Our usually hurried pace of life doesn’t need to be replicated when we travel – so, rather than cramming an excessive number of must-see sights and museums in a few days, which only contributes to make us feel stressed for time even on vacation, how about slowing down a bit and actually savor the scenery, the heritage, the lifestyle of a place.
You can get a feel of this “slow travel” philosophy by riding on board 1920s steam trains along some of Italy’s scenic routes. In partnership with Ferrovie dello Stato (the state’s railways), Italy’s Culture and Tourism Ministry (MIBACT) is launching a new initiative that will allow visitors to travel on vintage trains along four railway lines recently renovated after having fallen into disrepair.
The four lines run along Tuscany’s Val d’Orcia, Lake Iseo near Milan, the mountains of Abruzzo and Agrigento in Sicily. The rides last from 20 minutes to three hours.
MIBACT officials said the objective is the development of a form of "slow tourism", where visitors are encouraged to slow down, be more careful and sensitive about their surroundings, and understand that the success of a vacation is not determined by the number of sites you see, but by the quality of the time spent discovering the different facets of a place. Besides the historic trains, MIBACT plans to invest on the development of more walking and cycling paths.
“It is a new sector in which Italy is investing a lot," Italy’s Culture and Tourism Minister Dario Franceschini said while riding on the Val D’Orcia line on the day the historic trains initiative was launched. "It is a sustainable tourism model that is particularly important in Italy because Italy offers the world excellence in culture and arts as well as in food, fashion, shopping, scenery."
We can only agree with this slow travel philosophy!