Travelling on the Nature Train

Travelling on the Nature Train Ingrandisci

A historical and landscape guide with 8 itineraries for excursions

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  • Autore: Edited by Stefano Maggi
  • Anno: 2004
  • Formato: 15 x 21
  • Pagine: 96 pp., ill.
  • ISBN: 88-7145-205-4

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Southern Tuscany still has unspoiled landscapes of rare beauty. For those who love to look at what is around them it is easy to note animals and plants that are extinct elsewhere. Or to admire the particular morphology which moves from gentle and sweet hills to harsh rock and clay erosion. The cultivated fields alternate with areas of Mediterranean bush in a kaleidoscope of changing colours from season to season. It is through this enchanting scene that the Nature Train runs, besides rivers and gorges, along panoramic ridges or tall viaducts, in direct contact with the flora and fauna of the Sienese clay hills, the Orcia valley, the valley of the Ombrone and the Grosseto plain.

This book was born as a useful guide for the traveller and for whoever intends to visit these areas by the train that goes from Siena to the Maremma.

There already exist numerous international guides on this area, but this book intends to be innovative because it is based on the idea of continuity. Instead of describing various places as isolated realities the book proposes to move slowly with the old diesel trains or with steam engine trains so as to appreciate the natural and artistic beauty, realising a trip from another time which was less frenetic than our contemporary life.

The book has a cultural and historical scope, it is also tied to the re-opening of a disused line with vintage trains, thus preserving the structure and objects of an industrial archaeology. The guide gives an accurate explanation of the panorama visible from the train, with diverse sections providing a more profound look at interesting topics.

In the third section, edited by the C.A.I.[Italian Alpine Club] of Siena, there are also the different itineraries given for walking between the stations, either along existing path guides of the Provincial administration, or by following new paths suggested by the Sienese countryside.

Travelling on the Nature Train returns to a railway tourist guide concept that had success in the second half of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, when trains were the only form of transport for reasonably long trips. There was a need to please the passengers, many of whom were foreigners, being part of the quick development of tourism in other European countries, with descriptions of the visual landscape and urban centres through which the train passed.

After the Second World War the development of the mass motorisation relegated the railways to a residual role. Cities and the countryside were filled beyond measure with cars, being the most visible product of mass consumerism. Only in the last few years has the increasing problem of pollution caused a re-evaluation of the train as an essential ecological means of transport, heralding a new “transport revolution” with high-speed trains receiving large investments, giving the train system competitiveness with motor transport.

The secondary lines have so far been left out of this process. They are caught between budget cuts and the lack of passengers in outlying areas. Yet it is in these areas, far from industrialisation and urbanisation process, that we find uncontaminated nature. Often the railway can help us explore this in the best ways, on condition that running costs are reduced all the potential of the train vector are used. The Nature Train represents a first step in this direction of synergy between the railway, nature and tourism.

  • Autore Edited by Stefano Maggi
  • Anno 2004
  • Formato 15 x 21
  • Pagine 96 pp., ill.
  • ISBN 88-7145-205-4

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