Do the trains run on time in Italy?

During the past month of rail travel between cities, I often heard announcements about whether the train I was on was running on time or late (the announcement usually said it was running on time) and that was so unusual to my ears that it reminded me of the infamous saying about Mussolini making the trains run on time.

The origin of the myth about Mussolini and the trains running on time was recounted in Martin Gilbert’s History of the 20th Century. When, after the match on Rome, the king summoned Mussolini to form a new government, the train wanted to wait. He insisted that it leave immediately, and said something along the lines of “From now on, the trains run on time.” He was overheard by the wife of the British ambassador, who then shared this anecdote.

There you have it. I expect that myth is why there are all these announcements about whether the train is on time. Italians can’t help but play up to it.

Published by Ernest Zanatta

Narrow minded Italian Catholic Conservative Peasant from Footscray.

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