A forgotten railway crosses one of the most beautiful - and unfamiliar to tourists - parts of Italy, the Apennine Mountains, with beautiful villages that are even more charming in winter due to the snow that covers them.
And yet, there is the Italian "Transsiberian". Between the two provinces of Abruzzo and Molise, the historic Transiberiana Italiana train, a train that for many years crossed part of the Apennine Mountains, a mountain range that virtually "catches" the whole of Italy, is well hidden. As one of the villages where the train stops at an altitude of 1268 meters, the landscape is really like being in Siberia, both because of snow and polar temperatures. This train crosses one of the most beautiful - and unknown to tourists, parts of Italy, passing through national parks, from the Apennine Mountains, from beautiful villages that are even more charming in the winter because of the snow that covers them. The total Sulmona - Isernia route is more than eight hours in total along with stalls for strolling and eating.
This railway line began to be built in 1892 and was completed five years later. The purpose of creating this line was to unite three prefectures, Campania (Naples) with Molise and Abruzzo. After World War II, much of it was destroyed and it took a long time for it to be rebuilt. It re-operated in 1960, while in 2010 it was the last year of its official operation. Although this line was abolished, residents of Isernia, along with the lovers of historic trains and the Le Rottaie train friends, made a great deal of trouble putting the train back in operation in 2014 but now purely for tourist use. 18.12.2017 Trans-Siberian: The travel adventures of Giorgos Pitropakis Since 2014, along with other historic Italian trains, the Italian Transsiberian is a member of the Binari senza tempo program and accepts tourists traveling through a another era - the train has been preserved in its old form both internally and externally - in some of the most mountainous parts of the country. Every month there are different thematic routes such as Spring Day, Mushroom Builder Day, Freedom Day, River Rail, Easter Train, Christmas Market Train, Loved Ones and many more on the official page of the club. Each route is different and "dressed" according to the theme.
Having reached Termini Roma central train station, take the train from 20Bis to Isernia (2.5 hours journey). Isernia is located in Molise, a province almost unknown to tourists, located in the center of Italy and full of natural parks, magnificent picturesque hamlets of stone, mountains and of course the historic line of the Ferrovia Sulmona -Isernia. So, arriving at Isernia Station, you will just start your journey with the historic train. Alternatively, you have to get to Sulmona to start the route. This is arranged according to the thematic route that follows each train.
Two years ago, I also had the opportunity to meet with the group of friends of the "Le Rotaie" train that organizes the one-day excursions with the historic train and enjoy one of the most special train trips in Italy. After I sat down for a few seconds at the train station to look at the red-green train reaching the quay, the station whistle pulled me out of the "dream" and made me run to prevent myself from getting into my wagon. The interior of the train was as impressive as the exterior. Wooden seats, black and white boxes, heavy curtains all carefully and cleanly transported automatically to another era, somewhere there in the Second World War, where the train was the main means of transportation, passengers, wounded and also merchandise. In my wagon, as in any wagon, one of the team volunteers would explain a few things about the train, the route, the stops we would do.
Palena first stop
Approximately 2 hours later, our first stop was the village of Pelena where outside the train station stalls were placed traditional delicacies accompanied by hot sweet wine to warm us up and comfort us from the unexpected cold that had he fell suddenly. Our band was also the band Lupi della Majella, who, with traditional music from Abruzzo, also cared for them to warm up with their music.
Next stop Pescocostanzo
Yes, this village is the village with the highest altitude, the coldest, the snowiest village on the route. The choices were two, either to come down here and explore the place up to one or to continue to the final destination of the current route, the village of Roccaraso.
Next stop Campo di Giove
After about forty minutes we reached our last destination before returning to Sulmona. This particular village is called Campo di Giove. Built amphitheatrically and with roofed roofs of snow, this place caused you to take countless pictures. I opened the Internet on my cell phone to read some things about this village and after reading that it is a favorite part of the skiers I walked until I discovered the old center which in my opinion was the most beautiful spot in the village. My steps led me to a tiny bar-bar where a nice gentleman made panini with prosciuto crudo. Of course, and I stopped, I bought and I caught the conversation. That's how I learned that due to the last day of the Carnival, I had to cross the square to get a taste of a celebration. Our return helped me to look at the snow-capped landscapes next to the driver, and I promised myself that this train should be taught by other people as well because it is really a completely different experience on someone's trip to Italy.
If you want to learn more about the program and the itineraries of the particular train you have to enter but here as the website is only in Italian, you can either enter their facebook page where they will answer you in English. The ticket for the one-day excursion costs from 30 to 35 Euros and, depending on the season, it is accompanied by different thematic routes, with a stop for food, a tour of parks, villages and festivals organized throughout the year.