Italy has the most diverse and alluring rail network in Europe. Sleek expresses race between the grand cities, while ancient rolling stock rattles around the great volcanoes of the south – Vesuvius near Naples and Etna on Sicily – and branch lines constitute triumphs of engineering in the Alps.
Travelling by train in Italy has multiple benefits. Besides avoiding the chaotic roads (and the Machiavellian restrictions when you so much as think about driving or parking in the historic centre of a city), you are guaranteed constantly changing views and engaging fellow passengers.
Rail journeys can also be extremely good value. The 70 spectacular minutes aboard the Circumvesuviana from Naples to Sorrento, curving around one of Europe’s most magnificent bays, costs just €3.60 (£3.30).
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