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Climb up the magnificent Acropolis and stand in awe of the Parthenon, the beautiful temples and the view over Athens stretched out before you. See city highlights including the new and old Olympic stadiums. Journey to Cape Sounion and the temple of Poseidon overlooking the sea, or visit ancient Corinth and the narrow Corinth Canal cut through miles of solid rock.
Meander through the ruins of ancient Ephesus and marvel at the famed Library of Celsus, the huge amphitheater, the marble roads with their chariot marks, the amazing mosaic sidewalks and the superb, rarely opened Terrace Houses. Or journey to three monumental cities of antiquity – Priene, Miletus and Didyma – renowned for their majestic temples and impressive, beautifully preserved stadiums.
Chania wears its past on its sleeve. Spend the day in museums, from those uncovering the ancient history buried beneath the rocky soil to those celebrating Greece’s magnificent maritime history and the region’s unique folklore. Visit the ruins of the city-state of Aptera, a powerhouse in Minoan and Hellenistic times and eventually a Roman stronghold.
Immerse yourself in this island of glorious scenery and beaches, serene monasteries, beautiful palaces, traditional mountain towns and Corfu’s lovely old Venetian quarter. Or visit the ornate Achilleion Palace, built by Empress Sissi of Austria and filled with dramatic sculptures of the Greek hero Achilles.
Enjoy a walk through this famous walled medieval city and its exquisite Venetian monuments. See the Franciscan monastery and explore the Rector’s palace and the cathedral. Or explore the countryside with a visit to lovely Cavtat, an enchanting seaside resort that began life as a Greek and then Roman colony. Then visit a local family in a Konavle Valley village and enjoy their hospitality over a traditional welcome of brandy and figs with a serenade by local musicians.
Sometime around 300 A.D., Roman Emperor Diocletian built his retirement palace on one of the loveliest spots on the Adriatic Sea. Today his palace has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the heart of Split, the city that grew up around it. Split is now Croatia’s second largest city, and much of it sits on a beautiful peninsula on the island of Ciovo, a jewel on the Dalmatian Coast. Many intriguing relics from the Roman, Greek colonial and Medieval periods can be found in Split’s archaeological museum, which was founded in 1820, making it Croatia’s oldest museum. One of the top outdoor attractions is the green oasis of Marjan Forest Park with its Split Zoo. There are also plenty of fine beaches nearby.
Trieste is the capital city of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region in northeast Italy. A port city, it occupies a thin strip of land between the Adriatic coast and Slovenia’s border on the limestone-dominated Karst Plateau. Italian, Austro-Hungarian and Slovenian influences are all evident in its layout, which encompasses a medieval old city and a neoclassical Austrian quarter.
Destroyed by an earthquake in the 17th century, Catania has been beautifully restored and offers ancient churches, castles and amphitheaters, lush gardens and lovely palazzos to explore. Tour the 13th century Ursino Castle, which was situated along the coast until earthquakes and volcanic eruptions transformed the landscape. Drive inland through picturesque villages and explore Villa Romana del Casale, a 4th century villa and UNESCO World Heritage Site containing a complex collection of Roman mosaics considered one of the finest in the Roman world.
Salerno is a port city southeast of Naples, in Italy. Atop Monte Bonadies, the centuries-old Arechi Castle has sea views, plus Museo Medievale del Castello, exhibiting medieval ceramics and coins. In town, built on the ruins of a Roman temple, is Salerno Cathedral. It has Byzantine bronze doors, a baroque crypt and a marble altar. The terraced Minerva’s Garden has been growing medicinal plants since the 14th century.
Travel to Rome and revel in the magnificent monuments, from the ancient Roman Forum and Coliseum to the splendor of St. Peter’s Basilica with Michelangelo’s Pietà and his breathtaking frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. Or enjoy a drive through the lush farmlands of the Roman countryside to lovely medieval Castelgandolfo.