To describe the new Italo rail service – Europe’s first privately owned high speed luxury train, which runs between Milan and Naples – as the Ferrari-Tod’s Train is not technically correct. While Italo has no official relationship with either Ferrari or Tod’s, the train is infused with the spirit of those legendary marques via its owners Diego Della Valle, founder of Tod’s, and Luca di Montezemolo, Chairman of Ferrari and owner of Poltrona Frau (together with with Gianni Punzo they own 33.5% of Italo’s parent company Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiaatori).

These titans of the luxury industry have created a train designed around their lifestyles, a mode of transport they would forgo their private jets and helicopters for. Montezemolo’s Poltrona Frau provided the leather hides for the seats; renowned Milanese food purveyor Eataly caters gourmet snacks; there is a dedicated 39-seat cinema carriage; and Wi-Fi internet is available free of charge throughout. “City centre to city centre, you can work in a nice chair, not bumping elbows with anyone,” says Montezemolo of the allure of quality rail travel. Even the colours speak of the good life: gleaming Ferrari red on the exterior and the same buttery caramel coloured leather in Club class that Tod’s boutiques are associated with.

On its debut service that ran from Bologna to Milan on April 21, Della Valle – who also owns Roger Viver, an Italian newspaper, a football club and stakes in various Italian brands from Vespa to a manufacturer of coffee machines – invited a group of fellow Italian entrepreneurs to experience Italo. They included Italy’s Minister of Tourism Piero Gnudi and Alberto Bombassei, chairman of Brembo, which supplies Ferrari with break systems, who sampled the 75 minute journey in Italo’s leather panelled Club class (there is also a Business class and Leisure class).

“This is the most modern train in Europe. We are the first to use this train,” says Montezemolo of the AGV generation vehicle built by Alstom that is capable of travelling at 575kph though will run at 300kph, the same speed as the state owned Italian railway service. Instead of cutting journey times (Milan to Rome takes 3 hours), Italo is competing on the basis of superior service and comfort – the railway equivalent of a cruise along the shores of Lake Como in an elegant Riva or a zip around the coastal roads of the Amalfi Coast in a vintage Maserati.