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Dubrovnik is a city in southern Croatia fronting the Adriatic Sea. It’s known for its distinctive Old Town, encircled with massive stone walls completed in the 16th century. Its well-preserved buildings range from baroque St. Blaise Church to Renaissance Sponza Palace and Gothic Rector’s Palace, now a history museum. Paved with limestone, the pedestrianized Stradun (or Placa) is lined with shops and restaurants.
Monopoli is a town on the Adriatic Sea, in southern Italy. It’s known for the Baroque Monopoli Cathedral, featuring a tall bell tower. In its crypt is an archaeological museum with sculptures and ancient tombs. On a promontory to the north, the 16th-century Castle of Carlo V has a huge stone portal. Nearby is the frescoed Palmieri Palace, built by a wealthy local family in the late 1700s.
Otranto is a coastal town in southern Italy’s Apulia region. It’s home to the 15th-century Aragonese Castle and 11th-century Otranto Cathedral, with a rose window and ornate mosaic flooring. At the harbor, Torre Matta tower has sweeping sea views. Nearby beaches include the popular Alimini Beach. Inland are 2 lakes: the saltwater Alimini Grande and spring-fed Alimini Piccolo. South is the Punta Palascìa lighthouse.
Crotone is a port city in Calabria, southern Italy. The monumental Castello di Carlo V is a 9th-century fortress that was modified in the 1500s. The National Archaeological Museum houses items, including a gold tiara, unearthed at the ancient Temple of Hera Lacinia in the nearby Capo Colonna Archaeological Park. Farther south is the Capo Rizzuto Marine Protected Area, with seagrass forests, barracudas and starfish.
Giardini Naxos is a comune in the Metropolitan City of Messina on the island of Sicily in southern Italy. It is situated on the coast of the Ionian Sea on a bay which lies between Cape Taormina and Cape Schisò. Since the 1970s it has become a seaside-resort.
Amalfi is a town in a dramatic natural setting below steep cliffs on Italy’s southwest coast. Between the 9th and 11th centuries, it was the seat of a powerful maritime republic. The Arab-Norman Sant’Andrea cathedral at the heart of town, with its striped Byzantine facade, survives from this era. The Museo Arsenale Amalfi is a medieval shipyard-turned-exhibition space.
Sorrento is a coastal town in southwestern Italy, facing the Bay of Naples on the Sorrentine Peninsula. Perched atop cliffs that separate the town from its busy marinas, it’s known for sweeping water views and Piazza Tasso, a cafe-lined square. The historic center is a warren of narrow alleys that’s home to the Chiesa di San Francesco, a 14th-century church with a tranquil cloister.
Civitavecchia is a coastal town northwest of Rome, in Italy. Built in the 2nd century, the Port of Civitavecchia still retains some of its original features, like the Roman Dock. The port area also includes the 16th-century Michelangelo Fort. Nearby, the National Archaeological Museum displays bronze and ceramic artifacts. Northeast of town are the Terme Taurine, the ruins of a Roman thermal bath complex.
Porto Ercole is an Italian town located in the municipality of Monte Argentario, in the Province of Grosseto, Tuscany. It is one of the two major towns that form the township, along with Porto Santo Stefano. Its name means “Port Hercules”.
Bonifacio is a town on the southern tip of the French island of Corsica. It’s known for its lively marina and medieval clifftop citadel. The 13th-century Bastion de l’Etendard houses a small museum with exhibits on the town’s history. L’Escalier du Roi d’Aragon is 187 ancient steps carved into the cliff face. To the southeast, the uninhabited Lavezzi Islands, a nature reserve, have granite boulders and sandy beaches.
Portoferraio is a town and comune in the province of Livorno, on the edge of the eponymous harbour of the island of Elba. It is the island’s largest city. Because of its terrain, many of its buildings are situated on the slopes of a tiny hill bordered on three sides by the sea.
Portofino is a fishing village on the Italian Riviera coastline, southeast of Genoa city. Pastel-colored houses, high-end boutiques and seafood restaurants fringe its Piazzetta, a small cobbled square overlooking the harbor, which is lined with super-yachts. A path leads from the Piazzetta to Castello Brown, a 16th-century fortress and museum with art exhibitions and panoramic views of the town and the Ligurian Sea.
Menton is a town on the French Riviera in southeast France. It’s known for beaches and gardens such as the Serre de la Madone garden, showcasing rare plants. East, the hilly, medieval old town is home to Basilique Saint-Michel, with its 18th-century bell tower, and the ornate facade of La Chapelle des Pénitents-Blancs. Nearby, the Musée Jean Cocteau collection Séverin Wunderman displays works by poet Jean Cocteau.
Villefranche-sur-Mer is a commune in the Alpes-Maritimes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region on the French Riviera and is located south-west of the Principality of Monaco, which is just west of the French-Italian border.