Paolo Barletta, above, came to show support for the Dolce Vita stand, part of Accor’s display at ILTM. Barletta is CEO of Arsenale Group, in which Nicola Bulgari is also involved. Now Bulgari is into cars, seriously. He collects them. Barletta, by contrast, has, he says, always loved trains,
Now he is in his element, as it is he who has thought up and commandeered what will be Orient Express La Dolce Vita. 70-year old rolling stock, belonging to and maintained by Italy’s national railways, will become the train brand that will rock the world. Initially there will be six trains, operating Italy only. All onboard operations, plus prior selling and marketing, is handled by Accor’s Orient-Express.
Dolce Vita, which fits perfectly into the Barletta belief in partnering with brands that know how to respect heritage and the landscape, will be utilizing thousands of under-used kilometres of usable tracks, using rolling stock from the 1960s. Eventually there will be six trains, each 11 coaches, six of which will carry a total of 64 passengers. Re-design is by Dimorestudio, the Milan studio of Britt Moran and Emiliano Salci, who have done the Arts Clubs in London and Dubai. No details are yet known about the cuisine but boy, being Italy it will be molto bene, and all-inclusive, with drinks. We do know that Dolce Vita’s engineers are cleverly going to be able to shunt the entire train on to a ferry to take the train to Sicily, for stops at Agricento, Palermo and Taormina
Paolo Barletta is a guy who is a true hospitality networker, and he wants Italy to be recognized as a true globle partner. He believes hospitality will be the most interesting industry for the next 50 years, and Italy will be the key player. There are, he says, already a multitude of independent properties, and brands are moving in. Arsenale owns Rome’s Soho House and what will be at least a couple of Orient-Express hotels (Orient Express La Minerva, Rome, designer Hugo Toro, and Orient-Express Palazzo Donà Giovannelli, Venice, designer Aline d’Amman).
Paolo Barletta is a Renaissance Italian, covering not only real estate but fashion, technology, entertainment and wellness. He is, for instance, CEO Alchimia Spa, which invested in Virgin Hyperloop One, Spark Neuro and Texel (Nicola Bulgari, via Annabel investment, owns 12% of Alchimia Spa). On the philanthropy front, since 2014 the annual Myllennium Award, has honoured Paolo Barletta’s late father Raffaele Barletta.
Slow travel, with style, must surely be the new pinnacle of luxury. Trains are so today, says Barletta.