2018 Mediterranean Wine Cruise
Oceania Cruises' Riviera
Ports of Call
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
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.
Cinque Terre (La Spezia), Italy
A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cinque Terre is a string of centuries-old seaside villages on the rugged Italian Riviera coastline. In each of the five towns, colorful houses and vineyards cling to steep terraces, harbors are filled with fishing boats and trattorias turn out seafood specialties along with the Liguria region's famous sauce, pesto. The Sentiero Azzurro hiking trail links the villages and offers sweeping sea vistas.
La Spezia is the gateway to Cinque Terre. Steep cliffs, dense pine woods, romantic coves and exceptional beaches, along with picturesque villages perched atop the bluffs, striking the visitor's eye with all their beauty. La Spezia also has some very interesting attractions, such as the Archaeological Museum.
Calvi (Corisca), France
Beautiful Calvi on the island of Corsica is a beach town with a medieval past. Basking between the fiery orange bastions of its 15th-century citadel and the glittering waters of a moon-shaped bay, Calvi feels closer to the chichi sophistication of a French Riviera resort than a historic Corsican port! Stroll through the village and enjoy a caf
é meal adjacent to the distinctive
Église Sainte-Marie, a historic pink church. Or traverse the cobblestones a bit further to see the stunning view from the citadel, overlooking the bay. On the way, be sure to keep an eye out for a plaque indicating the home that is said to e Christopher Columbus's birthplace.
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.
Nestled between Cannes and Nice on the French Riviera (Côte d'Azur), Antibes is a resort town known for its Old town enclosed by 16th-century ramparts with the star-shaped Fort Carré, with its 360-degree panoramic views. Today Antibes is famous as one of the Mediterranean's premier luxury harbors, where sleek white, multi-million dollar mega yachts bob in the sheltered harbor. Blessed with a mild climate and flourishing vegetation, Antibes also has an important commercial flower-growing industry that includes roses, carnations and other blooms. Be sure to visit the renowned Musée Picasso housed in the Chateau Grimaldi, an impressive stone castle with views of the sea. The museum offers a unique insight into the work produced by Picasso and also has an extensive collection of contemporary art.
Marseilles (Provence), France
Marseille is a vibrant, cosmopolitan port and the most populated city in the country after Paris. The craggy, mountainous interland of the Provence provides Marseille with a spectacular backdrop. It is the country's most important seaport and the largest one in the Mediterranean. The city is divided into 16 arrondissements fanning out from the Old Port. The large industrial port area virtually rubs shoulders with the intimate, picturesque old harbor, the Vieux Port. Packed with fishing boats and pleasure crafts, this is the heart of Marseille. Two fortresses guard the entrance to the harbor.
Several vantage points offer spectacular views, including the striking Basilica Notre Dame de la Garde. This prominent landmark, overlooking the city, is crowned by a monumental gilded statue of the Virgin Mary. Marseille boasts numerous fine museums that are well worth a visit. Relaxing at one of the many outside cafés or strolling through the Old Port area allows you to enjoy the unpretentious charm of this city.
Located on the Costa Brava, in Catalonia Spain the town is particularly popular for its splendid beaches, and loved for its unique location: it is the only beach resort facing west, which mean tourists and locals alike get to enjoy fantastic sunsets across the Gulf of Roses. Roses used to be a Greek colony, centuries before Christ. Greeks came from the island of Rhodes in 776 BC, tempted by the peaceful waters of Roses' natural harbour. Today you can still see the remains of this Greek city and those of the Roman town. In fact La Ciutadella (The Citadel) contains these remains and others that relate to the various occupations, which have spanned the last 13 centuries.
Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Palma de Mallorca, a major port city on the island of Mallorca and the capital of Spain's Balearic Islands, is a delightful cross between the Arabian Nights and the Renaissance, reflecting its checkered past of African and European control. It is the largest city on Mallorca, home to about 300,000 people -- a big, bustling place, with most of the tourist action in the old part of town around the Cathedral. The architecture of this ancient Mediterranean port blends Gothic, Moorish and Renaissance styles. Palma's winding streets make way to grand churches, yacht harbors, beaches, fountains and old castles. Because there is so much history, so close together, it's a perfect port to explore on foot. The snaky, narrow streets hold many surprises -- including the occasional dead end (beware of the passages around the Cathedral … you truly cannot get from here to there!).
This sun-kissed port is also an outdoors city in-season, with much pedestrian traffic and the opportunity to eat or relax outside in a myriad of settings -- some free (parks and boulevards), and some in conjunction with visits to museums and historical sites (always look for interior courtyards, extra features of older buildings). For sun worshippers, the beaches are close by and the water is wonderfully clear.
Spain’s third-largest city is a mixture of old and new with a magical old quarter, a futuristic City of Arts and Sciences and wide sandy beaches.
With dynamic museums, a flourishing restaurant scene, lively nightlife, great shops and miles of beach, Valencia is bursting with Mediterranean exuberance. Influences now range from Moorish to modern, yet some things in Valencia, like a perfect pan of paella,remain thankfully unchanged.
If you want a taste of all Valencia has to offer - the fresh seafood, mountain herbs, field-grown grains - you've got to try the local paella. Although there are many varieties of this rice dish, the Valencian paella is usually made with only the freshest ingredients in a cast-iron pan over a wood fire. Satisfy your thirst with a taste of horchata, a popular tiger nut drink found at any of the local bars surrounding the cathedrals. Rice dishes are a sought after main course at the Malvarrosa Beach restaurants, particularly La Rosa
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.