Otherwise known as: Trenitalia, eat your heart out, you sluggish beast, you! Here comes your sexier younger sister.
Anyways, what’s the fuss about? Today I started seeing these billboards plastered everywhere.
Looks like the marketing blitz for Italo has begun.
Italo is being touted as the “Ferrari of Italian trains” because it’s sleek and truly high-speed, not fake high speed like some of us have experienced with Trenitalia. Meaning, high-speed until you get to the outskirts of Naples where for some inexplicable-but-certainly-having-nothing-to-do-with-organized-crime reason, the high-speed tracks stop and the train, the high-speed train, has to slow down to regular, i.e., slow train speed. Let’s just say it gave me plenty of time to admire the architectural gems that make up the periphery of Naples, and the clothes hanging from them.
But the Ferrari title probably comes mainly from the fact that the company that markets this privately-owned train company is managed by Luca Cordero di Montezemolo. Try saying that three times fast, right? Rich people have long and important names in Italy, usually with “di” something figuring in there somewhere as a precursor to a second last time. Because, you know, two last names is certainly more important and rich-sounding than just one. I, alas, do not have anything akin to a double last name or a “di” anywhere, but if you want you can call me Shelley Ruelle di Roma. That might be fun.
And yet, as usual, I digress.
I really want to ride one of these trains. They look so shiny and candy-apple red and so … well, so NOT Trenitalia. Woe to the travelers with Trenitalia, we all have our stories, just like our war wounds from experiences at the ol’ post office.
The NYT article says that meals will be served by, and I quote, “primly dressed attendants.” Why primly? (Which, according to Merriam-Webster online, is correctly defined as “stiffly formal and proper; decorous”). Forget the fact that they’re actually serving meals. Meals! Meals, I tell you! But—primly. What is that supposed to imply? That the Trenitalia attendants are dressed skimpily? That the Trenitalia attendants are nothing less than, well, stiffly formal and proper?
Oh, wait, that’s right! Silly me! (slaps head in a mock-comic gesture of baffled amazement and wonder) Trenitalia doesn’t HAVE attendants. As far as my second-class traveling ass knows, that is. At least as long as you define “attendant” as someone who does something—anything—to assist you during your journey.
But wait! Now come to think of it, I have had the pleasure of being a first class passenger on a Trenitalia Eurostar. I still can’t tell you whether or not they employ “attendants,” as frankly, the only benefit I enjoyed was the fact that there were actually working toilets. And if you think I’m trying to be *funny* then I encourage you, too, to embark on the lovely journey from Paola in Calabria up to Rome, in the summer, in a train without air-conditioning but with rickety old windows that half-open, and with one—yes count IT, one—working bathroom. Add in a little kid puking in the aisle and, well, let’s just say a stiffly formal and properly dressed attendant would have been a nice thing to have. Oh, the joys are never-ending, let me tell you! That is, if you find joy in the idea of impersonating a farm animal riding the train on the way to being ruthlessly slaughtered. No, slaughtering didn’t take place. But feeling like a farm animal on the way to it, that did take place. Yes, indeedy.
My first thought however is, price? I mean, let’s be honest. For all the AMAZING service you receive, Trenitalia isn’t cheap. Holy crap. You know I’d love to go crash on Mrs. Red’s couch like EVERY weekend, if it wasn’t for the fact that the Trenitalia
bastards attendants would make me pay €180 round-trip to do so. Yes, you read right, it costs nearly $120 each way, so you’re looking at about $230 or thereabouts for a round-trip train ride Rome to Milan. Is that affordable? Not for the likes of me. And think, that’s without the primly dressed attendants. Can I get a WTF in the house?
Ok, let’s go comparison shopping. Wait one moment please while I consult Italotreno’s fares. I am fully willing to lose face if they cost way more than Trenitalia.
Holy crap people! I just discovered I can get a ticket to Milan for €30. Where’s the catch?
It’s a promo fare, but I’ll take it. No, not only will I take it, I will very primly board that train with a prim smile on my face. It will be very decorous and no farm-animals or broken bathrooms or children vomiting better ruin my trip.
Hello my dear, get ready, I’m coming!!