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From 2021, the city of Piraeus, one of the oldest ports in the world, will join the list of ports visited by MSC Mediterranean Cruises. Guests will be introduced to the treasures of Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Piraeus, an MSC Mediterranean Cruises destination, has been the port of Athens since ancient times. It’s a city filled with incredible wonders including Mikrolimano Bay, Agia Triada (Church of the Holy Trinity), and the Archaeological Museum.
Nowadays, Piraeus is a bustling centre with attractive waterfront cafés and restaurants, making it an ideal stop in the Mediterranean. Use it as a stepping stone to see the Acropolis and greater Athens.
Approximately 200-km southeast of mainland Greece, lies Santorini, a Cyclades Island. This MSC Mediterranean Cruises destination was formed from the remains of a volcanic caldera which is evident in its rugged geology. Santorini is famous for its sheer cliffs, red beach, and whitewashed houses that contrast strikingly against the blue Aegean Sea. The island is also home to ancient archaeological sites, hot spring swimming, and stunning wineries.
During the 18th-century, Mykonos’ maze of tangled lanes would confuse even the most well-travelled pirates. Nowadays pretending to get lost in these winding alleys makes for a day of entertainment! This MSC Mediterranean Cruises destination is known for its romantic Greek Island glamour. See brilliant beaches, turquoise waters, and picturesque whitewashed villages.
The UNESCO-protected port of Valletta, the capital of the island of Malta, is one of the must-see stops for every Mediterranean cruise of merit.
You can admire this port, constructed in the second half of the 16th century by the Frenchman Jean de la Valette and moulded by the religious and military Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, from your MSC ship even before disembarking. The over 300 monuments rising in little more than half a square kilometre make this a place with one of the greatest density of historical attractions to visit during a cruise, not mentioning other attractions such as its beaches, seaside locales and restaurants.
An excursion to the island can start right from its capital, Valletta, which enchants the cruise-goer with its famous Maltese balconies, which decorate the facades of houses in its old quarter. Surrounded by a multitude of churches, which the islanders assure are as many as the days of the year, the St. John’s Co-Cathedral is one of Malta’s biggest tourist attractions.
The National Museum of Archaeology, on the other hand, hosts prehistoric artefacts found on the island. By the Grand Harbour, one can visit the underground passages of Auberge de Castille and the beautiful Baracca Gardens, which overlook the harbour; at night, when the city gates would close, its porticoes served as shelter for travellers. To get a taste of the life of Malta’s ancient nobility, visit Casa Rocca Piccola.
A 16th century Palazzo now the residence of the 9th Marquis De Piro, it has period furnishings and has a bomb shelter built for protection against bombings during the Second World War. The set of the film Popeye can still be seen from Malta’s largest beach, as well as the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mellieha with a fresco of the Blessed Virgin Mary with Christ; according to tradition, Saint Luke, who was shipwrecked on the island with Saint Paul, is the author of this Byzantine-style fresco.
A journey through culture and art. With an MSC Cruise you will immerse yourself in one of the most fascinating and historical regions in Italy. Welcome to Sicily: in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, surrounded by crystal clear waters, this magical and welcoming land preserves traces of ancient civilizations.
With a hike in the Val di Noto, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, you will be able to fully enjoy the sicilian baroque, on the trail of “Commissioner Montalbano”, the famous character created by the author Andrea Camilleri. Passing through Ragusa Ibla, the ancient historical center of Ragusa, with its numerous churches and many buildings of times gone by, continuing to Scicli, where you will be able to admire the Byzantine settlements in the area of Chiafura, to finally arrive in Modica, famous not only for the delicious chocolate of Aztec origin but also for the artistic value of its buildings.
Moving on to Syracuse, you will reach the island of Ortygia, the old town, connected to the mainland by the Umbertino bridge. Here, great civilizations have come and gone: from the Greeks and Phoenicians to the Romans, from the Arabs to the Byzantines, to the Normans and the Aragonese. To experience life in this city to the full you shouldn’t miss a visit to the market: lose yourself among the stalls, where the sellers of fish, meat, fruits and vegetables are all proposing their goods with the typical vanniate, screams/rhymes in the local dialect.
Or take an excursion to the archeological Park of Syracuse. In this site you will be able to admire, among other things, relics of Greco-Roman eras, like the Greek Theatre of the V century BC, where the playwright Aeschylus staged The Women of Aetna in 476 BC; The ear of Dionysus, 23 meter high artificial cave; the Roman Amphitheatre, carved into the rock and among the largest in Sicily; and the Ara of Ierone, the altar that was originally about 198 meters long and over 20 wide.
Salerno boasts one of the loveliest cathedrals in southern Italy,reached through an atrium with 28 columns. Venture on to Paestum and see the Temple of Neptune.
Discover the culture and colour of Civitavecchia, an MSC Mediterranean Cruises destination. This Italian gem is an enjoyable flight from many European and non-European cities. Celebrated for its 16th-century Michelangelo Fort, ancient Taurine Baths, and marble Vanvitelli fountain, the port is a convenient starting point for visiting Rome, Italy’s regal and romantic capital.
Genoa is marvellously eclectic, vibrant and full of rough-edged style; it’s a great cruise excursion.
Indeed “La Superba” (The Superb), as it was known at the height of its authority as a Mediterranean superpower, boasts more zest and intrigue than all the surrounding coastal resorts put together.
During a holiday to Genoa you can explore its old town: a dense and fascinating warren of medieval alleyways home to large palazzi built in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by Genoa’s wealthy mercantile families and now transformed into museums and art galleries. You should seek out the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, the Palazzo Ducale, and the Renaissance palaces of Via Garibaldi which contain the cream of Genoa’s art collections, as well as furniture and decor from the grandest days of the city’s past, when its ships sailed to all corners of the Mediterranean Sea.
The Acquario di Genova is the city’s pride and joy, parked like a giant ocean liner on the waterfront, with seventy tanks housing sea creatures from all the world’s major habitats, including the world’s biggest reconstruction of a Caribbean coral reef. It’s a great aquarium by any standards, the second largest in Europe by capacity, and boasts a fashionably ecology-conscious slant and excellent background information in Italian and English.
Just 35 km south of Genoa, there’s no denying the appeal of Portofino, tucked into a protected inlet surrounded by lush cypress- and olive-clad slopes. It’s an A-list resort that has been attracting high-flying bankers, celebs and their hangers-on for years, as evidenced by the flotillas of giant yachts usually anchored just outside. It’s a tiny place that is attractive yet somehow off-putting at the same time, with a quota of fancy shops, bars and restaurants for a place twice its size.