“On Sunday, April 23rd (editor’s note 1893) the Faenza-Florence rail-way line will be inaugurated....... Faenza and the hospitable Romagna reach out a friendly hand to the gentle Florence and the refined Tuscany; and in celebrating together, joyfully, their newfound nearness, may they underline the great desire for - through the newly tunneled Apennines, by way of the powerful steam engine –a new wind of civility and well-being. "
1893 was an unforgettable year for Tuscany and the region of Romagna: finally the railway line had tamed the mountain, and a link between the two seas, Tyrrhenian and Adriatic, and two ports, Livorno and Ravenna, was created.
The railway line was 101 km long and left the station in Santa Maria Novella in Florence, and passed 16 stations (among which we find Vaglia, San Piero, Borgo San Lorenzo, Ronta, Marradi, Brisighella etc.) until it reached Faenza.
The railway was a work of art: the magnificent bridge over the Rio Trillero (between Panicaglia and Ronta), built in pietra serena (grey sandstone) with 36 metre low arched parapets and with eight small openings, the viaducts over the Buggiano, the Rio Morto and the Poggio, the beautiful 199 metre viaduct-bridge over the Lamone River, and the Faentina state road in the area of Marradi, are exceptional examples of Italian railway construction.
On June 30th 1913, the 32 km Borgo S. Lorenzo-Pontassieve tract was opened to create a more practical link with the Florence-Rome railway line and central Italy.
Along the railway line numerous stations could be found: Vicchio, Dicomano, Contea-Londa and Rufina. The line sometimes coasted the Sieve River, both on the left and right.
In the years 1944- 45, the German troops destroyed the Florence- Borgo San Lorenzo tract as they pulled out of Tuscany: bridges, viaducts and tunnels were systematically blown-up using TNT and other explosives.
The Borgo-Faenza and Borgo-Pontassieve tracts were reinstated in the years following the war, while the reconstruction of the Faentina line, in the area of Borgo S. Lorenzo-Florence was only re-established in the 80s, and on January 14th, 1999, the railway was officially opened.
This mini-guide means to introduce a part of the Tuscan and Romagna territories via a “slow” train that allows the traveller to spend a relaxing holiday in nature.
"From Florence to Faenza and Ravenna on the Dante train
Italy's first trans-Apennines railway line built at the end of the 19th century"
Go to www.trenitalia.com for train schedule.