Funicolare di Montecatini

Tuscany, Italy | C.1898

Photo Credit: Nicola Pezzatini

Gigio and Gigia are a special set of siblings. It’s said that they’ve witnessed over a million kisses between them. While official tallies are up for debate, it is undeniable that the charming atmosphere of these Tuscan twins is enough to make you fall in love. 

The twins – two identical red train cars – of the Funicolare di Montecatini opened their doors in the summer of 1898 with a celebratory reception. Amongst the inaugural, star-studded riders was the famed opera composer, Giuseppe Verdi. Passengers on the cars, affectionately named Gigio and Gigia, take in views of the lush Tuscan landscape as they scoot up the mountainside, sitting on vintage wooden benches in one of the three compartments, perusing the balconies, waving to the opposite car as it passed halfway – maybe even sharing a kiss or two.

But life has not always been peace and love on the rails between Montecatini Terme and Montecatini Alto. During WWII, retreating saboteurs detonated explosives along the tracks. Luckily, neither Gigio nor Gigia were injured but repairs to the track required that the twins go on a five year hiatus before they regained their ability to transport visitors. 

Today’s riders will find the same Gigio and Gigia as Giuseppe Verdi did in 1898: both cars are originals. Maybe you’ll be one of the millions to kiss on the cars. The Tuscan twins, known to play cupid a time or two, maybe you’ll meet your one-in-a-million riding alongside. Either way, we like your chances.

:memo: Written by: Sam Jacobson

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