The Orient Express Will Return to Italy After 46 Years — With 6 Luxurious New Routes

The Agatha Christie-approved train will start welcoming passengers in 2023.

Europe is already known for its world-class rail system, but for an experience that's about more than just transportation, no train ride is more iconic than the Orient Express. After shutting down operations in 1977, this historic, luxury rail experience is making its way back to Italy with new trains and itineraries going beyond the famed Paris-to-Istanbul route that started it all.

Rendering of the Lounge on the Orient Express La Dolce Vita
Courtesy of Dimorestudio

In 2023, the new Orient Express La Dolce Vita will welcome passengers on six trains offering six itineraries that explore Italy from north to south, along with international routes visiting Paris, Istanbul, and Split, Croatia. Guests can spend anywhere from one to three nights aboard the new trains, with plenty of time at each stop to enjoy the destination. No matter which of the six routes guests choose, a stopover in Rome will be at the heart of every journey, allowing travelers to experience a stay at Minerva, the first Orient Express hotel, which is scheduled to open in 2024.

Rendering Orient Express La Dolce Vita
Courtesy of Dimorestudio6

Not to be confused with Belmond's Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, this luxury railroad venture is partially owned by Accor Group. While the original Orient Express transported guests to the 1920s, the new Orient Express La Dolce Vita is all about celebrating the 1960s and '70s, a historic period in Italy known as "La Dolce Vita."

Interior of a vintage Orient Express
Courtesy Fonds de dotation Orient Express Heritage

That time was all about glamor, art, and a joie de vivre, which is incorporated in the style and decor of the new Orient Express La Dolce Vita. This 1960s and '70s feel is complemented by more contemporary design throughout the trains' 12 deluxe cabins, 18 suites, and one 'Honour Suite' (the British spelling is part of its charm), as well as the onboard restaurant. The train is designed by Dimorestudio.

Rendering of the Suite Deluxe onboard the Orient Express La Dolce Vita
Courtesy of Dimorestudio

"At Accor, we consider it an immense privilege to re-launch the historic Orient Express brand for passionate and discerning travelers. These trains offer a new vision of luxury travel that is beyond our imagination," said Sébastien Bazin, chairman and CEO of Accor, in a press release. "Our association with Arsenale Group has opened up new horizons in perfect harmony with the heritage and philosophy of Orient Express, and marks our constant desire to keep moving forward."

Rendering of the Restaurant on board the Orient Express La Dolce Vita
Courtesy of Dimorestudio

Details on the exact itineraries for the new Orient Express La Dolce Vita will be released next year.

Jessica Poitevien is a Travel + Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but always on the lookout for the next adventure. Besides traveling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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