The Mediterranean Sea is lined with sunny beaches, breathtaking clifftop vistas and some of the world’s most scenic ancient towns. Two of the most distinct and beautiful port cities to explore are Rome, Italy and Athens, Greece. One of the best ways to experience more of the heart of these remarkable Mediterranean coastal cities is to select a cruise itinerary that includes longer stays in each port town. This will allow you to fully enjoy all of the rich history, architectural and artistic treasures, and the magnificent monuments that these towns offer.
Rome has been a seaport since the 13th century when emperor Trajan built a pleasure villa near the city, while Bernini and Michelangelo designed the harbor fortifications. Rome has long been a magnet luring the world’s greatest artists, architects, and philosophers. The Eternal City eternally beckons. The ancient capital of the Western World and the center of Christianity for nearly 2,000 years, Rome offers countless wonders to explore.
Tour St. Peter’s Square and Basilica and admire this massive ornate church and its bustling outdoor piazza, where the Pope offers weekly blessings. At the Vatican Museums, witness one of the most impressive collections of art in the world, including the Sistine Chapel, which is home to Michelangelo’s masterpieces.
The grandest of Rome’s monuments, the Colosseum, was used by emperors to entertain the public with spectacular games. Built in 1st century A.D., the amphitheater is an architectural and engineering wonder. Legend says if you toss a coin into the waters of the famous Trevi Fountain, you are guaranteed to return to the Eternal City. A can’t miss – the Forum – was the center of political, religious and commercial life in ancient Rome. These vast ruins echo the grandeur of one of the histories most famous ruling empires.
Athens is known as the cradle of Western civilization and is popular both for its ruins and for the 2004 Olympics. Athens blends the ancient with the modern with a new Archaeological Park: a stretch of tree-lined walking paths that wind throughout the city’s iconic monuments. Traverse along this walkway and see Hadrian’s Arch, an ornamental arch that was as a gate between the older Athens and the new Athens, created by the Roman Emperor, Hadrian, in A.D. 131.
Head to the center of town and see the Acropolis — the ruins of the old town and the world-famous Parthenon. The ornately carved, 46 column temple was built in the 5th century to honor the goddess, Athena. Witness the site of the first modern Olympics, in 1896, at the Panathenaic Stadium. Be sure to stop along the way to peruse a few the local craftsmen’s shops and recharge by sipping a small cup of thick Greek coffee at a charming café.
To embark on your Mediterranean voyage, be sure to rely on the expertise of your Travel Leaders Network cruise specialist to handle every detail for a hassle-free vacation.
The brand-new ship from Princess Cruises®, Sky Princess℠, debuts in 2019, sailing to both Italy and Greece as well as several other amazing Mediterranean ports. Sky Princess℠ boasts the best features of Royal Class ships, two brand-new, ultra-premium Sky Suites with 270-degree views, the largest balcony in the fleet and private balcony vantage of Movies Under the Stars®. Be one of the first to sail on this spectacular new ship on your own voyage in the magical coastal towns of Mediterranean.