The uniquely plaintive train whistle echoes thought the huge train shed of
Stazione Termini Roma.
(“ROME ADVENTURE” 1962)
The doors with an airy whishing close and with the second whistle blast the sleek Ferrari red Italo bullet train begins to wheel like a silky sliver of light from the cocoon of the station. Suddenly, like any city in the world, the backside view of Rome appears. Across the rows of polished steel tracks the walls and roofs of the city begin to slide away with increasing
speed, crumbly, golden and eternal, farewell Roma. Onward the train glides toward the final destination of Venice.
The train at top speed cuts with surging power and grace though the beautiful central valley of Italy that lies between the Apennines and the costal mountains. This deep lipstick red machine is now speeding along at a smooth imperceptible 250 miles an hour. Quietly it banks like a private jet gently and with much less noise it takes a turn. With
each turn left then right it becomes a waltz across the landscape Train attendants move along in their chic uniforms with carts overflowing with snacks and beverages. Everyone on the train except the tourists are thoughtfully and beautifully dressed. Outside trees, and farms and hills and towns fly buy in a beautiful kaleidoscopic whiz of green light and terracotta shadow. The glamour of train travel is alive and well in Italy.
In no time at all the Duomo of Florence appears on the right side of the train. In the station and out again and on over the pass in the Mountains between Florence and Bologna.
(PASSING THROUCH BOLOGNA)
There are high towers in the city of Bologna that lean too. Pisa has no exclusive rights on leaning towers in Italy. Bologna’s can be seen high against the sky as the train rolls out of the station to cut across the Po Valley and into the Veneto.
(ARRIVING VENICE ~” SUMMERTIME” 1955)
As the train leaves the mainland and ventures like Cupids arrow straight across the causeway for the heart of La Serenissima the city shines on the lagoon. In moments the passengers are descending from the train and moving caught up in the bustling throng, though the station and out onto the Grand Canal. The whole world has changed with this startling view of Venice accept the legendary style of Italy and her people. They like Rome are eternal.
(KATHERINE HEPBURN HAPPY TO BE IN VENICE IN “SUMMERTIME”)
In its classic men’s perfume from 1984 Armani Eau Pour Homme, the fashion house of Giorgio Armani captured all the style and refined polish one finds in a train trip across Italy. Sleek, elegant and powerful this fragrance has it all. It pops on the skin at first spray, the top notes of mandarin, green orange, basil, bergamot, lemon all conspire to create what I can only describe as jalapeno peppers. This surprising accord almost lost me the first time I tried it on but it was as it turned out just a little lurch of the train leaving the station. I was willing to overlook this in anticipation of the journey ahead. Up from the bottom notes comes the sandalwood to smooth and calm the top notes. This note like a good train conductor stays always present for the rest of the journey.
As the opening notes die away and leave the sandalwood to greet the most powerful of the heart notes jasmine, and lily it moves to its restrained presentation which makes it stand out against the other overwhelming power fragrances of the 80’s. These two notes hold court over the more subtle rose, nutmeg cumin and clove. Here it is close to the skin and will remain so. As the journey though the heartland continues enter the notes of cedar, oak moss and musk. This lasts a good four to five hours. As the train begins to loose steam in the dry down there is just a whispered memory of jasmine and sandalwood left and they find support in a hint of patchouli musk and vetiver. At about 6 hours the ride is over.
The first time I tried Armani Eau Pour Homme I found it to be a bit of a disappointment. That was two months ago. As time went by I would come back to it and try it again. Finally I was in tune with its subtle style. Like the extraordinary suits and elegant gowns of Armani it is all about understated elegance.
FOUR GOLD STARS ****