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With 28 centuries of celebrated history, Rome holds the edge when it comes to unrivalled adventures. The city that sparked the world’s largest empire is very much alive today with a jumble of ancient ruins, world-renowned art and vivacious street culture. Here you can live ‘la dolce vita’, recalling the glory days of Ancient Rome and twirling forks full of pasta in a trattoria. Ride past centuries-old basilicas in a three-wheeled Ape Calessino, or stand in awe of paintings by Italian masters at Villa Borghese. Whether it’s Vatican City’s spiritual allure, Trastevere’s backstreet charms or the Colosseum’s embattled legacy – The Eternal City endures with endless adventures.
The lively cliffside village of Salerno is a gateway to the many historical and scenic coastal towns with cruises to the Amalfi Coast. Take a stroll by the water along the city’s modern promenade, or pop into a cafe for a refreshing limoncello. Break a sweat with a hike up Mount Vesuvius before you wander through the ancient city of Pompeii. Or take a drive along the coast on the winding roads, and bask in views of steep cliffs over crystal blue water.
Messina is Sicily’s panoramic gateway – located on the northeastern corner of the island, the city just kisses the boot of mainland Italy’s southern tip. Get lost among the patchwork of churches and antique palaces. The Messina Cathedral is in the heart of the city, and its famous bell tower houses the largest mechanical clock in the world – every day at noon, the statues move to Schubert’s ‘Ave Maria’. In front of this church, you’ll find the Fontana di Orione, a 16th-century fountain that’s a work of art in itself, with sculptures of figures from ancient mythology. Cruise to Sicily and take a leisurely walk to the Sacrario di Cristo Re, a hilltop church with panoramic views of the town and the surrounding mountains.
Santorini is one of the world’s most popular islands, known best for its dramatic scenery, whitewashed villages and fiery volcanic activity. Here adventure bubbles above the Aegean Sea in the most bold and breathtaking ways. A cable car takes you to the capital of Fira, a bustling cliff-top town awash with old cathedrals, enthralling museum collections and cosy tavernas. Venture to the coast for a swim in the deep blue waters that lap red and black pebbled beaches. And peel back layers of lava and history amongst excavated Akrotiri. Whether it’s by bicycle, ATV or on your own two feet, exploring this Cyclades isle never fails to impress.
The UNESCO World Heritage ruins of Ephesus impress even those familiar with the world’s other ancient cities. Though excavations have been underway for 150 years, only 20 percent of the city has been uncovered. Check out the the Celsus Library — built in 117 A.D., the site is made up of towering columns highlighted by the statue of the goddess of wisdom. Cruises to Ephesus will give you a taste of Turkish life by strolling the seafront promenade and the bustling city center. Walk Marble Street, paved with actual marble slabs, which takes you from downtown to the Temple of Artemis — you can still see one lone remaining column from this wonder of the ancient world.
Nestled in the heart of Greece’s Cyclades archipelago, Mykonos pulses with irrepressible energy. With its powder white houses, sparkling blue waters and red-hot nightlife, The Island of the Winds is as colourful as the people who call the island home. You can walk narrow marble pathways laced with purple bougainvillea blooms, or go cycling on two wheels past off-the-beaten-track Ano Mera village. Explore Greece’s maritime history at Armenistis Lighthouse, and check out the Folklore Museum’s Mykonian ship models. Join in the raucous beach party on Super Paradise’s shimmering sands, or watch the sun burn out beyond an Aegean horizon from an open-air seaside taverna.
Athens offers a looking glass back in time into Greece’s powerful ancient civilization. Art lovers, epicureans and history buffs will be delighted by the ancient ruins, museums and tavernas of this picturesque town. Just 10 minutes from the port, you’ll find the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus, filled with sculptures from the Bronze Age to the Romans. Walk to the Zea Harbour to discover how the Hellenic Maritime Museum will bring to life the grandeur of ancient Greece’s naval capacities. Jump onboard an Athens cruise and relax at the small harbor of Mikrolimano, enjoying a meal of grilled octopus and chilled white wine at a small restaurant overlooking the sea.
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