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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.
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.
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.
Situated on the French Riviera, Toulon is more about small-town charm and natural beauty than glitz and glamour. As you pull into the city’s huge natural harbour, you’ll see towering Mont Faron – after you dock, take the six-minute cable car ride to the summit, where you’ll be greeted to sweeping views of the Mediterranean and the city below. Cruise to Provence to stroll down the Cours Lafayette and take in the smells of oregano, thyme and freshly baked pastries from the local street vendors. Then, explore the city’s naval heritage – it’s been the French Navy’s base for over 500 years – at the Musee de la Marine, or take a boat tour of the Rade de Toulon, the city’s military harbour.
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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