Adriatic & Greek Glories
Day 1 - Venice, Italy The first settlement of the marshy islands in the lagoon was for protection from barbarian tribes that terrorized mainland farms and villages. Island living quickly led to the development of skills in handling boats, then ships. Maritime trade conducted by shrewd merchants brought great wealth, which permitted the building of palaces, churches and monuments. The city became the center of the vast Venetian empire, its name forever summoning visions of grandeur, magnificence, richness, graciousness and beauty. Although later linked to the mainland, first by a railway bridge built in 1848 and then by a motor causeway in 1930, this island city will always be considered the "Queen of the Sea." There are no cars in Venice; all transportation is by boat or on foot along the time-worn, cobblestone streets and across some 400 bridges that span the city's 177 canals. Enchanting Venice truly offers an atmosphere that exists nowhere else.
Day 2 - Vodice (Sibenik)
Day 3 - Kotor, Montenegro One of the best preserved medieval towns of the Adriatic, Kotor is protected by UNESCO. Between 1420 and 1797, the area was under the rule of the Republic of Venice and the Venetian influence can be seen in its architecture. The Gulf of Kotor is sometimes called the southernmost fjord in Europe, although it is actually a submerged river canyon. The overhanging limestone cliffs of Orjen and Lovcen complete one of the Mediterranean's most beautiful landscapes.
Day 3 - Scenic Cruising Bay of Kotor
Day 4 - Kerkira, Corfu, Greece A scant few miles off the Albanian coast lies the island of Corfu, one of the most richly endowed of all the Greek Isles. Praised by Homer in "The Odyssey" and selected by Shakespeare as the setting for "The Tempest," the island retains evidence of cultural heritage from each of its past rulers - Byzantium, Venice, France, Russia and Great Britain. Rolling acres of olive groves, small orchards of lemon and orange trees, tall cypress, oleander, and myrtle bushes lend a lush, verdant look to the island. While the oldest part of Corfu Town has cobblestone lanes so narrow only pedestrian travel is possible, the modern sector has wide avenues. Residents boast that its "Spianada" is the largest and most beautiful square in all Greece.
Day 5 - Zakinthos, Greece A favorite of the Venetians during their three centuries of rule, Zakinthos today is increasingly popular with pleasure-seekers from throughout the world. Although virtually destroyed by an earthquake and fire in 1953, the town was painstakingly rebuilt stone by stone by its citizens, who remain fiercely proud of their island and its history. Explore Solomos Square and the fascinating Museum of Post-Byzantine Art with its fine collection of templos, carved, gilded icon screens. Shoppers will find no shortage of boutiques, particularly around St. Mark's Square. Above it all stands the ancient castle, complete with fortified walls, which once provided safety to the Medieval population. The views are excellent. Special Note: October 28 is a national holiday in Greece.
Day 6 - Nafplion, Greece
Day 7 - Milos, Nisos Melos, Greece Mylos has all the components of a perfect Greek isle - fantastic rock formations, dozens of beaches from broad strands to secluded slivers, villages of sugar-cube houses, whitewashed windmills, and glowing azure coves. The famous statue of Aphrodite of Mylos, re-named Venus de Milo, was discovered here in 1820. The French Consul, recognizing a great beauty, bought her and gave her to Louis XVIII. Today she resides in the Louvre in Paris, a symbol of the civilization that flourished on this island in centuries past.
Day 8 - Piraeus (Athens), Greece Piraeus has been the port for Athens since 482 BC. The busy harbor is filled with ferries and cruise ships making their way to the Greek Islands and other Mediterranean cities. The busy metropolis of Athens and its treasure trove of antiquities lie just a few miles from the port. Even as the reality of the modern city took hold, with its high-rise apartments, crowded sidewalks and bustling traffic, the beauty of the Acropolis, the outstanding museums, charming cafés, sidewalk markets and startling views come together in a cultural mosaic for all to enjoy.
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