A First Look at Italy’s Gorgeous La Dolce Vita Orient Express Train—And How to Book It

The first photos of the 1960s-inspired, luxurious railcars have been released—along with details on how to score a coveted spot aboard the La Dolce Vita train in Italy.

The lounge space on the Orient Express La Dolce Vita, featuring curvy benches and an espresso bar

The interiors of La Dolce Vita were inspired by 1960s Italian design.

Courtesy of La Dolce Vita Orient Express

For more than a century, the Orient Express has captured travelers’ imaginations as a grand European hotel on rails, shuttling high society from Paris to Istanbul since 1883. The luxury train became the stuff of legend (as the “spies’ express”) and pop culture, be it in Bram Stoker’s Dracula or Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, while setting the standard for elevated transcontinental travel.

Sadly, the luxury of slow travel couldn’t compete with high-speed rail and budget flights, reports The Guardian, prompting the final run of the original Orient Express line in 2009.

That is, until more recently. In the past several years, the legendary locomotive experience has witnessed a rebirth thanks to luxury hospitality brands that are breathing new life into the iconic rail journeys—including the forthcoming La Dolce Vita Orient Express in Italy, a joint venture of French hotel firm Accor and real-estate investment company Arsenale, together with Italy’s Trenitalia Gruppo Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane and Treni Turistici Italiani.

Starting in spring 2025, La Dolce Vita Orient Express will bring passengers to regions throughout Italy on itineraries that run between two and three days. There are nine itineraries to choose from (depending on the time of the year):

  • Venice and Portofino
  • Venice and Siena
  • The Italian Trans-Siberian: Matera and Palena
  • Rome to Montalcino
  • Rome to Monferrato
  • Southern Italy: Maratea and Palermo
  • Palermo to Rome
  • Sicily
  • Sicily and the Mediterranean

Travelers can choose between 12 deluxe cabins and 18 suites, with prices starting at $3,800 per person for a deluxe cabin and at $5,100 per person for a suite.

A suite on the La Dolce Vita Orient Express train complete with a double bed, sweeping window views, and a small table for two

Passengers who want a little more space and luxury can opt to stay in one of the train’s suites.

Courtesy of La Dolce Vita Orient Express

As for the concept for the new La Dolce Vita Orient Express train, “The train pays tribute to the years of La Dolce Vita, a fantastic period of history, [and] to the artistic and cultural fervor of Italy in the 1960s,” according to a press release. Dimorestudio dreamed up the midcentury-inspired design aboard the train’s renovated carriages—think pops of terra-cotta paint, tongue-and-groove ceilings, and brass accents galore. Dining aboard La Dolce Vita trains will be a sophisticated affair as well: Travelers will enjoy exclusive recipes created by master Italian chefs who use local ingredients, while sipping award-winning Italian wine. There will, of course, also be a lounge and bar, as well as entertainment, “all boldly celebrating the art, design, and creativity of the 1960s and 1970s,” the release stated.

Upon departure from Italy’s Rome Ostiense station, La Dolce Vita passengers will have access to their own lounge and a “relaxing pre-boarding experience.”

A mirrored wall displays a deluxe cabin bed on the La Dolce Vita Orient Express train

Bold patterns and 1960s-inspired designs define the deluxe cabins on La Dolce Vita Orient Express.

Courtesy of La Dolce Vita Orient Express

The trains will cross about 10,000 miles of railway lines, 4,400 of which are not electrified and are historic routes traversing less-frequented parts of the countryside. Passengers will get their share of landscape gazing (alpine mountains and sandy southern beaches) and of metropolitan centers like Venice and Rome. “We are thrilled to officially open the doors to a new era of travel with La Dolce Vita Orient Express. This endeavor embodies the essence of exquisite exploration, where sophistication meets adventure,” Orient Express CEO Gilda Perez-Alvarado said in a press statement.

Not to be confused with the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, which is currently owned by Belmond, part of LVMH, and runs from London to Venice, La Dolce Vita Orient Express is the latest incarnation of the original train line.

How to book La Dolce Vita Orient Express

Starting on April 2, 2024, travelers in the United States and Canada can call (833) 661-3080 to book their journey with La Dolce Vita Orient Express. And as of April 24, 2024, bookings will be available online on the La Dolce Vita website.

This story was originally published in December 2021; it was updated on March 19, 2024, to include current information.

Mae Hamilton is a former associate editor at Afar. She covers all things related to arts, culture, and the beautiful things that make travel so special.
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