Circling Sicily on Its Regional Trains

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In western Sicily, blessed with pleasant weather, my trip took a more predictable turn. I divided the 100-miles route into three travel days: one each for Castelvetrano, Marsala and Trapani. Along the way I learned that in this often forgotten part of Sicily the train is largely used by African migrants. I learned how the conductors not only check passengers’ tickets but also have to manually control the traffic lights. And I learned that most Italians do not want to rely on the trains, since they are often slow and unreliable.

And yet, despite the exceptionally bad weather, the regional railroads — and the replacement bus services — managed to get me around the island of Sicily for less than $100. It’s a challenge that I would recommend to anyone who wants to surrender to the charm of slow travel. Just one bit of advice: Check the weather forecast before you go.

Sanne Derks is a Dutch freelance photojournalist and anthropologist. You can follow her work on Instagram.

Her project on Sicily’s regional trains was supported by a grant from Pictoright, an author’s rights organization for visual creators in the Netherlands.

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