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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.
Backed by hills of olive groves and vineyards, this historic port is a gateway to medieval Old Towns, seaside resorts and picturesque coastal villages. Travel through scenic countryside to Slovenia’s stylish capital of Ljubljana.
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.
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.
Carrara is a city and comune in Tuscany, in central Italy, of the province of Massa and Carrara, and notable for the white or blue-grey marble quarried there. It is on the Carrione River, some 100 kilometres west-northwest of Florence. Its motto is Fortitudo mea in rota.
Although originally called ‘Nakaia’, France’s Nice is as delightful as its name suggests to English speakers. Take a bus or taxi into Nice’s Old City to explore its history-spanning architecture and pristine French Riviera beaches with your Nice cruise. Or stick closer to Villefranche-sur-Mer, where your ship will dock, and take a day-trip to the mountaintop town of Eze. No matter how you spend your time in the de facto hub of France’s Cote d’Azur, you’ll enjoy the added benefit of being close to Italy, which means delectable pizza, fragrant espresso and the sounds of a second Romance language.
It’s easy to see why Barcelona is the most-visited city in Spain. As the capital of the country’s Catalonia region, this cityscape’s cultural mosaic pieces together a 2,000-year-old hodge-podge of sun-drenched beaches, cutting edge architecture and a world-renowned dining and drinking scene. Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí left his modernist handprint all over the city, while medieval treasures linger in historic Gothic Quarter squares. Get lost in the whimsical gardens of Park Güell or savour a chef-led Catalan cooking class. Browse art collections dedicated to Picasso and Miro – or ride a cable car to the top of Montjuïc Hill, relishing citywide views along the way.
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