Italy Has It All: Pompeii To Palermo In 48 Hours

Gemma Roxanne Lake

From baths, brothels, and basilicas to black-sand beaches, candied cannoli, and Capuchin Catacombs – Italy has it all. But for travellers restricted by time, spending the night on a sleeper is without doubt the best way to save the light of day. Here is how 48 hours in the ruined Roman town of Pompeii and the cultural capital of Palermo should be spent.

Pompeii Amphitheatre

Nap on a night train

Although pre-booking an exclusive sleeper cabin during the summer season can be expensive, what better way to save time than to fall asleep to the sounds of the railway on the Italian Peninsula and wake up in Palermo the following morning? From Pompeii’s main station, a regional train will take you to Napoli Centrale. Then, slipping along the east-coast on an intercitynotte (night train) toward Italy’s toe, at Villa San Giovanni a quick transformation will see the engine leave the mainland as a boat-train before hitting the tracks of Messina Centrale and arriving in Palermo by breakfast. Trenitalia, Italy, +39 06 6847 5475

Strait of Messina

Sharpen your Palate

With Italian, Greek, Spanish, French and Arab influences, Sicilian cuisine can be difficult to define. But one of Palermo’s best bites has to be Arancini – a fried, breadcrumb-coated rice ball bursting with mozzarella, ragù, and peas. Another legendary dish is squid ink pasta with sea urchin roe: swimming in sable brown sepia ink, the ebon spaghetti with a vermillion drizzle smells and tastes just like the surrounding briny depths. For something sweeter, crunch your way through the cannoli (a tubed pastry dessert filled with sweet ricotta and crystallized fruits).

Squid ink spaghetti with sea urchin roe

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