correct here)

If you feel like time goes too fast and that you are always in a hurry and you want a new experience, then slow travel is for you. These three itineraries have something for everyone.
So what are you waiting for? Pack a small bag and get going on your new, slow adventure!

Cover image: Bernina train on the Alps, Photo by Andreas Stutz, via Unsplash 

Author: Cristiana Pedrali

"Loving your job is the closest you can get to happiness on earth” (Rita Levi Montalcini) and “when real people fall down in real life they get back on their feet and carry on walking” (Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City): these are my two mantras. I’m a bit like this: I go through being serious to playful to help me manage a thousand different interests and commitments, keeping a smile through it all. I work in the tourism industry and on the web and every so often I look for some breathing space through reading and travel!
More posts by Cristiana Pedrali →

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