2019 Mediterranean Wine Cruise
Ports of Call
Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia as well as Spain’s second largest city. Dominated by Montjuic, Vallvidrera and the Tibidabo Hills, sophisticated Barcelona is rich in ancient and modern architectural and artistic treasures. Many talented artists, sculptors and architects lived here, including Picasso, Miró, Mares and Barcelona’s best-known architect, Antonio Gaudí.
Barcelona’s beginnings as a major port can be found already in Roman times. However, the most significant period was during the Middle Ages when the city's wealth equaled that of the whole Catalunya province. Splendid buildings from the Middle Ages and a unique ambiance still make Barcelona one of the most attractive cities in Europe, drawing scores of visitors to see and enjoy the sights. In addition to its medieval setting and narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter, there are magnificent avenues through the modern part of the city, which are particularly noted for their landmark buildings of Gaudí’s design.
Lying on a natural harbor on the French Riviera, Toulon is France's principal naval base, and the waterfront is always full of life. Designed around stately fountains and small squares, the Old city is tucked between the harbor and boulevard de Strasbourg, and its Cathedrale Saint-Marie-Majeure is noteworthy for its Romanesque architecture. The city is also rich in history, much of it on display in the marine museum and the Museum of Toulon, celebrated for its Provencal paintings. For the ultimate view of Toulon, ride the cable car to Mount Faron.
Cannes was founded in the 2nd century BC by a Ligurian tribe, and was subsequently colonized by the Romans in 154 AD. During the town's entire history it went through a period of upheaval and desolation by war. In 1834, Lord Brougham, an English aristocrat, was so enchanted by Cannes that he decided to settle there. This marked the beginning of the town's affluence, with luxury residences springing up to provide winter accommodations for international nobility. From 1930 onward, Cannes became a summer resort. Its local economy had traditionally relied on fishing, but was quickly replaced by tourism. Today, Cannes is best known for its world famous film festival and, for two weeks in May each year, attracts the brightest and most talented stars of the silver screen.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
The independent principality of Monaco is famous as the playground of the Côte d’Azur. With nice beaches, elegant hotels and a vibrant nightlife, this tiny domain is a favorite haunt of the jet set. In the possession of the Grimaldi family for more than 700 years, a treaty with France guarantees Monaco’s independence as long as the principality is governed by the Grimaldis.
The fashionable enclave numbers only about 32,000 inhabitants and is smaller than New York’s Central Park, but it boasts some of the most expensive real estate in the world. In addition to its luxury hotels and beautiful beaches, Monaco is noted for its mild climate and magnificent scenery. Once an exclusive wintering stop for Europe’s aristocracy, today there are more than five million visitors annually. Of the principality’s four sections - La Condamine, Fontvieille, Monaco-Ville and Monte Carlo, the latter two rank highest on every visitor’s must-see list.
Florence / Pisa / Tuscany, Italy
Livorno is Italy’s second largest port after Genoa. It also serves as a gateway to the Tuscany region and the great cultural centers of Florence, Lucca, Pisa and Siena. Tuscany delights visitors with its picturesque small towns and classic landscapes. The gently rounded hills, accented by clumps of slender cypresses, have been immortalized in numerous paintings. Lush vineyards are the source of the famous dry, dark-red Chianti wines.
From this part of Italy the national language evolved with Dante and other great Tuscan writers of his period. Even more important is the impact this area had on the culture of the rest of Italy and Europe, adding immense wealth to the architectural and artistic heritage. The Italian Renaissance, with its most active center in Florence, lasted from the 1400s to the 1700s. Its greatest support came from the all-powerful Medici family who commissioned Italy’s most talented painters, sculptors and architects to create some of the most outstanding works of art. Names such as Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Giotto, Vasari, Botticelli, da Vinci and Donatello come to mind, all of whom worked and lived in Florence at some time in their lives.
Sprawled across seven legendary hills, romantic and beautiful Rome was one of the great centers of the ancient world. Although its beginning is shrouded in legend and its development is full of intrigue and struggle, Rome has always been and remains the “Eternal City.” Its greatest splendor was experienced during the 1st and 2nd centuries when art flourished, monumental works of architecture were erected, and the mighty Roman legions swept outward, conquering much of the known world.
Today’s Rome, with its splendid churches, ancient monuments and palaces, spacious parks, tree-lined boulevards, fountains, outdoor cafés and elegant shops, is one of the world’s most attractive and exciting cities. Among the most famous monuments is the Coliseum. As you walk its cool, dark passageways, imagine the voices that once filled the arena as 50,000 spectators watched combat between muscled gladiators and ferocious animals. Stop to see the remains of the Forum, once the city’s political and commercial center. In later times, Rome’s squares were enhanced with such imposing structures as the Vittorio Emanuele Monument, the monumental Trevi fountain and Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers, to name just a few.
Amalfi / Positano, Italy
Located roughly between Salerno and Sorrento, Amalfi was already an important maritime republic in the Middle Ages. In fact, the Amalfi Tables represent the oldest maritime code in the world, which were observed throughout the Mediterranean until the late 16th century.Today, Amalfi is one of the most popular resorts and stopovers along the famed Amalfi Drive, Italy's celebrated corniche that hugs the mountainous coast and carves its way through sheer rock. Opulent villas, cloaked in brilliantly colored bougainvillea, hide behind high walls and wrought-iron gates. Waves pound against the steep shoreline and tortuous bends challenge a steady stream of tourist vehicles. Around
every hairpin turn spectacular scenery awaits.
Taormina (Sicily), Italy
Snow-capped Mt. Etna looms in the distance, while terraces overlook the dramatic coastline. The winding medieval streets of the storybook village of Taormina may lead you into quiet gardens or inviting squares lined with trattorias and shops. Nestled some 660 feet or so above the sparkling sea, this beguiling town has attracted a varied group of visitors, from Ovid to Goethe to D.H. Lawrence, Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote. Film stars wooed by Taormina’s charms include Marlene Dietrich, Rita Hayworth, Burton and Taylor, Cary Grant, Sophia Loren, even the elusive Garbo. Far earlier, Greeks and Romans left their marks, still visible today in the ruins of temples, fortresses and amphitheaters.
Shaped like a scythe, the island of Corfu is considered one of the Mediterranean's best-kept secrets. Its lush interior is covered in cypress and olive trees while the main downtown area has elegant Venetian architecture and a serene atmosphere. Strategically important due to its location, this island has managed to maintain its uniqueness despite numerous invasions by outside forces. Today, the culture of Corfu reflects its turbulent past as well as its origins
Located along one of Montenegro's most beautiful bays is Kotor, a city of traders and famous sailors, with many stories to tell. The Old City of Kotor is a well-preserved urbanization typical of the Middle Ages, built between the 12th and 14th century. Medieval architecture and numerous monuments of cultural heritage have made Kotor an UNESCO listed “World Natural and Historical Heritage Site". Through the entire city the buildings are criss-crossed with narrow streets and squares. At one of them there is the Cathedral of Sveti Tripun , a monument of Roman culture and one of the most recognizable symbols of the city. The Church of Sveti Luka (13th century), Church Sveta Ana (12th century) Church Sveta Marija (13th century), Church Gospe od Zdravlja (15th century), the Prince’s Palace (17th century) and the Napoleon Theatre (19th century) are all treasures that are part of the rich heritage of Kotor.