Elizabeth Spencer Winery
2019 Greece & Italy Wine Cruise
Ports of Call
Lord Byron called Venice (Venezia) "a fairy city of the heart." La Serenissima, "The Most Serene," is an improbable cityscape of stone palaces that seem to float on water, a place where cats nap in Oriental marble windowsills set in colorful plaster walls. Candy-stripe pylons stand sentry outside the tiny stone docks of palazzi whose front steps descend into the gently lapping waters of the canals that lace the city.
A whimsical stroll through the city can lead one to a hidden world of ornately decorated piazzas and shops. As you explore colorful marketplaces and busy town squares, marvel at a priceless legacy of Baroque architecture. Admire the richness of St. Mark's Basilica and the lavishness of the Palazzo Ducale. Getting lost in Venice can be a truly delightful experience. The place of dreams, this romantic city will live long in your memory.
Fronting the Adriatic Sea, this southern Croatia city is known for its distinctive Old Town, encircled with massive stone walls completed in the 16th century. Its well preserved building range from baroque St. Blaise Church to Renaissance Sponza Palace and Gothic Rector's Palace, now a history museum. Today, tourism is the most important industry in Dubrovnik and the proudest feather in Croatia's cap, an elite destination with one of the most beautiful towns in the Mediterranean. Adding to it's popularity in recent years, is its starring role in the HBO TV hit "Game of Thrones" where Old Town has stood in for fictional places in the TV series.
Mykonos is famed as a cosmopolitan destination among the Greek islands and widely recognized as one of the great travel meccas. In Greek mythology, the Mykonos was named after its first ruler, Mykonos, the son or grandson of the god Apollo and a local hero. The island is also said to have been the location of a great battle between Zeus and Titans and where Hercules killed the invincible giants having lured them from the protection of Mount Olympus.
Mykonos Town (Chora) is a stunningly picturesque Cycladic town with a maze of tiny streets and whitewashed steps lanes, houses and churches, gathered around its harbor in the middle of a wide bay. It is one of the most cosmopolitan and crowded towns of the Aegean. The streets are lined with little shops, boutiques, art galleries, cafes, stylish bars and restaurants.
Of all the Cyclades Islands, Santorini is often considered the most dramatic. Once an active volcano, in approximately 1620 BC, the volcano erupted with such force that the center of the island literally exploded, leaving a submerged crater. The island's small villages were preserved in the ashes giving a fascinating view of everyday life from 3,600 years ago. Santorini's landscape offsets its simple buildings, which shine in the brilliant sunlight. The rich volcanic soil is ideal for grapes and the local vines produce a crop known for its "special volcanic taste." Thíra, or Firá Town, is laid out along the edge of a cliff that forms a portion of the rim of the now extinct caldera. This picturesque site has a charm and atmosphere that can be attributed to the easy-going Greek lifestyle.
The pastel-colored houses inch their way up the foothills of Mount Kourmaros in this quaint town that offers a unique and authentic experience of small town life in Greece. Nearby, the medieval city of Mystras, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was founded in 1248 and abandoned in 1832, leaving impressive medieval ruins amid a breathtaking landscape. Discovered in 1958, the magnificent caves at Diros were used by prehistroic man between 4000 and 3000 BC.
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.
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.
Gateway to the Amalfi coast, Sorrento is a lovely town overlooking the Bay of Naples in Southern Italy. Ferries connect the town to Naples, Amalfi, Postiano and beautiful Capri, with its stunning panoramas, villages, charming piazzas and the Villa San Michele. Visit the ruins at Pompeii, take a cooking lesson in Sorrento or travel to the frenetic city of Naples and learn to make pizzas, as the Neapolitans do.
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.