Italy is well known for its expansive railway network, but one intercity route stands out as being particularly unique. There are trains that start in the major cities of Milan and Rome and travel for up to 20 hours direct to stations in Sicily – terminating in Siracusa on the south coast and Palermo in the north. Trains on these routes board a ferry as part of the trip and are the only passenger trains in Europe to board a ferry as part of the journey. A truly unique travelling experience.
I opted for the InterCity Notte, or night, from Milano Centrale to Siracusa, mainly for the opportunity to witness the ferry crossing during sociable hours and to take advantage of a longer journey duration and distance that is rarity for European sleeper trains. This train offers sleeping cars and couchette cars where I opted for the former.
I made a video of the journey that includes the process of the train boarding and leaving the ferry crossing the Messina Strait, the excellent coastal views you can expect as well as the accommodation and service onboard.
The trip took place during the COVID-19 pandemic when travel was permitted from the UK to Italy.
This article was first published in December 2020.