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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.
Spend a glorious day amidst the fabled architecture of this Renaissance city. See the Duomo with Brunelleschi’s dome, the famous baptistry, Michelangelo’s magnificent David, the bridge over the Arno and the astonishing Uffizi Gallery. Visit Pisa’s superb Campo dei Miracoli and its beautiful cathedral and famed campanile. Or enjoy the Tuscan countryside, Siena and San Gimignano, renowned for its medieval towers. Shopping: Find leather goods, lingerie, gold jewelry, Florentine mosaic, lace, marbled paper items, antiques and fine art. Dining: Savor the prosciutto, pecorino cheese and infinite variety of breads, cakes and salamis.
Head out of town and discover the five stunning, colorful towns clinging to the cliffs along the coast. Hike along the trail connecting them or take a boat tour and see them from the water as ancient seafarers did. Go ashore and explore a picturesque town and its castle. Or visit intriguing Portovenere, another colorful town rising above one end of La Spezia’s harbor with breathtaking views and the lovely Church of San Pietro.
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.
Dockside La Joliette is home to the ornate, 19th-century Cathédrale La Major, plus the sleek Musée des Civilisations, with statuary and paintings showcasing Mediterranean history. International fashion brands populate Les Terrasses du Port shopping mall, while trendy bars and brasseries line the streets in the evolving Euroméditerranée business district. Ferries for Corsica and Algeria depart from Quai du Maroc.
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.
The City of Arts and Sciences is an impressive collection of attractions, including an opera house and performing arts center, IMAX cinema, planetarium, science museum and oceanographic park. Visit the Gothic city of Requena, featuring perfectly preserved 100-year-old wine cellars. In Lladró’s City of Porcelain museum, explore the production facilities, or nearby visit the National Ceramics Museum, located in the former palace of nobility.
Lying on Spain’s radiant Costa Blanca, Alicante exudes a rare beauty. Lovely Baroque buildings cluster around the historic central district. Marble plazas grace its broad waterfront boulevard, the illustrious Explanada de España. Pristine beaches like San Juan hug the shoreline. It’s no surprise that Alicante is popular year-round. Venture to the grand Castle of Santa Barbara overlooking the city and walk from its high towers down into the dungeon. Stop for a glass of refreshing sangria in the Old Quarter. Behold the masterpieces hanging in the Gravina Museum of Fine Arts, a former 18th century palace.
Explore this beautiful island beginning with the magnificent Seo Cathedral and Bellver Castle. See the windmills and impressive manor house in the verdant countryside. Discover the amazing natural wonders in the Drach Caves. And for romance, visit the former Carthusian monastery in Valldemosa, where George Sand and Chopin spent a winter.
Discover the myriad of cultural layers of Malta, from its amazing prehistoric temples at Tarxien to beautiful walled medieval Mdina, nearby Rabat, and Marsaxlokk, a colorful fishing village. Admire the stunning scenery and wander through imposing churches and down the streets of fortified towns where the Knights of St. John once held sway.