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The great Roman Empire may be long gone but Italy continues to be a country with many riches. Impressive architecture, mostly World Heritage Sites, that has survived centuries can be found in almost all its cities and towns. Italy was also at the heart of the Renaissance, the golden age of culture that saw the rise of Italy’s greatest artists, such as Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli, and their works alone draw millions of tourists each year. Today, contemporary designers like Armani, Gucci, Ferragamo continue to do the country proud. Of course, Mother Nature herself has also been generous to Italy. Azure waters, snow-capped mountains, endless beaches and sprawling vineyards simply make it so easy to fall in love with Italy.
A principal harbor for over two thousand years, Bari is a charming city on the Adriatic coast. The old town, Barivecchia, is cherished for its medieval characteristics and buildings. As one of Southern Italy's more prosperous cities, Bari offers a wealth of shopping and dining options. It would be appropriate to do some gift shopping while in town. Bari is home to the bones of Saint Nicholas.
For centuries, Genoa has been a major commercial seaport. Today, it is one of Italy's largest cities. Located in northwestern Italy, in the inner harbour of the Gulf of Genoa, this city was once home to Christopher Columbus and world-renowned violinist Niccolò Paganini.
Within the city's medieval walls you can wander the caruggi (alleys) where the wealthy Genovese lived and guilds set up shop. The alleys are still home to specialty shops, Baroque and Romanesque churches and 500-year-old apartment buildings.
Between the water and the inland hills, La Spezia is one of the major harbours of Italy. Anyone with an interest in naval history will enjoy strolling along the inviting seafront and visiting the exhibits of the Museo Tecnico Navale. Walk the city’s pedestrian-friendly streets and take in sights such as the historical gardens with their dazzling array of colors. La Spezia also boasts outstanding works in the Museo Amedeo Lia, featuring medieval and Renaissance art.
Livorno, in the Tuscan region of Italy, is ideally located for exploring some of the most beautiful cities in Italy, including Florence and Pisa.
History and the sea have made Livorno one of the most unique cities in Italy and certainly the most open. Livorno is a port city, and has always been an oasis of tolerance for all those persecuted for their religion, politics or race, who have enriched the city with a wide range of cultures and customs. Its names, buildings and dishes still show traces of its role as crossroads of the Mediterranean.
Just three miles off the coast of southern Italy's mainland is the port town of Messina on the island of Sicily. This bustling town has a complex history with roots in Greek mythology but, because of an earthquake in the early 1900s, it's a relatively young city architecturally. Since the majority of the city has been rebuilt or refurbished within the last 100 years, you'll find the town has an interesting blend of new architecture and old styles.
In the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, Naples features architectural delights and one of the world’s most important archaeological museums, The Museo Archeologico Nazionale. Naples is not only picturesque, it's also one of the world's greatest cultural centers, filled with extraordinary works of art and architecture in the classical Greek and Roman styles. Several interesting tours are available of the city itself and the fascinating places that lie just outside of Naples. Visit the ancient city of Pompeii or hop across the fabulous Isle of Capri to take in the breathtaking views from the mountaintop.
Located on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea, Salerno neighbors Italy's cherished Amalfi Coast. One of the larger cities in the area, Salerno is a lively modern center with a charming medieval sector at its heart. Set out from Salerno to visit the Amalfi Coast. Or stay and explore the city's long and eventful history before enjoying a leisurely stroll along Salerno's stunning Lungomare Trieste (seafront promenade), which rivals those of the French Riviera.
Located on a wide bay beneath the shadow of Mount Pellegrino, Palermo is brimming with modern day treasures, fine baroque buildings and elegant stores.
Marvel at the impressive Norman architecture that made the city famous, or discover the Massimo Opera House, Quattrao Canti , and Cathedral.
Pisa, a city in Tuscany, has become synonymous with the Leaning Tower, its most famous attraction. Truth is, Pisa is a treasure chest full of surprises, with more than 20 other historic churches, several palaces, and various bridges across the Arno River. Discover the bright Lungarni quays walled by noble buildings, or explore its web of narrow, medieval alleys leading to the famous Piazza dei Miracoli. The birthplace of Galileo Galilei, who challenged the then worldview that the Earth was the centre of the universe - Pisa continues his legacy as an important university city with a lively student lifestyle.
Portofino is an ancient marina long considered the Mediterranean’s most glamorous, a holiday destination of the rich and famous since the mid 1900’s. Designer stores display everything from children’s wear, ladies’ handbags, jewelry and leather goods, to the very latest in couture. The sea is so clear, you can watch small fish dart about the anchors as you dine at one of the many harbourside restaurants and cafes. Known as the "Pearl of the Riviera," it's hard to image a more captivating place than the cliff-lined cove of Portofino.
Simply sit back and enjoy the town's unadulterated beauty and unique charm.
Both beautiful and historical, Ravenna is not only a destination in and of itself, but also the gateway to Bologna and San Marino. Once the capital of the Roman Empire, it's hard to miss the influences of Eastern Europe found in its precious marbles and rich mosaics.
The port of Civitavecchia is your gateway to discover the full magnificence of the ancient city of Rome. Whether it's the Forum, the Sistine Chapel, the Pantheon or St. Peter's Basilica that sparks your interest and intellect, Rome is home to a thousands of years’ worth of historical, architectural and spiritual sites. Depending on traffic, the drive from Civitavecchia to Rome takes approximately an hour and a half.
The second largest island in the Mediterranean, Sardinia has an unspoiled coastline, surrounded by gorgeous blue waters and sandy white beachesand thousands of prehistoric features that lend a magical feel to this isle. Sardinian towns are often farther inland, leaving many beaches unspoiled and perfect for catching rays or scuba diving in amazing underwater caves.
Cagliari is one of the island's liveliest cities, and just happens to be a port of call. This city offers the best of everything: colourful festivals, architectural wonders, historic monuments, tranquil lagoons, and one of the longest beaches in the Mediterranean.
The port of Alghero is another major holiday destination in Sardinia.
Its lush harbour is adorned with olive and eucalyptus trees as well as umbrella pines.
Found on Italy's famed Amalfi Coast, the city of Sorrento is set atop some of the Mediterranean's most breathtaking cliffs. Close to Pompeii and a short boat ride to the must-see Isle of Capri, this quaint city will no doubt leave you wanting to return.
With endlessly winding medieval streets and secluded gardens hidden by stone walls, Taormina enchants visitors with its history and beauty. Old Taormina features archeological monuments and medieval homes like Palazzo Santo Stefano, along with magnificent views of the sea and the Greco-Roman amphitheatre, one of Sicily's largest. Dine on sumptuous seafood in the many quaint restaurants and shop for native crafts in the city's numerous shops.
One of the world's most beautiful and unusual cities, Venice is actually made up of over 120 islands in the Adriatic Sea. Because the city is connected by canals instead of streets, a good way to see Venice is on a romantic gondola ride. Established more than 1,000 years ago by seafarers and Roman refugees, this magnificent city continues to be the heart of Italian culture as well as a mecca for hopeless romantics. Take a walking tour through the quaint cobblestone streets and across the endless Venetian bridges to discover the intimate details that make Venice so unique. Soak up the lively atmosphere of St. Mark's Square. Roam the fascinating rooms of the Doge's Palace - and don't miss the view of the Bridge of Sighs. Stroll the cobblestoned "sestieri" of this magnificent floating city and discover its hidden treasures on your own.