The Mediterranean and Adriatic delight in many ways. Dazzling medieval fortress towns sit on Adriatic shores, while Montenegro’s lesser-known gem sits tucked away in fjord. Discover the remarkable beauty of the “divine coast” in Italy, as well as the distinctive rock formations of the Lipari Islands. Relax on Hvar’s beaches and marvel at Mt. Etna’s legendary peak.
Following your journey into the city, a panoramic drive takes you past the Coliseum, Piazza Venezia, the Roman Forum, Circus Maximus, St. Angelo Castle, and Via Veneto. Upon arrival at St. Peter’s Square, you will have approximately four hours before meeting your guide at the appointed time and place to begin the 90-minute return transfer to the ship.
After tendering ashore, board the local shuttle to the uptown meeting point where your coach will be waiting. A drive of approximately 45-60 minutes takes you to the excavated town of Pompeii. En route, you may be able to catch a glimpse of Mount Vesuvius.
Upon arrival in Pompeii, your guided walking tour begins through the ancient streets, providing a unique opportunity to learn about the historical events and the tragic end of the city’s 20,000 people. The catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. surprised the population of this prosperous provincial capital and resort town, burying it under 20 feet (6 metres) of ash and pumice stone, yet preserving an entire city.
See the mansions and artwork of the wealthy residents who moved to Pompeii to escape the turmoil of Ancient Rome. On display are numerous paintings and inscriptions, including notices about wine sales, apartment vacancies, upcoming events, political announcements, and even personal love notes. In addition to several homes, highlights also include the Forum, open and covered theatres, and the Stabian Baths. The pathways are endless and the buildings fascinating. Some of the mansions still retain their original marble decorations, well-preserved frescoes and splendid mosaics. Following your visit to this amazing site, return to the coach parking area and re-board your coach for the drive back to Sorrento.
Upon arrival at the bus terminal, change to the local shuttle bus for the ride down to the harbour, or remain in the main centre for individual exploration and return to the ship on a later shuttle (time permitting).
Upon arrival, board your coach and travel up the promontory to the small village of Ravello, which is perched on a 350-foot-high cliff overlooking the Gulf of Naples. Begin your visit at Villa Rufolo, a palatial Moorish-style estate that was originally built in the 1270 for the Rufolo family, and the garden that inspired German composer Richard Wagner to write the second act of his final opera, Parsifal.
Following your visit to the villa, enjoy some free time to explore this lovely village and visit the ornate Cathedral, founded in 1086, which contains two medieval pulpits, Roman sarcophagi and paintings by southern Renaissance artist Andrea da Salerno.
Board your coach and return to Amalfi, where upon arrival your guide will escort you on a walking tour of the heart of Amalfi, including a visit to the Cathedral and its cloister before returning to the ship.
This introduction to Lipari provides a good overview of the island and the town. With a history of settlements as early as 4000 B.C., the island is of great archaeological interest. However, Lipari is also renowned for its scenic beauty, clear waters, pumice stone quarries and the unique attraction of obsidian streams.
Lipari Island Tour
After tendering ashore, depart for a leisurely walk of approximately 20-30 minutes along Lipari’s main street to reach the coach parking area, then begin your guided sightseeing drive around the island. Along the way, stops are made at the most panoramic viewpoints to take in magnificent vistas of some of the other islands of the archipelago, including Vulcano, Salina and Panarea. Witness the immense stretches of clean, sparkling sea, jagged coastlines and a pallet of colour that includes lush green vegetation, black, red and grey volcanoes, and yellow rocks and beaches. Other viewpoints encountered during your drive offer splendid vistas of the other Eolian Islands on a clear day.
Lipari Town and Archaeological Museum
Next, proceed to the castle area for a guided walking tour. Built by the Spaniards in 1500, this fortification features massive ramparts that enclose the Cathedral and Archaeological Museum. After walking up to the Castello, your tour commences with an exterior visit to St. Bartolomeo Church, then the archaeological area and Aeolian Museum. The museum is comprised of five sections; prehistoric, classical, epigraphic, minor islands and volcanological. Explore the most important areas, including a large collection of some of the most valuable relics excavated in the islands since 1946.
Following your visit, a brief walk takes you back to the pier, which is close to the main shopping area. Some time is made available for you to browse the shoppes before tendering back to the ship.
Depart the pier for the scenic, approximately 45-minute drive through the countryside, and past villages and almond groves en route to Noto. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Noto is the second-largest town in the province of Siracusa and the best example of Sicilian Baroque architecture on the island.
Originally settled in the 5th century B.C., Noto was destroyed by the Earthquake of 1693, and rebuilt on a grid plan according to the architectural theories of the 18th century. Handsome palaces, churches and other Baroque monuments line the streets, built from the local white limestone that has mellowed to a golden hue over time.
The town is built on terraces connected by monumental flights of steps. Its major buildings are located in three groups along the main street, Corso Vittorio Emanuele. The street widens in three places dominated by the expansive facades of Baroque-style churches.
Upon arrival, your guided walking tour of Noto begins at the Public Gardens. Admire the busts of artists who contributed to the town’s culture and style, then proceed for a visit to four of the town’s most impressive landmarks; the Church of St. Dominic, the Church of St. Charles, the Cathedral and the Ducezio Palace. Afterward, some time is made available to explore Noto at your leisure before re-boarding the coach for the approximately 30-minute drive back to the pier.
Indulge your senses with the exquisite beauty and flavours of the Konavle Valley during this delightful, half-day sightseeing excursion.
Adriatic Coast and Konavle Valley
Depart the pier for the short walk to the Ploce Gate. Upon arrival, board your coach for the scenic, approximately 45-minute drive along the Adriatic Coast, past the charming Zupa Dubrovaka with its many small villages and seaside resorts, and through the beautiful Konavle Valley.
Pridvorje Village and Karaman Winery Tour
Next, proceed to the small village of Pridvorje for a visit to the Karaman Winery, whose 2007 Malvasija won first-place among 63 international winemakers at Vinistra. Owner Niko Karaman greets your arrival, and escorts you on a guided walking tour through his vineyards. Along the way, learn about the growing and production processes, and importance of the Malvazija grape to the Dubrovnik Republic.
Following your guided tour, proceed for a wine tasting accompanied by local specialities. At the conclusion of your visit, re-board your coach for the approximately 45-minute drive back to the Ploce Gate. Upon arrival, commence the short walk back to the pier.
After tendering ashore, depart the pier for a scenic walking tour of Hvar. The longest of all the Croatian islands, Hvar Island is home to three towns. The largest of these, also named Hvar, served as an important harbour for Venice’s Adriatic fleet from the late-12th century through most of the 18th century. A thick-walled fortress overlooks the harbour, and offers splendid panoramic views of the surrounding area.
Cars are banned from Hvar Town. Its streets and people converge onto an expansive piazza, the largest in all of Dalmatia. The piazza connects the older part of town to the newer southern side, which was developed from the 15th century onwards.
Walking Tour of Hvar
During your guided walking tour, proceed along the promenade and up to the 16th-century Renaissance Cathedral. Your walking tour continues on to the dock, where sailboats and fishing boats bob and sway in the evening breeze. From here, walk back up to the square en route to the Cathedral of St. Stephen, which is adorned with a treasury and graceful, 17th-century bell tower; one of three bell towers rising above the tiled rooftops. Next, a visit is made to the very heart of the port to see the large Arsenal, which features a striking arched portal and houses Europe’s first community theatre, established in 1612.
Franciscan Monastery Visit and Concert
Your final stop is at the 15th-century Franciscan Monastery. Upon arrival, visit the impressive Renaissance Cloister, the old refectory housing a collection of lace, manuscripts and books, and the church, which is home to a remarkable collection of paintings. Your tour of the monastery concludes in the garden, where a local group of male singers serenade you a cappella. Refreshing drink and dried figs are served just prior to the beginning of the concert.
Following your walking tour, ample time is available to explore the town at your leisure before tendering back to the ship.
Scenic Drive to Ljubljana
Depart the pier for the scenic, 1.5-hour drive to Ljubljana. Upon arrival, embark a riverboat for a picturesque ride on the Ljubljana River, which is crossed by a series of picturesque bridges.
Ljubljana Walking Tour
Upon arrival, begin your guided walking tour of this historic city. Along the way, marvel at all five millenniums of Ljubljana’s history. Highlights include the remains of the Roman ‘Emona’, a glorious medieval castle, numerous old city squares with Baroque buildings boasting uneven rooftops, richly-decorated façades and portals, and the vast Tivoli Park, which extends to the city centre. From here, continue past the Triple Bridge, Prešeren Square, Open-Air Market, medieval Town Hall, Baroque-style Robba’s Fountain, and many other hidden architectural gems.
Following your walking tour, free time is made available for independent exploration, lunch and browsing the many market stalls and shops. At the conclusion of your visit, re-board your coach and commence the approximately 1.5-hour drive back to the pier.
Campo Santa Margherita
Depart on foot from the pier and walk along the Fondamenta di San Basilio to reach Campo Santa Margherita, lively animated during weekdays by fresh fruit stands and a small fish market in the morning. Because many visitors to Venice catch only a brief glimpse of what the city has to offer, this excursion features a number of additional sights that reveal what lies behind its glittering façade. In a short distance you will reach Campo San Rocco.
Campo San Rocco
Your walking tour continues on for an exterior visit to Campo San Rocco to view the church and Scuola Grande di San Rocco. Founded in 1478 under the protection of St. Roch, the Patron Saint of plague victims, this was one of the great charitable institutions of the Venetian Renaissance. The interior houses some of the most important Italian paintings created by Tintoretto.
Church of Santa Maria Gloriosa Dei Frari
Just a few steps away, an inside visit is made to the Franciscan friars’ Church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. This Gothic church is a stunning vestige of ancient Venetian glory, and contains masterpieces by Bellini and Titian. On Sundays, only an exterior viewing is possible.
Campo San Polo
Leaving the church, proceed to Campo San Polo, one of the largest squares in Venice and home to theatrical performances. Pass Campo San Tomá and the Goldoni House, where the famous 18th-century Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni was born. Today, it is a theatre and museum.
Next, continue through narrow pedestrian walkways to the Rialto Bridge. Originally built from wood in 1172 A.D., this is the largest and most famous of the four bridges that span the Grand Canal. As you cross, be sure to have your camera ready to take memorable photos from both the waterfront and the top of the bridge.
At a local café, enjoy refreshing juice or coffee and a Venetian biscuit while you soak up the delightful atmosphere of Campo San Giovanni & Paolo, followed by some free time to explore the area independently. Your guided tour ends here.
Greek Orthodox District
Along with your escort, meander through the winding streets and small courtyards of the old Greek Orthodox District or Riva degli Schiavoni
Following your tour, your tour escort directs you to the motor launch for the ride back to the ship.
Included in this cruise: