Italo Train

21 May

2012-05-21 13.30.46

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.

2012-05-21 13.33.19
“You’ll say Italo to mean train.”

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!!


13 Responses to “Italo Train”

  1. Janet May 21, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    Shelley, thanks for making me laugh this morning. Love your stories!

  2. Un'americana a Roma May 21, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    Aw, you’re sweet. I do what I can. 😉

  3. finnyknits May 21, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    But, the question remains, how much of a view will you get of Naples’ mountains of flaming toilet-topped trash?

  4. Sara Rosso May 22, 2012 at 1:52 am #

    I’m RRRRRRRRRRREDy for you 🙂 I haven’t been doing much comparison shopping but I probably should – Trenitalia’s breaking the bank!

  5. Chris May 22, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    Shelley, with the greatest respect . . . . Trenitalia’s fares might *feel* expensive but comparatively speaking . . . . . . . Just have a quick check on train prices in the United Kingdom . . . . try to price a journey from London to Edinburgh and you will see what I mean.

  6. Un'americana a Roma May 22, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

    Oh no worries I try not to be easily offended. I’m just poor. I don’t get to traveling much these days. Blame it on the diapers. 😉 I’ve never been to London, BTW, but am dying to go… this is *not* encouraging! Boo! But I bet the British personnel are super prim. !!

  7. Un'americana a Roma May 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    I’m serious, sister. Let’s plan for a June weekend. I’ll be in touch ASAP. Miss you. Sucks that I didn’t get to give you hugs bye two weekends ago. Boo on working on Sundays.

  8. Un'americana a Roma May 22, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    No honey we reserve that just for our special guests. I actually need a toilet seat in the guest bathroom right now as I broke the cheapy plastic one that was previously there… maybe a trip to Naples IS in order, after all, good pickins down that thar way….

  9. Catherine May 23, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    Last time I needed to go to Milan we drove because it was cheaper! Parked just at the end of the metropolitana line and hopped on. Same amount of time and less fluffing around at Stazione Centrale. Fairs are getting steep – but so is gasolio and autostrada!

    Better to stay home and eat cherries…

  10. ron May 23, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    luca di runs ferrari. explains why he’s rich and loves great design

  11. tracie p May 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm #

    It may not-uh work-uh, but at-uh least-uh we have eet-uh! We’ll see how good it is…:)

    Funny post!

  12. Francesca Maggi July 6, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    Great minds…

    I recently did a wrap-up on my Italo experience…You can read about it here:

    And, I also went back to the old Post Office Blues to provide you with the Top 10 reasons why they won’t even accept your letter in the first place (not that it would arrive at its final destination in the second place…)

    Enjoy! Because misery loves company.

    FMaggi, Author
    Burnt by the Tuscan Sun

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