Today, the concept for La Dolce Vita, a new five-star Italian passenger train has been revealed, calling on travellers who yearn for the luxury of rail travel that harkens back to the Orient Express.

Launching in 2023, the Orient Express La Dolce Vita will see six trains embark through the Italian landscape, offering a variety of itineraries spanning 14 regions. Most will start in Italy, revealing the awe of the Alps, the bucolic countryside, or the paradisiacal beaches of southern Italy. The network will also connect Rome to three international destinations: Paris (France), Istanbul (Turkey) and Split (Croatia). Guests can spend one- to three-nights aboard Le Dolce Vita. All itineraries will transit through Roma Termini Station so travellers can connect any of the six trains to create an extended trip. 

A magical stopover in Rome will feature the very first Orient Express Hotel, Minerva, scheduled to open in 2024.

Rendering of Orient Express La Dolce Vita© Rendering by Dimorestudio

©Rendering by Dimorestudio6© Rendering by Dimorestudio

The partnership is a collaboration between Trenitalia (Italy’s primary rail operator), Fondazione FS Italiane (a foundation set up to look after and manage the Italian State Railways’ vast historic heritage) and principal hospitality partner Accor, which Canadians will recognize as Fairmont’s parent company.

“At Accor, we consider it an immense privilege to re-launch the historic Orient Express brand for passionate and discerning travelers,” said Sébastien Bazin, Accor chairman and CEO. “These trains offer a new vision of luxury travel that is beyond our imagination.”

Italy© Clay BanksItaly© Oliver Astrologo

La Dolce Vita invites passengers to travel through more than 16,000 kilometres of workable railway lines – 7,000 kilometres of which are not electrified and can be considered vestiges of Italy’s storied history.

The experience is being touted as “an environmentally friendly adventure where forgotten roads are explored, hidden treasures discovered and where architectural triumphs take centre stage.”

“It is thrilling to be bringing the refined nomadic spirit of Orient Express back to life for a new generation of travellers,” remarked Stephen Alden, CEO Raffles and Orient Express, Accor. “The original train route was innovative in the way it paradoxically brought cultures together – the Occident with the Orient, history with modernity.”


Legacy of the Orient Express

© Fonds de dotation Orient Express Heritage © Fonds de dotation Orient Express Heritage

© Fonds de dotation Orient Express Heritage © Fonds de dotation Orient Express Heritage The Orient Express was a long-distance passenger rail service created in 1883 to connect Europe with western Asia. Though the terminus stations were London and Istanbul, Paris was the departure point for regularly scheduled, “timetabled” service. 

Despite its glamourous connotations, the Orient Express was not originally positioned as a luxury product. Rather, it offered a more comfortable and secure way to travel during a period when travelling by road was not always safe. Over time, the route was abbreviated, rolled back to terminate in varying European cities. It was ultimately retired in 2009 with high-speed trains and low-cost airlines often cited as reason for the demise.

The new La Dolce Vita train is not to be confused with the Belmond-operated Venice Simplon Orient-Express, a luxury rail service connecting London with Venice which incorporates restored carriages from the historical Le Train Bleu and Rome Express routes.

La Dolce Vita’s "Made In Italy" design

Rendering of Orient Express La Dolce Vita

© Deluxe Suite rendering by Dimorestudio© Deluxe Suite rendering by DimorestudioThe concept for the Orient Express La Dolce Vita pays tribute to “La Dolce Vita”, a historical period of glamour, joie de vivre and artistic fervour in Italy during the 1960s. Designed by Dimorestudio, the global architectural and design studio founded by Emiliano Salci and Britt Moran, the train will embody the Italian art of living and all its beautiful traditions with a more contemporary spirit of travel. Sumptuous decor will adorn 12 deluxe cabins, 18 suites, and one Honour Suite and restaurant, all boldly celebrating the craftsmanship, design and creativity of the 1960s and 1970s.


On-board offerings

Rendering of Orient Express La Dolce Vita© Restaurant rendering by Dimorestudio

Orient Express La Dolce Vita’s cuisine will reflect its upscale offering. Collaborations with renowned local and international chefs and sommeliers will complement five-star service, inviting guests to savour the beauty and excellence of “Made in Italy” through award-winning Italian wines and exclusive haute cuisine. Before departure at the Roma Termini station, the Orient Express executive lounge will welcome passengers, offering a selection of refreshments in a convivial and elegant space, complete with dedicated services and staff to assist them. 


Orient Express La Dolce Vita will welcome its first passengers in 2023. Itineraries and booking information is expected to come in 2022.