Scotland, Europe, the world
Miser on thein press
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Budgeting your way around Italy by train. \x‘v’ordts: Ruth Wassermann
liding oy‘cl‘ a blissl'ully' still sca into thc calm watcrs
ol' thc (Bull. ol V'cnicc. it is hard to bclicy'c you'rc on a
train. 'l‘hc small bridgc ol‘ land connccting thc island city ol' \'cnicc to solid ground is so narrow that it is barcly' \‘isiblc on cithcr sidc ol' thc locomotiyc‘s carriagcs.
Sitting on a small rcgional train. it strikcs inc that thcrc is a ccrtain dcgrcc ol' ninctccnth ccntury innoccncc about thc notion ol‘ two girls trayclling around ltaly togcthcr. l’assing this particular journcy'. which makcs tip thc last lcg ol' thc lamcd ()ricnt lixprcss. only scry cs to cnhancc thc alrcady‘ potcnt imagcs ol' romantic grandcur that liay'c bccn lilling my hcad for thc duration ol' thc trip. It‘s not hard to scc why this multilarious country was thc dcstination lot" so many young dcbutantcs undcrtaking thcir ( irand 'l'our.
Italy is a country with a history likc l'cw othcrs. It has bccn thc subjch ol both grcat litcraturc and cincmatography. :\s onc ol~ thc lcading ciy'ilisations ol~ thc ancicnt world. thc majcsty ol‘ Romc rcmains cyidcnt in ruins. which arc still morc rcsplcndcnt today than most contcmporary constructions. ()nly thc most dccadcnt ol' socictics could hay c
inycntcd such a thing as a \omitorium. ;\nd thc imagc ol‘
Romc. and latcr Italy. as a country ol‘ lti\ury and csccss has bccn pcrtwtuatcd.
Sliakcspcai‘c\ \crona. thc homc ol‘ Romco and .lulict. is a placc ol‘ al‘l‘lucncc. llis play cy'okcd an imagc ol hcady cstrayagancc. both in lo\ c and dcath. brought about in part by thc pow cr ol’ ltaly 's sun. .-\nd thc summcr hcat has bccn sccn again to transl‘orm rational minds. this timc on thc Inscious .-\malli coast as portray cd in thc lihn 'I'lu' 'lu/wm'r/ .llr Rip/(ﬁr.
liy'cn today. thc country 's clcgant strccts play host to sonic
Italy‘s splendours needn't cost the earth
ol' thc world's most glamorous lashion houscs. And with such imagcs ol' opulcncc. it would bc casy to imaginc that Italy can bc a wry cxpcnsiyc placc to Visit. But that is to oy'crlook thc othcr sidc ol' Italy's cltaractcr.
ll ancicnt Romc was a city ol‘ cxccss. thcn thc liti'tiscans liycd an altogcthcr morc humblc cxistcncc. Which is by no mcans dillicult to imaginc ga/ing otit of a train window oy‘cl‘ thc carthy' toncs ol"l‘uscany"s rolling hills.
ltalian l‘ood too. although lttlllnlls worldwidc. is most ol‘tcn a simplc al‘l‘air. A l'rcsh dish ol' pasta. ltowcy‘ct' dclicious. is rarcly' cxpcnsiyc. And bchind cy'cry' grand ltotcl is a shady cobblcd su'cct housing any numbcr ol captivating pcnsioni.
Italy has bccn subjch to much liopclcss romanticism. .r\nd dcspitc any imagcs ol~ swcaty‘. ’llshirt clad liuro-railci‘s you might hay'c. thc lantasy nccd not bc cschcwcd in ordcr to trawl thc country on a budgct. 'l'hcrc is a dcl‘initc charm to Italy’s smallcr rcgional trains. which has bccn l'orcgonc in layour ol~ spccd on thc ncwcr intcrcity‘ modcls. :\l‘tcr all. cycn l’rada has a tllld-scztsoll salc. which allows thc most lrugal ol' trips to bc donc in timclcss stylc.
Shakespeare’s Verona is a place of affluence
A kilometric ticket which costs 6250 is valid for 3000km of rail travel within Italy. This can be split between up to five people and used on most trains. Check out www.ryanair.com for a wide variety of flights to destinations all over Italy and log on to www.fs-on-line.com for a range of information about travelling by train.
L/x' ixlv'l' k 7H5 LIST 115