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food / travel

Ferrari Railroad? Italians Unveil Europe's First Private High-Speed Train Line

Dubbed 'Italo,' the new train is not only fast and red, it's being launched by Ferrari chief Luca Cordero di Montezemolo. Europe’s first privately operated high-speed train service will begin rolling in March. And yes, the train

NTV's Italo, Italy’s first private high-speed train (NTV)
NTV's Italo, Italy’s first private high-speed train (NTV)

This shiny new set of Italian wheels is red, super-fast and luxurious. No wonder some have come to calling Italo the Ferrari of high-speed trains. Indeed, it has been launched by Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, the longtime chairman of Ferrari, who now doubles as president of Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (NTV), Europe's first privately operated high-speed train line.

Italo is due to be in service in March 2012 and will travel at a top speed of 360 kilometers-per-hour (224 m.p.h). It could turn out to be a serious competitor for Trenitalia, Italy's state-owned train operator. "There was a lot of resistance, and various problems, but we believe in this project," says Montezemolo. "We see this as the start of a period where citizens will have choice, competition, and the will to succeed."

"Finally we will travel well by train," said another shareholder of NTV, Diego Della Valle, owner of the luxury goods company Tod's.

In the most luxurious "Club" class, which has only 19 seats, there will be two private lounges, individual television screens, and meals served by the up-market Italian food company Eataly. Just behind is "First" class, where the seats are large and arranged three across. Personalized menus are available. In a "Relax" carriage, cell phones are banned. The second class has been renamed "Smart" class, for travellers who prefer to spend a bit less. They will have access to a small cinema.

Its founders also point to the new train line's environmental cred: including relatively low carbon emissions and noise levels, and use of recyclable materials. Ticket prices have not been announced, and will depend on the time and day of the week.

"Italy is the first country in Europe with a totally private operator of high speed train," Montezemolo declared. "Everyone says that it's time to believe in Italy. We are showing that we believe in the country in a very concrete way."

Read more from La Stampa

Photo - NTV

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Geopolitics

Patronage Or Politics? What's Driving Qatar And Egypt Grand Rapprochement

For Cairo, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil,” with anger directed at Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, and others critical of Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood ouster. But the vitriol is now gone, with the first ever visit by Egyptian President al-Sisi to Doha.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with the Emir of Qatar in June 2022 in Cairo

Beesan Kassab, Daniel O'Connell, Ehsan Salah, Hazem Tharwat and Najih Dawoud

For the first time since coming to power in 2014, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi traveled to Doha last month on an official visit, a capstone in a steadily building rapprochement between the two countries in the last year.

Not long ago, however, the photo-op capturing the two heads of state smiling at one another in Doha would have seemed impossible. In the wake of the Armed Forces’ ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, Qatar and Egypt traded barbs.

In the lexicon of the intelligence-controlled Egyptian press landscape, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil” working to undermine Egypt’s stability. Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, was banned from Egypt, but, from its social media accounts and television broadcast, it regularly published salacious and insulting details about the Egyptian administration.

But all of that vitriol is now gone.

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