Eric Ross & William Gordon Wineries
2019 Mediterranean 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.
Umbria (Ancona), Italy
Set picturesquely above the Adriatic Sea, Ancona has only recently been discovered by tourists. Although founded in the 4th century B.C., the city still retains several ancient monuments and buildings from its colorful past. The city not only serves as a busy seaport, offering regular ferry service to Croatia and Greece, but it is also widely known for its production of accordions, electric organs and guitars. Stroll through town and discover the pleasures of its spacious squares, churches and historic sights, not to mention white sand beaches that surround it. Or travel through the scenic countryside to beautiful Urbino, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and birthplace of Raphael, and visit the magnificent Palazzo Ducale, designed by renaissance masters.
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.
Tirana (Durres), Albania
Let the history of Durres come alive where gladiators fought at the Roman amphitheater in front of as many as 20,000 spectators, which was erected during the reign of Hadrian in the 2nd century A.D. and only rediscovered in the 1960's. Or delve into Albania's tumultuous past at the National Historical Museum in Tirana, the country's largest museum, where thousands of objects date to the Paleolithic era.
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.
Messina (Sicily), Ital
Explore lovely medieval Messina with its historic churches and the cathedral where it is rumored Richard the Lionheart worshippd in 1190. Visit beautiful Taormina and marvel at its famous Greek theater and stunning view of Mt. Etna or discover ancient Tyndaris, founded in 396 B.C., with its fine mosaics, Roman baths and impressive theater overlooking the sea.
Mount Vesuvius is about six miles east of Naples, a short distance from the shore. It creates a beautiful landscape wit the bay and Naples tucked below. Vesuvius is best known for the eruption in AD79 that lead to the destruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum and the death of as many as 25,000 people. At this excavation site, a flourishing civilization, buried in volcanic ash has been brought to life again through its temples, monuments mosaics and local artisans, giving you a glimpse into the lives of its former residents.
Be sure to allow yourself free time in Naples for people-watching, shopping or lunch at a cafe. You may wish to try a slice of pizza; after all it was invented in Naples!
Perched on a promontory between Rome and Naples, gorgeous Gaeta has been a popular seaside resort for centuries and has also served as both an ancient and modern naval port. The skyline is dominated by a massive castle of uncertain origins, perhaps dating to the sixth century. A climb up Monte Orlando takes you to the mausoleum of Roman senator Lucius Munatius Plancus, which dates to the first century BC. Here you can gaze down upon Serapo Beach, where you might relax on the fine sands next to crystalline waters upon your descent. Gaeta has attained world recognition for its olive production, you can find the deep burgundy-colored olives used fresh or in the production of oil in the outdoor markets.
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