From Sorrento, it’s time to take the most unusual train experience in Italy, as you depart for Sicily
. Now, while the maps may suggest this is an enduring train journey, the reality is far more joyful. From Napoli Centrale, the route takes just four and a half hours and is absolutely blissful as you chug along the coast and through some beautifully rugged landscapes. Be sure to do as the locals do and pack a picnic and a bottle of wine for your journey. When you reach the port city of Villa San Giovanni
, this is when the real excitement begins! Your train is disconnected from the tracks and split in two and, after a few groans and jolts, your carriage becomes swallowed up by a huge white ferry! Used exclusively for trains, this impressive feat of ferry engineering has operated since 1899. The latest fleet is hybrid powered using batteries and solar panels, so that it has zero emissions in the port.
You could stay in the carriage, but we suggest you leave your heavy luggage behind and head up to the deck, where you can enjoy a plate of arancini and a cappuccino as you breathe in the salty Mediterranean Sea air.
After a 25-minute sail across the Strait of Messina
, you'll be in Messina, the gateway to Sicily, where the train is reconnected and literally put back on track! Messina
is also known as the forgotten place because it was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in 1908. All of Sicily’s epic landscapes have been forged by nature, as well as by the many ancient civilisations who ruled the island for so many centuries.
From Messina, it’s another one-and-a-half-hour train jaunt to the historic city of Taormina
, where you can stay in Hotel Villa Belvedere
in its secluded hillside location above the Ionian Sea. This is the perfect place to discover the island and all its age-old wonders.