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Why Italy is a hot destination for Australian travellers

December 12, 2018 Destination Global, Headline News No Comments Email Email

A Grand Train Tour of Italy designed especially for foodies; 500th anniversary celebrations for Leonardo da Vinci; and beautiful Matera, European Capital of Culture for 2019 – these three great Italian options have been unveiled by Rail Europe, the Italian National Tourist Board and the Consul General of Italy Australia.

Australians can’t get enough of Italy. Italian National Tourist Board manager  Australia and New Zealand, Emanuele Attanasio, says visits are up 16%. The 250,000 Australians who visited in the past year make Italy the second-most popular destination in Europe for Australians after the UK.

In a lunchtime briefing at Ventuno Italian restaurant on Sydney Harbour on Monday, Consul General of Italy Australia, Arturo Arcano, said half of all trips between Rome and Milan these days are made by train, the best and fastest option. He said trains speed along at speeds of over 300 km/h – very comfortable, with Wi-Fi and restaurant services.

Rail Plus Australia head of sales Australia and New Zealand, James Hooper said that for much of Italy, trains were actually faster than flying. Point-to-point is the best way to go, Hooper says, and Rail Plus Australia (a Rail Europe company) handles a lot of that business as well as longer itineraries.

For details of a Grand Train Tour of Italy made easy by Trenitalia – a trip  especially for foodies, see: https://blog.railplus.com.au/post/grand-train-tour-of-italy/ The blog is full of delicious food photos!

In Sydney on Monday (left to right): James Hooper of Rail Plus Australia; Arturo Arcano, Consul General of Italy; Emanuele Attanasio, Italian National Tourist Board. 

 

Some of the point-to-point rail fares are amazingly cheap – clients can do these singly or take the whole itinerary from Rail Plus. You can see on Instagram where two Aussie agents went on their trip to Italy recently, thanks to the Rail Expert Program: https://www.instagram.com/rail_plus/ They had a wonderful time. Who would doubt it!

It’s worth noting that agents can pass on a massive 37% discount off Eurail Passes to their clients – provided bookings are made by 27 December 2018. So you’ve got two weeks from now! For more info on the Italy Eurail Pass, see https://www.railplus.com.au/europe-by-rail/eurail-passes/one-country-passes/italy-eurail-pass/prices-info.htm.

Italian tourism briefing in Sydney on Monday

Another looming Italian drawcard is Leonardo da Vinci’s 500th anniversary – or to be more precise, the 500th anniversary of his death. Leonardo is identified with Milan, Italy’s fashion capital, and with Florence. He spent 20 years of his adult life in Milan, offering the Duke of Milan, Ludovico il Moro, the best of his creative ability.

Matera, European City of Culture 2019

Visitors throughout the world look on Leonardo’s works in amazement and wonder: from the navigation system of the Lombardy Navigli to the Last Supper in the Santa Maria delle Grazie refectory; from the Ritratto di Musico (Portrait of a Musician) to the graphic and pictorial invention of the Sala delle Asse in the Castello Sforzesco, which has been dramatically restored and will be revealed to the public on 23 May 2019, exactly 500 years after Leonardo’s death in Amboise, France.

Two Aussie agents, Jess and Amanda, tour Italy by rail sampling wonderful food

Milan will celebrate Leonardo’s anniversary with a program of events lasting nine months (May 2019 – January 2020), centred on the Castello – where Leonardo arrived in 1482 to put his skills at the service of Duke Ludovico Sforza.

Then there’s Matera, 2019 European Capital of Culture. A city in the Basilicata region in Italy’s far south, Matera is almost impossibly beautiful. Yet in comparatively recent times it was quite primitive. Even in the 1960s some people there were still living in caves. There’s such a lot planned there for the big year, 2019, that the program will take your breath away. View it here: https://www.matera-basilicata2019.it/en/.

Written by Peter Needham

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