Civitavecchia is the port city for Rome. Rome has always been and remains the Eternal City. With its splendid churches, ancient monuments and palaces, spacious parks, tree-lined boulevards, fountains, outdoor cafés and elegant shops, Rome is one of the world’s most attractive cities. Among the most famous monuments is the Colosseum where spectators watched combats between muscled gladiators and ferocious animals. Stop to see the remains of the Forum, once a political and commercial center. Rome’s squares were enhanced with such imposing structures as the Vittorio Emanuele Monument and grandiose fountains like the Fontana di Trevi. Awe at Christendom’s most magnificent church, the Sistine Chapel. The busy square Piazza Venezia is easily recognized by its imposing Vittorio Emanuele II Monument. Take a stroll to Rome's famous Trevi Fountain. Vatican City is the site of lovely St. Peter's Square and St. Peter's Basilica, where for 200 years, Renaissance masters worked on its design and created an unparalleled masterpiece. Visit Vatican Museum.
Situated on the western shore of the Strait bearing its name, the port at the entrance to Sicily is one of the deepest and safest in the Mediterranean. The city's was rebuilt low buildings to minimize the danger of earthquakes. This gives the center a pleasant, open townscape combining sea, sky and hills. Train-ferries, car-ferries and hydrofoils make the connection across the Strait of Messina to Reggio Calabria on the Italian mainland. Among the main attractions is the Norman-Romanesque cathedral, with an adjoining bell tower. The works of Renaissance painter Antonello da Messina and two large Caravaggios can be seen at the Museo Regionale - which features an interesting collection of material salvaged after the 1908 earthquake. From Messina, excursions are possible to Taormina, Mount Etna and across the Strait to mainland Italy.
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Santorini is everything that has made the Greek islands legendary. The world famous island of Santorini is the southern most island of the Cycladic group in the Aegean Sea, and is located north of Crete. Its population is distributed among thirteen villages and just exceeds nine thousand. The marvelous dry climate and unbroken sunshine create year around conditions which are perfect for observation, photographs and videos under an extraordinary variety of natural lights and colors.
Piraeus is the seaport for Athens, the capital of western civilization, which boasts a fantastic mix of classical ruins and vivacious modern life. Climb the hill of Acropolis to wonder at the Parthenon, join the lively Athenians in Constitution Square, and find a welcoming taverna for spirited bizouki music, plenty of ouzo to drink, and energetic Greek dancing. Piraeus is the largest harbor in the country. The white chapel of St. George at its summit has a theater bearing the same name. The hill of Nymphs is the site of a planetarium, which is located above magnificent Thesseio temple. Among all of these hills, Acropolis is the one that glorified Athens and the whole Greek world and became the symbol of the western civilization. Bays and small rocky or sandy coves dot the area and during the summer are filled with Athenians and foreigners enjoying their beauty.
Mykonos's many captivating attributes make it one of the most celebrated Greek holiday islands. Its main village is a colorful maze of narrow streets lined with white-washed houses, many with bright blue doors and shutters. As an attractive backdrop, famous windmills are lined up like toy soldiers on the hillside, vestiges of a time when wind power was used to grind grain. Mykonos has churches and chapels scattered about the island; quite a number of them are located right in town. Radiant flowers spill over white-washed walls and shady courtyards. In addition to swimming, sunning, water-skiing and surfing, visitors find endless shopping opportunities. Artists have relied on Mykonos' beautiful setting to inspire them. The most photographed site is the Paraportiani, a cluster of white-washed churches resting below windmills. Mykonos's museums include an Archaeological Museum, which houses relics from the Trojan War, a Folk Art Museum and a Maritime Museum. The best beaches are Aghios Stephanos, Psarou, Kalafatis, Onros, Panormos and Elia.
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From Naples visitors can explore the rugged Amalfi coast, Italy's most romantic stretch of coastline. Near Amalfi is the resort of Positano, where visitors enjoy strolling through streets and shopping in small boutiques. Take an excursion to legendary Pompeii, an ancient Roman city covered and preserved by the debris from the violent eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The monuments of this city are considered to be among the finest of any ancient city in Europe, and visitors can spend a day here learning about life in a Roman town during the first century A.D. The Cathedral of San Gennaro, a fine medieval building, has one chapel containing the tomb of Charles of Anjou, while another houses the cathedral's gold and silver treasure. Among the Christian underground burial vaults discovered in an area of suburban heights, the Catacombs of San Gennaro can be visited. Capodimonte Park - a well-kept tropical park - has a royal palace built by Charles III in 1738 that now houses Naples' picture gallery, the National Museum of Capodimonte.
Lying inside the protected Gulf of Olbia in the northeast of Sardinia, the town with the same name sits by the sea. This quaint seaside villiage was originally started as a Greek colony and was the scene of a Roman victory over the Carthaginians in 259 BC. Phoenician and Roman tombs are still in the area and the Pisan Romanesque Church of San Simplicio in the town is a site to behold.
Livorno serves as a convenient gateway to Tuscany - which is known for classic landscapes and lush vineyards. Visitors come to see great art centers of Florence, Lucca and Pisa - where names like Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Boticelli, da Vinci, Donatello and Dante come to mind. Pisa is known for its brilliant monuments, which include the 11th-century Cathedral, the Baptistery and the leaning Bell Tower. Lucca is one of the most handsome Romanesque cities in Europe. Its historic center features several fine old churches and lovely squares. Lucca is also known as home of composer Giacomo Puccini, whose birthplace is now a museum. Walking in the historic center, shopping in its elegant stores and enjoying a meal of renowned Tuscan cuisine are some highlights of this area. Downtown Livorno has a fine local market and a variety of fine shops and restaurants. Sights include the 14th-century Loggia della Signoria assembly hall in Florence; the Uffizi Gallery, which houses one of the world's famed museums and the Accademia best-known for Michelangelo's sculptures.
One visit to this sun-kissed stretch of the French Riviera is enough to explain why stars of the silver screen chose Cannes to host the world's most important film festival. The palm-fringed coastal boulevard hugs the curve of the beach, and is lined with luxury hotels and casinos. With Aérospatiale and Sophia-Antipolis, the leading European technical park, the future is being built here and experienced daily. Thanks to the International Film Festival, which each year attracts stars from all round the world, Cannes is the best known French town after Paris. Prestige and international expertise function together to meet business and leisure travel requirements which represent the major economic activity in Cannes. In the heart of this site of great natural beauty stands the 'Palais des Festivals' Congress Centre, equipped with all ultra-modern facilities, which has enabled Cannes to become one of the world's most important conference towns in the world.
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Barcelona, the self-confident and progressive capital of Spain, is a tremendous place to be. Though it boasts outstanding Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings, and some great museums – most notably those dedicated to Picasso and Catalan art – it is above all a place where there's enjoyment simply in walking the streets, stopping in at bars and cafés, drinking in the atmosphere. A thriving port and the most prosperous commercial centre in Spain, it has a sophistication and cultural dynamism way ahead of the rest of the country. In part this reflects the city's proximity to France, whose influence is apparent in the elegant boulevards and imaginative cooking. But Barcelona has also evolved an individual and eclectic cultural identity, most perfectly and eccentrically expressed in the architecture of Antoni Gaudí. Scattered as Barcelona's main sights may be, the greatest concentration of interest is around the old town (La Ciutat Vella). These cramped streets above the harbor are easily manageable, and far more enjoyable, on foot. Start, as everyone else does, with the Ramblas.
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