I believe travel should be like a well-oiled machine. The saying goes that Mussolini “made the trains run on time” in Italy and I figured I should take advantage of that. Upon our arrival in Rome, I navigated us on the Airport Express train to Rome‘s main train station, the Termini. It is named not for being the “terminal” but for thermae, the ancient Roman hot Baths of Domitian across the street. It is Rome’s largest train station, and one of the largest in Europe, with 33, count ’em, 33 platforms. Then, though sleep-addled after a long trans-Atlantic flight I was able to expertly, efficiently, promptly and indeed aggressively get everyone on the train ahead of time.

We were bound for Florence. Except that I got us on the wrong train. Right platform, wrong time. It was not just the wrong train, but it was going 180 degrees in the wrong direction. And with great efficiency, it was heading there at 153 mph. And it was an Express train that didn’t stop until getting to Naples. My Italian was insufficient to convince the train conductor that we should be going to Florence.


GPS reading of train speed


Serendipity in Travel

So, this was not a well-oiled beginning to the holiday. The more gracious among our party brushed it off, saying that we got to see Naples, something not originally on our agenda.

“We’ll always have Napoli.”

Indeed, this really was a serendipitous situation. Being scattered about the train car as we were, one of the people in our party happened to be sitting next to Stefano Ferragamo, as in the label Salvatore Ferragamo, shoemakers to the stars. They had a fascinating conversation and even got his card from him. He also gave her a new website for the upcoming Caligarius line. He told her to spam all her friends to buy the new shoes.

Serendipity is a neologism created by a British nobleman in the mid-17th-century from a Persian fairy tale; it is good luck in finding valuable things unintentionally.


Serendipity in Food

Though we were only there for a couple of hours before heading back through Rome to Florence, we had some great pizza. See my pizza story here.


Bill Petro


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About billpetro

Bill Petro writes articles on history, technology, pop culture, and travel. He has been a technology sales enablement executive with extensive experience in Cloud Computing, Automation, Data Center, Information Storage, Big Data/Analytics, Mobile, and Social technologies.

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