Italy’s own “Trans-Siberian” railway taking travellers through the snowy Abruzzo mountains has reopened to visitors for the first time since it was first destroyed by the Nazis during World War II and subsequently closed due to government cuts.
The almost 100-year-old carriages have been restored by hobbyists, with the 120km line taking travellers from Rome to the Roccaraso ski resort to the east, passing over countless precarious viaducts, AFP reported.
The railway hits its highest point at an altitude of 1,269m along the Sulmona-Roccaraso section. It was opened in 1897 and is a feat of engineering, winding its way up the steep rocky mountain in a series of long, elegant loops.
Historically, the line played a vital role linking up isolated communities in the Apennine mountains, less than two hours' drive from Rome.
In 2014, passionate enthusiasts from the Le Rotaie association, dedicated to safeguarding old railways, teamed up with the Italian Railways Foundation to get the line known as the Neapolitan reopened.
Le Rotaie dreams of restoring the entire line running between Pescara and Naples, joining the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic seas on either side of Italy.
For now, a first-class velvet-covered seat costs 40 euros (US$45) for a return trip from Rome, while a cheaper wooden bench alternative in third class goes for 30 euros.