Day 1 - Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy Rome has something special to offer to all visitors, no matter their interests and tastes. Whether you daydream about fighting with gladiators in the Coliseum, debating with togaed senators in the Forum, tossing a coin in a fabled fountain, or being awestruck by the magnificence of St Peter’s Basilica and Michelangelo’s masterpieces, Rome seems to live up to its sobriquet – the Eternal City. When you need sustenance, today’s Rome will provide delizioso pasta e vino. Or perhaps you draw strength from a little retail therapy – the Italians are also renowned for their sense of style.
Day 2 - At Sea
Day 3 - Barcelona Dynamic Barcelona is all about architecture, from the magnificent medieval buildings of the Gothic Quarter to the Modernist movement typified by the work of Antoni Gaudi. Though his materials were stone and metal, his forms were organic, awash in curves, swirls, and colors. His masterpiece is the amazing Church of the Sagrada Familia, colossal and as yet unfinished, though construction began in 1882. A contemporary contribution to the scene is Ricardo Bofill's post modernist National Theater of Catalonia, an imaginative combination of classical and modern design, with a greenhouse-like lobby.
Day 4 - Valencia One of the country's biggest and bustling cities was defended against the Moors by the legendary Spaniard "El Cid." Work up an appetite taking in la Calle de Los Caballeros and La Lonja, Valencia's old stock-exchange building of 1483, and reward your curiosities with a Paella Valenciana, Spain's most famous contribution to the world's tables.
Day 5 - Cartagena, Spain Strategically located along historic sailing routes, Cartagena has been colonized by a veritable who’s who of Mediterranean superpowers over the millennia, resulting in a rich and multi-layered cultural heritage, and a history both glorious and turbulent. From atop a hill, Concepción Castle served as a fortress for Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths, Arabs, and Castilians. The 13th century Old Cathedral stands on the remains of a Roman Theater just discovered in 1987. More recent architectural contributions include modernist designs of public buildings and private dwellings by pupils of the famous architect Antoni Gaudi.
Day 6 - Malaga Málaga is the lively capital of the Costa del Sol, famed for its beaches and mild climate, and gateway to Andalusia, with its Moorish architectural heritage. The city’s Alcazaba is a fine example, an 11th century citadel sitting in majestic splendor overlooking the African coast. It contains three magnificent palaces and graceful gardens with ornate fountains. In addition to their rich cultural heritage, Malagueños are also very proud of their most famous citizens – Picasso, for whom there is a museum commemorating his birth here, and actor Antonio Banderas, so far without a monument.
Day 7 - Gibraltar The towering Rock of Gibraltar is a sight to behold. Overlooking the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea from a height of 1,400 ft, it is a natural fortress, in a strategic position to control all naval traffic between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Only three miles long and a mile wide, this peninsula attached to the Spanish mainland juts out into the Strait of Gibraltar, which separates continental Europe from North Africa, a distance of only 14 miles. One feature most unusual for Europe is the troupes of semi-wild and curiously tailless Barbary macaques that have taken up residence on The Rock’s upper reaches.
Day 8 - Lisbon Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world. Its magnificent harbor made it a logical trading port as far back as the Phoenicians, as well as a departure point for 15th century voyages sponsored by Prince Henry the Navigator, patron of Portuguese explorers. The city is rich in architecture, from Romanesque and Gothic to Post Modern, and criss-crossed by monument-studded grand boulevards. Today it is seeking a place on the world stage by hosting, in addition to its own active cultural calendar, film festivals, art, fashion, and design shows, book fairs, marathons, and rock concerts.
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