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The off-the-path Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy offers adventure for every taste. Explore the ancient town of Ravenna, best known for the seemingly endless Byzantine mosaics adorning its churches and monuments. Plus a powerhouse collection of eight UNESCO sites. Or venture to nearby Bologna to wander its portico-lined streets teeming with medieval relics— not to mention some of Italy’s most delectable cuisine. In this part of Italy, you can do a bit of it all. From sunning along the beaches of Punta Marina to engine revving at the Lamborghini Museum, and catching cutting-edge modern art at the MAMbo to taking a hands-on lesson in Bolognese cooking.
Lying on the Adriatic Sea’s eastern shore, Split is known for its terracotta roofs, whitewashed buildings, palm-tree-lined promenade and azure waters. Split has a long history, as it’s home to Diocletian’s Palace and the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, which were built for the Roman emperor in the 4th century. Always buzzing with tourists, Split balances its historic setting with a plethora of modern restaurants, bars and shops. Thanks to its Mediterranean climate, Split receives over 2,600 hours of sunshine every year. Jump onboard a Croatia cruise and take advantage of its sunny weather by exploring its beautiful beaches – most namely Bacvice and Kastelet Beaches – year-round.
A principal harbor for over two thousand years, Bari is a charming city on the Adriatic coast. The old town, Barivecchia, is cherished for its medieval characteristics and buildings. As one of Southern Italy’s more prosperous cities, Bari offers a wealth of shopping and dining options. It would be appropriate to do some gift shopping while in town-Bari is home to the ashes of Saint Nicholas.
Thick 16th-century stone walls encase the entire Old Town of Dubrovnik. But there are no boundaries on the endless adventures you’ll discover amongst its orange-roofed ramparts. With a made-for-TV appeal – Game of Thrones was actually filmed here – the city commands your attention with the perfectly preserved Rector’s Palace, elaborate Onofrio’s Fountain and baroque St Blaise’s Church, named after the city’s patron saint. You can browse museum collections showcasing Croatian artwork, period furniture and ship-building traditions. Stand in awe of the Franciscan Monastery library’s 30,000 volumes. Or to get your heart pumping, go cliff diving into the sea and kayak crystal blue waters, with the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ shimmering in the distance.
Perched above the Adriatic Sea, Corfu, Greece is the second largest Ionian island, and its size is rivaled by its tremendous history and dynamic cultural identity. Cruise to Corfu and walk through the narrow streets of Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and marvel at the Italianate architecture left from centuries of Venetian rule. A number of scenes from the James Bond film “For Your Eyes Only” were filmed in the capital city of Corfu, and you’ll understand why when you see the epic coastal roads and immense fortresses buttressing the town. With its rich combination of old fishing villages and immaculate beaches, Corfu is the perfect place to get lost in time during your vacation.
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.
Naples, a city in southern Italy, sits on the Bay of Naples. Nearby is Mount Vesuvius, the still-active volcano that destroyed nearby Roman town Pompeii. Dating to the 2nd millennium B.C., Naples has centuries of important art and architecture. The city’s cathedral, the Duomo di San Gennaro, is filled with frescoes. Other major landmarks include the lavish Royal Palace and Castel Nuovo, a 13th-century castle
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.
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