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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.
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.
Kotor is a beautiful walled medieval city of twisting, pink-paved streets, markets and architecture reflecting Byzantine to Venetian influences. Stroll through the compact old town, admire the impressive walls and tour the imposing St. Tryphon Cathedral, consecrated in 1166.
Igoumenitsa, is a coastal city in northwestern Greece. It is the capital of the regional unit of Thesprotia. Igoumenitsa is the chief port of Thesprotia and Epirus, and one of the largest passenger ports of Greece, connecting northwestern Mainland Greece with the Ionian Islands and Italy.
This capital of the island of Cephalonia resides in a sheltered bay along Koutavos Lagoon, where you might catch a glimpse of a loggerhead turtle. The stone obelisk of the Drapano Bridge and the Lighthouse of Saint Theodore are two of the island’s distinctive landmarks. Discover relics from the Mycenaean, Hellenistic and Roman periods in the city’s archaeological museum.
Enjoy magnificent panoramic views on the way up to the town, where you can stroll down medieval lanes past stunning palaces. See the famed Greek theater and its fantastic view of Mount Etna. Or take a trip to the volcano itself and get a first-hand look at cones, craters and lava streams from previous eruptions and a fantastic view over the Gulf of Catania. Venture into the countryside and its lovely hill towns, one with a Norman castle built of black lava, and visit beautiful old Catania.
Visit enchanting Amalfi to admire the 12th century Capuchin monastery and see the beautiful 11th century cathedral and cloister. Then discover chic Positano with its relaxed, sophisticated air and white Moorish-style houses clinging to steep slopes around a sparkling bay filled with colorful fishing boats.
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.
Embraced by Nice and the picturesque village of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, the bay of Villefranche is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. In the heart of the Côte d’Azur, Villefranche invites you to uncover its old-fashioned charms among the lanes of its 14th-century old town and seaside cafés. Nice also enchants with its superb medieval ambiance, particularly at the Cours Saleya markets in the old quarter, where the scents of the bustling flower stalls waft through the streets. The hilltop village of Eze, another nearby French Riviera gem, offers mesmerizing views from its location on a rocky peak above the Mediterranean.
See the sights and enjoy the views of historic old Marseille and visit the charming fishing port of Cassis. Or venture into the celebrated Provençal countryside with its fields of lavender and sunflowers. Explore lovely Aix or stroll through Avignon and its Papal Palace and the hilltop village of Les Baux.
Visit the magnificent Gothic cathedral and the amazing La Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece. Enjoy the lovely Montjuic Gardens, Gaudí’s other fabulous structures, the charming squares of the old Gothic Quarter and the Ramblas, Barcelona’s famed downtown promenade. Or visit beautiful Montserrat and its monastery in a breathtaking setting high in the mountains.
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