Deeply rooted in Italy, what you know as Citalia today was originally founded in 1929 by the Italian State Railway, known as Compagnia Italiana Turismo, or CIT.
The company was set up to allow Italians living in the UK the chance to enjoy holidays by train back to their homeland. After air travel was introduced, branches of the company appeared across Europe, America and Australia with the same goal. The idea that our holidays can meet Italian expectations of authenticity and style remains a driving force for us today.
CIT England rebranded as Citalia, and in the 1980s we began offering charter flights to key destinations. For guests who preferred rail travel, we introduced our special ‘Napoli Express’, which departed from London Victoria with a stop in the capital of Rome, before arriving in Naples, the gateway to Southern Italy, with Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast nearby. With Citalia representatives aboard the train, this was our initial foray into truly personalising our guests’ holidays.
There were three iconic Managing Directors who particularly shaped Citalia’s history: Luciano Rocca, Massimo Sabattini and Stefano Della Pietra. These personaggi are still talked about within the Italian tourism industry today!
Relationships are at the heart of Italian life, and it is our long-standing partnerships that maintains Citalia as the UK’s leading Italy travel specialist. In fact, many of our partners continue to affectionately call us CIT. In the late 1990s, Citalia was sold to the Gandolfi family from Varese and subsequently became part of the TUI group for over 15 years. Citalia has now been one of the experiential travel brands that make up the Travelopia group for the past five years. One thing has remained constant throughout our history: no one knows Italy like we do!