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Historic Trains #inEmiliaRomagna: a Slow Tourism experience

by /// August 31, 2021
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes



Have you ever thought about traveling on a historic train to satisfy your desire for Slow Tourism?

In Emilia Romagna there are two itineraries that offer the experience of a journey through time, thanks to the work done over the past few years to recover the historical routes, enhancing them and converting them to sustainable tourism: we are talking about Porrettana and Faentina.

You can live emotions that have the ancient flavor of history and the charm of a past world full of magic and awesomeness.

Among large puffs of steam, whistling, squeaking and blowing of pistons, time stops giving a “show” of other times which, with its sounds and smells, restores the elderlies’ memories, while giving pleasant discoveries to the most young at their first experience.

Take the time to travel in total relaxation, enjoying the view without the stress of traffic jams. Aboard a “low speed” train, out of the big lines of communication, you will find postcard landscapes, some of the most beautiful towns in Italy and will discover the food and wine products that the area offers.

It will be an experience to travel on the wooden seats of the historic third-class carriages nicknamed Centoporte because of the numerous doors on each side to facilitate the rapid boarding and alighting of passengers.

5 Reasons to travel on a Historic Train

If you’re still hesitant, here are 5 reasons to experience a journey aboard a historic train:

  1. Because taking a journey through time can help you understand the history of the world, in addition to the geography.
  2. Because you can discover the landscape from a privileged point of view, with unusual sounds, speeds and noises, even if friendly and comforting.
  3. Because you can find the perfect framings for your photos, since some views, some perspectives are visible only from the train.
  4. Because it is a journey for the sake of traveling, without the haste to arrive. Wait to observe and take the time to enjoy what we normally ignore.
  5. Because it is a perfect idea for a family trip, able to charm even the little ones!

Faentina transappenninica – Treno di Dante - Treno storico Faenza – Firenze

Porretta-Bologna Historic train | Ph. mytrolleyblog

Porretta-Bologna Historic train | Ph. mytrolleyblog

A train journey from Bologna to Porretta Terme along the ancient trans-Apennine route of the Porrettana Railway, one of the first major infrastructures of the united Italy, completed in 1864, that reaches Pistoia immersed in the landscape of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines , between nature and history.

Every year several scheduled dates allow you to get on board this steam trains and carriages of the early twentieth century (with about 300 seats) to discover the suggestive natural scenery and cultural beauties of the Bologna’s Apennines, on the occasion of special events that propose also a rich calendar of musical, theatrical and literary events.

Among the stops Casalecchio di Reno, with its sluice recognized by UNESCO as Messengers of a Culture of Peace, Sasso Marconi placed on the Bologna’s hills, the archaeological area of Marzabotto and Riola that houses the church designed by the Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, not far from Moorish jewel of Rocchetta Mattei.

Last stop in the Emilia Romagna region is Porretta Terme, a place known for its healthy thermal waters and for the international Porretta Soul Festival which in July spreads the love for soul music in all corners of the village.



Porrettana Transappenninica – Historic Train Bologna – Pistoia

Brisighella-Ravenna Steam Train | Ph. Andrea Ceroni

Brisighella-Ravenna Steam Train | Ph. Andrea Ceroni

Get ready for a picturesque journey into the heart of Apennines between Tuscany and the Romagna: it’s from the late nineteenth century that the Faentina railway, starting from the Romagna’s town of Faenza, crosses the Lamone, the Sieve and the Mugello valleys and leads to Florence, cradle of the Renaissance. You’ll follow the ancient routes traveled by the pilgrim Dante.

An experience rewarded by a sublime show of medieval palaces and castles, where the hilly landscape with peach and cherry orchards -that in spring become clouds of flowers- anticipates the mountain landscape of the Apennines crossed by numerous galleries and viaducts.

Over the year there are at least a couple of dates in program, on the occasion of festivals (truffles and chestnuts), during which you can board the steam trains and stay glued – for the whole duration of the journey – to the window, to capture the different natural nuances that follow one another, near the Vena del Gesso Romagnola Regional Park and the Casentinesi Forest National Park.

Two stops on the Romagna side: the charming city of art of Faenza, known for its ceramics, and the small medieval village of Brisighella, nestled at the foot of three spectacular pinnacles, between nature and archaeology, that also gives a thermal offer. Both are located along the Dante’s Walk.



Choose to live your next Slow Tourism experience aboard a historic train, where the protagonist of the journey is the landscape. A journey that becomes a small exclusive vacation.

Other info also on historical and tourist trains:
Historical Trains Foundation
Tourist Railways
Association of Historic Trains Emilia Romagna

An advice. Since it is possible to travel the routes on historic trains only during the organized initiatives, if you fail to take part in them, we suggest you take the two routes on regional trains (active all year round): we are sure that, even in the absence of the historic atmosphere, you will still satisfy the desire for slowness.

Train Faenza-Firenze | Ph.laurabaccarini

Train Faenza-Firenze | Ph.laurabaccarini


Elisa Mazzini

Social Media Manager for @inEmiliaRomagna and full-time mom.

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