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Gruppo Barletta – Made in Italy

Paolo Barletta, the Orient Express and the Bel Paese

The Orient Express Dolce arrives in Italy for a retro taste of luxury travel.

reading time4 minutes

Sometimes, the future is right behind us… Proof of this is Paolo Barletta, a young ‘serial entrepreneur’ and visionary, born in 1986 in the Castelli Romani. With an innate talent for business, Barletta invested in Chiara Ferragni’s business eight years ago, before she was famous. More recently, he launched ‘Ufirst‘, a skip-the-line app that was the most downloaded at the time of the lockdown, and invested in Virgin Hyperloop to realise the magnetic levitation train in Italy.

Dolce Vita trains

At 26, after his father’s death, he became CEO of the Barletta Group, the historic family business operating first in real estate and then in the hotel sector. Today, his focus is the Arsenale Group, created with Nicola Bulgari and operating in the Tourism/Hospitality sector. It is precisely Arsenale Group that has partnered with Trenitalia Spa to create the ‘Treni della Dolce Vita’, a way of travelling by train with the comfort of five-star hotels.

The entrepreneur’s latest endeavour was to put together these trains with the historic Orient Express (Accor) brand, the luxury long-distance train invented by Belgian entrepreneur G. Nagelmackers in 1883, which, with steam-heated and gas-lighted coaches made of varnished teak wood, enabled people to travel across Europe, from Paris to Constantinople (Istanbul), with all comforts. The Orient Express has entered the collective imagination also thanks to Agatha Christie’s famous novel ‘Murder on the Orient Express’, which helped to celebrate the train’s fame and keep its allure alive to this day.

Orient Express

Travelling in style

Thanks to this partnership, from 2023 it will be possible to savour again the slightly retro taste of a luxury train journey on the Orient Express Dolce, where carriages are inspired by the great Italian design of the 1960s and 1970s. From the north to the south of the Bel Paese, these trains will travel 16,400 km of Italian tracks: ten routes crossing 14 regions and 131 cities to discover the most iconic Italian destinations, plus three international destinations. But that’s not all. The city of Rome will play a central role in this project.An old building owned by the FS Foundation will be restored to create an exclusive lounge for travellers. Plus, in 2024, the brand’s first hotel, the Hotel Orient Express Minerva, will open in the 17th-century former Palazzo Fonseca (owned by Arsenale), a historic building beloved by protagonists of the Grand Tour such as Herman Melville, Stendhal and George Sand.

Congratulations to those who make the Dolce Vita myth move by rail and bring the Bel Paese to the world!