Adriatic Unearthed (Start Rome)
The Adriatic is hotter than hot right now, with these destinations being the top of explorer's lists all over the globe. Perfect for those wanting big sights, sun-filled days, lip smacking eats and old world charm
Classed as a world heritage treasure by UNESCO, Dubrovnik is a place of ancient streets lined with stone palaces, Venetian-style buildings and bell towers. The city is enclosed by stone walls, and the highlight is a leisurely walk atop these massive walls for a great view of the city and the sea. Entering Dubrovnik, you are greeted by an impressive pedestrian promenade, the Placa, which extends before you all the way to the clock tower at the other end of town. The Orlando Tower here is a favorite meeting place. Just inside the city walls near the Pile Gate is the Franciscan Monastery housing the third-oldest functioning pharmacy in Europe, operating since 1391. For a fantastic panorama of the city, take a cable car ride to the summit of the 1,340-foot Mount Srdj.
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.
Rome enjoyed its greatest splendor during the 1st and 2nd centuries when art
flourished, monumental works of architecture were erected, and the mighty Roman
legions swept outward, conquering all of Italy. These victorious armies then
swept across the Mediterranean and beyond to conquer most of the known world.
With Rome's establishment as capital of the western world, a new ascent to glory
Today's Rome, with its splendid churches, ancient monuments and palaces, spacious
parks, tree-lined boulevards, fountains, outdoor cafes and elegant shops, is
one of the world’s most attractive and exciting cities. Among the most famous
monuments is the Colosseum. As you walk its cool, dark passageways, imagine
the voices that once filled the arena as 50,000 spectators watched combats 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 and grandiose fountains like the Fontana di
Trevi. Join the millions who stand in awe of Christendom’s most magnificent
church and admire the timeless masterpieces of Michelangelo's frescoes in the
Rome jars the senses and captures the soul. Grasp all you can during the short,
precious time you have available in the Eternal City. With so much to see and
do, a day or two will only allow you a sampling of the city's marvelous treasures.
Caution: As in many big cities and tourist destinations purse snatching
and pickpocketing is common. Valuable jewelry and excess cash are best left
in a safety deposit box in your hotel.
Shopping For most visitors shopping for beautiful Italian leather articles,
designer shoes, fashions for men and women, linens, knitwear, silk scarves and
ties is a favorite pastime. Except for tourist-oriented shops, the majority
of stores are closed on Sundays. Some of the department stores, such as Rinascente,
open in the late afternoon on Sundays.
Cuisine Rome's choice of restaurants is mindboggling as is the variety
of cuisine. Whether your meal is at a top-rated restaurant or a rustic trattoria,
you can be sure that you will enjoy your food, especially when accompanied by
wines from the hill towns surrounding Rome.
Other Sights Rome's attractions are endless, and depending on how much
time you have at your disposal a careful selection has to be made about what
to see. Be aware of horrendous traffic conditions and major construction work
all around the city in preparation of Jubilee 2000, the Holy Year. Some of the
sights not to be missed:
Piazza Venezia - This busy square is easily recognized by its imposing Vittorio
Emanuele II Monument. The white marble structure was inaugurated in 1911 as
a symbol of Italy’s unification.
The Forum - Once the civic heart of ancient Rome, today the remains include
a series of ruins, marble fragments, isolated columns and some worn arches.
Colosseum - No visit to Rome is complete without a stop at this awe-inspiring
theater, which is among the world’s most celebrated buildings. Here ancient
Rome flocked to see gladiatorial contests and numerous other spectacles.
Trevi Fountain - Take a stroll to Rome's famous fountain. A spectacular fantasy
of mythical sea creatures and cascades of splashing water, the fountain is one
of the city's foremost attractions. Legend has it that visitors must toss a
coin into the fountain to ensure their return to Rome.
St. Peter's Square - Part of Vatican City, this square created by Bernini
is considered one of the loveliest squares in the world. Twin Doric colonnades
topped with statues of various saints and martyrs flank either side of the square.
In the center stands an 84-foot obelisk, brought from Egypt in 37 A.D.
St. Peter's Basilica - At the head of the square stands Christendom's most
magnificent church, which was begun in 1452 on the site where St. Peter was
buried. Throughout the following 200 years, such Renaissance masters as Bramante,
Michelangelo, Raphael and Bernini worked on its design and created an unparalleled
masterpiece. Of special note are Michelangelo's Pieta and the bronze canopy
over the high altar by Bernini. The immense dome was designed by Michelangelo.
Vatican Museum - To see this museum's immense collection would take days.
As you enter, there are special posters that plot a choice of four color-coded
itineraries. They are repeated throughout the museum and are easy to follow.
It is a good idea to pickup a leaflet at the main entrance and concentrate on
exhibits of major interest. Of course, the Sistine Chapel is a must. Most likely
you may have to wait in line to enter.
With a great historic past and incomparable art treasures, Venice is renowned as one of the world’s great cities. Its 118 islands are separated by more than 150 canals and spanned by 400 bridges. During Venice's artistic golden age many magnificent structures were erected to create world-famous masterpieces. One of the best sightseeing routes is along Grand Canal, with many palaces lining the famous waterway. St. Mark’s Square offers access to some of Venice’s most famed attractions - St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace. From Piazza San Marco, a maze of narrow streets are lined with shops, cafés and restaurants. A popular pastime is sitting at an outdoor café facing the square while people-watching and letting the whole marvelous scenario unfold. Venice’s Murano, Burano and Torcello Islands comprise an area famous as home of Venice’s glass-blowing industry and known for their charm, skilled lace-making and medieval monuments. Relax on a gondola ride, see art treasures in museums, churches and palaces, and have a sumptuous meal - all in this incomparable city.
The creative explosion of the Italian Renaissance happened right here, leaving petite Florence more art treasures than most national capitals. View the masterworks of local heroes like Michelangelo and Botticelli, visit countless unforgettable basilicas, then climb up into Brunelleschi's soaring dome to watch the sun set among cypress-clad Tuscan hillsides.
Corfu's unique scenery, with gentle green hills and luxuriant southern flora, makes it one of the most beautiful of all Greek islands. Many beautiful buildings can be seen in Corfu Town. Corfu is a popular holiday destination for vacationers from all walks of life who come to enjoy mild climate, calm blue-green water, rugged mountains, hidden coves and miles of sandy beaches. A number of historical sights range from old fortresses and mansions to cathedrals and palaces. Corfu Town is surrounded by arcaded Venetian buildings. The Spianada is considered to be the largest square in Greece. Explore the narrow streets of Old Town. See Town Hall and the 300-year-old Church of Saint Spyrídon; a silver sarcophagus contains the remains of the town's patron saint. The Royal Palace - a neo-classical mansion - holds on its upper floor the Museum of Byzantine and East Asian Art. The Archaeological Museum has displays of artifacts discovered on Corfu. The Old Fortress, an impressive 14th-century Venetian structure, is now used as a popular venue for concerts.
Salerno is situated at the northern end of the Gulf of Salerno. The old town, rising up the slopes of the hill on the site of ancient Salernum, still bears evidence of its medieval period. Salerno's main attraction is a Romanesque cathedral, built in 1085 and remodeled in the late 18th century. Inside is the ornate tomb of Margaret of Anjou and the tomb of Pope Gregory VII, who died here in 1085. In the richly decorated crypt under the alter lie the remains of Evangelist Matthew, brought here from Paestum. A hilltop crowned by the old Lombard Castello offers extensive views. Along the seafront, to the east of the harbor, extends a promenade lined with impressive modern buildings. Visit the Greek temples of Paestum. Other favorite excursions from here are to Pompeii and to the popular resort towns of Amalfi and Ravello. The Museo Diocesano houses a fine collection of medieval carved tablets. Occupying two floors of the San Benedetto Monastery, the main attraction at Museo Provinciale is a handsome bronze head of Apollo fished out of the bay in the 1930s.
Split, the largest Croatian city on the Adriatic coast, is the heart of Dalmatia. The old town is built around the harbor on the south side of a high peninsula sheltered from the open sea by many islands. Split achieved fame when the Roman emperor Diocletian (245-313), noted for his persecution of early Christians, had his retirement palace built here from 295 to 305. Since 1945 Split has grown into a major industrial city with large apartment-block housing areas. Much of old Split remains, however, and this combined with its exuberant nature makes it one of the most fascinating cities in Europe.
Bari (ancient Barium) is an industrial city in the Apulia region of southern Italy and a seaport on the Adriatic Sea. The old quarter of the city sits on a promontory separating the old and new harbors. It is the site of two notable Romanesque churches: the Basilica of San Nicola (11th-12th century) and the cathedral (late 12th century). Bari was formerly a Greek colony and later a Roman trading settlement. It came under the domination of the Lombards, the Byzantines, and the Normans. It was a key Italian naval base during World War II and sustained heavy damage. From here it is easy to visit Alberobello and Egnazia.
Plitvice National Park
The natural attributes of Plitvice Lakes National Park, uniqueness and sensibility of that phenomenon, deserve full attention of visitors. Its natural diversity and harmony of shapes and colours in any of the seasons are enough to make any visitor amazed by the beauty. UNESCO has declared it with all rights as the World's natural inheritance.
This charming, inexpensive city with its relaxed pace, active cafe life and fondness for poets could be "the next Prague" with its own distinctive character. Several remaining structures show Roman and Baroque influences. The heart of the city lies on both sides of the Ljubljanica River. Over time, architects have used the Ljubljanica as an opportunity to build a handful of tasteful bridges. On one side of the river are the narrow cobblestone streets of the old town, which sits in the shadow of Ljubljana Castle. On the other side of the Ljubljanica is Tivoli castle, a graphic arts center, and the main shopping streets, lined by graceful art-nouveau buildings. The ultramodern Cultural and Congress Center, near the neo-rococo Opera House, is the setting for cultural performances. Worth seeing are the Franciscan Church and the Baroque town hall, with its monumental fountain. Hike to the top of 3,600-ft Mt. Katarina from Ljubljana. A trail begins in the suburb of Podutik before winding through spruce forests and up to a small church at the mountain's peak.
Tirane (pronounced: Tih-rana) is the capital and the largest city (1991 est. pop. 300,000) of Albania. It is the administrative, cultural, economic, and industrial center of the Republic of Albania.
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