Travelling by train has always stimulated literary and artistic creativity. And at the same time, the fascination and practicality of this means of transport also make it the subject of actual travel ideas. Just think of the many existing itineraries, sometimes linking several continents, or the Interrail option for young people with the support of the European community.
Travelling by train, compared to choosing other means of transport, is definitely an advantage in several respects, summarised in five simple considerations.
1. It allows you to enjoy the journey
Travelling both a short and a long distance, seated in a train, allows you to observe the world through its window, notice changing shapes and peculiarities, one place compared to another; you can also watch the way different people interact, differing from one town to another. You find yourself as an observer, in the flux of reality, enjoying a privileged position: you are part of the context but at the same time you will only belong to that portion of the world for a certain period of time and can therefore look at it with an external and curious eye. With this attitude, favoured by the tranquillity of travelling by train, as opposed to the hustle of travelling by plane or the lonely essence of a car journey, you can appreciate with greater intensity all your experiences, and enjoy every changing moment.
2. It increases mental and social knowledge
On board the train, there is no shortage of interaction: the opportunity to make new and interesting encounters is a frequent possibility. According to the study by the research centre Eumetra on the types of entertainment of train travellers, although reading or listening to music are the main pastimes, 61% put exchanging a few words with perfect strangers first, during long journeys or during a holiday.
Travelling by train therefore offers benefits on a social level and on the growth of one’s cultural and intellectual background. In fact, the same study shows that 88% of travellers have read at least one book on a train in the last year, compared to 81% of all Italians. Although surfing the Internet and communicating on the web hold the podium on how to spend time on board a train, reading ranks third, and is a more popular choice compared to listening to music or podcasts.
3. It is the most ecologically responsible travel option
It is now well known that the atmospheric CO2 emission of a train journey (0.044 kg per km) is significantly lower than the journey by plane or car. The European Environment Agency‘s latest report, the Transport and environment 2020 report, indicates that 72% of emissions are due to road transport, 14% to maritime transport and 13% to air transport, while the train is attributed only 0.4%. Travelling by railway is therefore the most environmentally friendly option and more and more people are not only increasingly aware of this, but are also willing to practice it as a necessary and responsible attitude towards the environment.
4. Comfortable and matching your interests
There are many benefits of a journey that begins by train for cyclists, to whom we have dedicated this special issue. In some cases, you can benefit from a bicycle transport service; not to mention that many of the railway stations are located in central locations that allow you to reach points of interest conveniently and quickly.
5. It is cost effective, thanks to collaboration with Trenitalia
Given the recent increases in the cost of fuel and plane tickets, the choice of using the train is certainly economically advantageous. The agreement between Trenitalia and Via Francigena has been renewed for some time now, and allows many pilgrims to alternate their walk with a train journey, offering everyone the best formula according to their own timing and needs. For those who need to reach the initial stage or to return home once the walk is complete, Trenitalia has provided a 10% discount on tickets purchased by Via Francigena pilgrims with the pilgrim’s credential. The Via Francigena, crossing a large part of the Italian Peninsula, as the official route shows, intersects with over 200 stations along the Italian path, which in turn are connected with bus stops and other local public transport. This discount also covers the Via Francigena in Southern Italy, including the stations along the stretch between Rome and Santa Maria di Leuca. If you are planning to experience the Via Francigena on regional rail routes, it is advisable to take advantage of the Italia in Tour 3 and Italia in Tour 5 special offers, which provide unlimited second-class travel on regional trains for 3 days at €29 (€15 for children aged 4 to 12) or for 5 days at €49 (€25 for children aged 4 to 12).
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The discount is valid on regional trains, with departure and arrival in the stations listed in the regulations.
Thanks to the partnership with Trenitalia, the Via Francigena becomes accessible to all those who want to undertake the walk, regardless of their physical fitness or the time available.