The Casella Train (Trenino di Casella) is a narrow-gauge railway connecting the centre of Genoa with its immediate hinterland.
Did you know that the Genoa Casella Train is the best-preserved historical railway, still in operation, in Italy?
The Casella Train runs 24 kilometres and crosses 3 valleys, the Val Bisagno, the Val Polcevera and the Valle Scrivia, offering spectacular panoramic views from the sea to the mountains along its route.
You will travel in period carriages, between the present and the past.
The train leaves from the Manin station and arrives at the Casella station in about an hour, crossing bridges, tunnels, viaducts, level crossings, and characteristic villages where you can taste the typical specialities of the Ligurian hinterland.
Let’s discover together the stages of the historic Genoa Casella railway and all the useful information for organising your trip on the Trenino di Casella, even with children in tow.
Where to take the Casella Train
Reaching the Trenino’s departure station (Genoa Manin) is easy.
Arriving by train – From the railway station of Genoa Principe, take bus no. 34 to the piazza Manin stop.
From the Genoa Brignole railway station, take bus no. 49 and get off at the Giardino/Montegrappa stop, a short walk from piazza Manin.
The Genoa Manin train station is located above the piazza of the same name, and can be reached via a flight of steps or bybus n 64 (get off at the second stop).
Arriving by bus – From the Genoa Principe and Genoa Brignole areas, follow the directions above.
From Piazza Corvetto, take bus no. 34 or 36 and get off at the Piazza Manin stop.
Arriving by car – It is possible to get to the Manin station by car, bearing in mind that the car parks in the surrounding area are fee-paying and not very numerous.
From the Genoa East motorway exit, you can park your car near the Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno or in the car park on the Piastra, and take bus no. 34 (direction Principe Station), getting off at the Piazza Manin stop.
From the Genoa Ovest motorway exit, you can park in the Dinegro Interchange car park, and take the metro to the Darsena stop.
Then, take bus No. 34 to Piazza Manin.
History and curiosities of the Genoa Casella Train
The Genoa Casella Train was built after 50 years of plans that had been modified several times due to the critical nature of the terrain.
The purpose of the railway was to easily connect Genoa with its hinterland and its construction finally began in June 1921, on the Casella side.
In order to save money on its construction, material was recovered from the Scrivia stream, and several tunnels and bridges were built to overcome natural barriers.
The Genoa Casella Train was completed and subsequently opened to the public in September 1929.
Casella railway starts at an altitude of 93 metres above sea level and arrives at 410 metres at the terminus in Casella, after crossing the highest point of the route (Crocetta d’Orero, 458 metres above sea level).
The train takes approximately one hour to complete the entire route.
The Genova Casella Train is a narrow-gauge railway, i.e. the distance between the rails is 1000 millimetres, instead of the usual 1435.
Despite being a mountain line – the gradients reached are as much as 45 per thousand – it is fully electrified.
The Casella Train route: all stops
The Casella Train runs along a scenic route of about 24 kilometres.
As indicated above, it crosses 3 valleys and 4 municipalities (Genoa, Sant’Olcese, Serra Riccò and Casella).
There are 15 stops along the route (17 in total, counting departure and arrival stations ) and they are as follows:
- Genoa Piazza Manin
- San Pantaleo
- S. Olcese Church
- S. Olcese Tullo
- Canova Crocetta
In addition to the views that can be admired from the window, the train‘s numerous stops allow you to explore the surrounding area.
Walks, which can also be done with children, restaurants, visits to villages, wine and food experiences, farms with animals, are just some of the proposals.
Let’s see together what to see and the most important stops to make along the Genoa Casella railway route.
The Casella Train: what to see along the route
Below, you will find the main attractions listed from the departure station in Piazza Manin to the arrival station in Casella.
Stop in San Pantaleo: Historical Aqueduct
The first attraction you find along the way is the city’s Ancient Aqueduct, which you reach by getting off at the San Pantaleo stop.
Aqueduct of Genoa walk is an easy, mostly flat walk, which I like very much and always recommend .
By the way, in the first section, there is the spectacular Sifone Bridge, which can only be walked on specific days.
▶ If you want more information on the Historical Aqueduct, you can read this article.
Trensasco stop: ring of the Genoa Forts
When you get off at Trensasco station, you can reach the beginning of the path leading to the Genoa Forts, inside the Parco delle Mura.
The Genoa Forts ring is one of the most popular trekking routes for us Genoese, both for its proximity to the city centre and for the panoramic views it offers.
The route is 10 kilometres long and has an altitude difference of 400 metres, so it is a feasible hike even with children, if they are already accustomed to trekking.
▶ For more detailed information on the Genoa Forts loop, you can read this article.
Campi stop: trattoria Da Raffe
I recommend getting off at the Campi stop if you want to make a stop at one of the most typical trattorias in the Genoa hinterland.
It is called Da Raffe and here you can find traditional dishes such as ravioli al tocco, mandilli al pesto, fritto misto alla genovese, rabbit alla ligure, cima, and much more.
The dishes are really good and plentiful, and the bill is honest.
Trattoria is just over a kilometre from the Campi stop, which you walk downhill on the way there and uphill on the way back.
The walk, all in all, will help you digest your hearty lunch!
Address – Da Raffe (on maps it comes up as Non mia) 16010 Casanova, tel 39 0107092367.
Casella Train: Sant’Olcese Church stop
We now come to Sant’Olcese, the village named after Bishop Olcese , who is said to have tamed a bear considered very dangerous by the population in the 15th century.
The village of S.Olcese is known for its famous salami , which can be bought in the various salumifici in the area, including the Salumeria Parodi, which also offers guided tours with tastings.
The nearest station of the Trenino di Casella to the town of S.Olcese is Sant’Olcese Chiesa.
Sant’Olcese Tullo stop: Ciaé botanical trail
From the Sant’Olcese Tullo stop, on the other hand, it is possible to take a beautiful walk along the Ciaé Botanical Path, which connects Ronco di Sant’Olcese to the hamlet of Orero, in the municipality of Serra Riccò.
The path, created in 1984 by the volunteers of the Sant’Olcese Fire Watch, winds its way through the forest and is marked with numerous plaques illustrating the native plant species.
It is a simple walk, instructive for children, and very characteristic to take during the foliage season.
▶ For more detailed information on the Ciaé Botanical Path, you can read this article.
Stop Crocetta d’Orero
Museum spread 24 km
Getting off at the Crocetta di Orero station, you can visit the Museum of the Genoa Casella Railway (Museo Diffuso 24 km), open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Inside, the history of the Casella Railway is retraced through historical photographs, an exhibition of old tickets and instruments, drawings of historical locomotives , and other curiosities.
Antica Trattoria del Bado
Another stop I recommend for lunch is the Antica Trattoria del Bado in Casella.
Here too you will find an informal atmosphere, good traditional Ligurian dishes, and a bill in line with the quality of the food on offer.
You get there by getting off at Canova station.
Address – Antica Trattoria del Bado, via Canova 1 Casella. Tel 39 0109677726.
Excursion to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Victory
Getting off at the Crocetta d’Orero stop (468 m.) or at the Canova stop (the distance is the same), you can reach the Santuario N.S. della Vittoria (591 m.), situated between the Polcevera and Scrivia Valleys, by means of an evocative trek.
The hike is easy and the difference in height is minimal (270 metres) but the time taken is about 2h30 (one way) so it is suitable for trained hikers and children.
Casella Train: Casella stop
Montemaggio and Crocefieschi
We have finally arrived at the terminus of the Genoa Casella Railway, or the village of Casella.
Here it is possible to visit the village or continue on foot towards the villages of Montemaggio and Crocefieschi.
In Montemaggio, in particular, you can take a short trek that first leads to the Ex Colonia Montana and then to the summit of Monte Maggio.
▶ For more detailed information on the trek to Monte Maggio, you can read this article.
A walk of just over a kilometre and a half from Casella station takes you to the Cascina Salvega farmhouse, a paradise for children.
Genuine home cooking, an outdoor area with games and lots of animals.
Recommended for spending a day with the family, perhaps during the summer!
Address – Cascina Salvega, Loc. Via Salvega 38, Casella. Tel 39 3385844712.
How much does the Casella Train cost: tickets and timetables
The Train ticket costs €3.00 – one way – and is valid for a single zone of the Genoa Casella Railway (€4.00 for two zones, €4.50 for three zones).
Tickets can be purchased directly at the station, or online on the official website up to 2 hours before the departure of the chosen route.
On busy days, it is advisable to buy your ticket online.
Before planning your trip, always take a look at the notice section on the home page of the website, where you can find up-to-date news and any changes to the timetable.
You can buy your ticket or view the timetables of the Casella train rides on the official website.
Information for riding the Casella Train by bicycle
Those who are planning to ride their bicycles along the trails that can be reached by the Casella train will be interested to know that the transport of their bicycles is free of charge.
The bikes are hung vertically on the walls inside the wagon and are therefore protected from the rain.
For groups of 3/4 persons and their bicycles, it is advisable to reserve a place in advance by writing an e-mail to [email protected]
The Casella Train offers a slightly different experience.
In addition to the trip itself, which is very characteristic to ride both with and without children, the Train allows you to discover our hinterland, as it is the starting point for beautiful excursions in nature, and characteristic villages.