From the look of it, you'd think Venice spent all its time primping. Bask in the glory of Grand Canal palaces, but make no mistake: this city's a powerhouse. You may have heard that Venice is an engineering marvel, with marble churches built atop ancient posts driven deep into the barene (mud banks) – but the truth is that this city is built on sheer nerve. Reasonable people might blanch at water approaching their doorsteps and flee at the first sign of acqua alta (high tide). But reason can’t compare to Venetian resolve. Instead of bailing out, Venetians have flooded the world with voluptuous Venetian-red paintings and wines, music, Marco Polo spice-route flavors, and bohemian-chic fashion. And they’re not done yet.
With the world’s most artistic masterpieces per square mile you’d think the city would take it easy, maybe rest on its laurels. But Venice refuses to retire from the inspiration business. In narrow alleyways you’ll glimpse artisans hammering out shoes crested like lagoon birds, cooks whipping up four-star dishes on single-burner hotplates, and musicians lugging 18th-century cellos to riveting baroque concerts played with punk-rock bravado. As you can see, all those 19th-century Romantics got it wrong. Venice is not destined for genteel decay. Billionaire benefactors and cutting-edge biennales are filling up those ancient palaces with restored masterpieces and eyebrow-raising contemporary art and architecture, and back-alley galleries and artisan showrooms are springing up in their shadows. Your timing couldn’t be better: the people who made walking on water look easy are already well into their next act.
Rab is an island in Croatia and a town of the same name located just off the northern Croatian coast in the Adriatic Sea. The northeastern side of the island is mostly barren while the southwestern side is covered by one of the last oak forest of the Mediterranean region.
The island of Rab is rich in cultural heritage and cultural-historical monuments that make it a popular vacation destination. Rab is also known as a pioneer of naturism.
Rab is very popular with tourists and families for its beautiful nature, beaches, heritage and many events, particularly the Rab arbalest tournament and the Rab Medieval festival.
Split is a Mediterranean city on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea, centered around the ancient Roman Palace of the Emperor Diocletian and its bay and port. With a population of approximately 178,000 citizens and a metropolitan area numbering up to 350,000. Split is by far the largest Dalmatian city and the second-largest city of Croatia.
The entire western end of town is a vast, wooded mountain park with beaches below and pathways above. A refurbished harborside promenade lined with cafés makes for a pleasant stroll, and the high coastal mountains set against the blue Adriatic provide a striking frame, best appreciated as your boat heads into or out of the port.
Dubrovnik is a remarkably well-preserved example of a late-medieval walled city, with a regular street layout. Among the outstanding medieval, Renaissance and Baroque monuments within the magnificent fortifications and the monumental gates to the city are the Town Hall (now the Rector's Palace), dating from the 11th century; the Franciscan Monastery (completed in the 14th century, but now largely Baroque in appearance) with its imposing church; the extensive Dominican Monastery; the cathedral (rebuilt after the 1667 earthquake); the customs house (Sponza), the eclectic appearance of which reveals the fact that it is the work of several hands over many years; and a number of other Baroque churches, such as that of St Blaise (patron saint of the city).
Rovinj, the Blue Pearl of the Adriatic, the city of romance and art, one of the most picturesque towns in the Mediterranean. Part of the Venetian Republic for over 500 years, the Old Town is perched on an elevated peninsula, surrounded by Venetian terracotta-roofed houses and crowned by the Church of St. Euphemy from the 18th century whose bell tower dominates the Rovinj silhouette. The cramped area of the former island dictated the appearance of the town that is characterized by high houses, narrow paved streets and small squares.
Old cobbled alleys in the Old Town invite visitors to walk around and explore colorful galleries and shops filled with local arts and crafts. In the open-air market visitors will find fresh groceries such as asparagus, olives, tomatoes, herbs and medicinal plants, figs and cheese. The Italian influence is much stronger here than anywhere else in Croatia and the main square is surrounded with lively cafes and restaurants spreading out all the way to the charming harbor filled with sailing and fishing boats.
Venice hardly needs any introduction, famed as it is throughout the world as a city of incomparable beauty. Venice is the heart and soul of romance. Cast your eye on the rounded domes of San Marco, take a deep breath at the Bridge of Sighs, gaze on the golden lions and the Renaissance glories of the Doge's Palace, listen for the ghosts of Verdi, Puccini and Caruso at La Fenice Opera House, gape at the classic Palladian proportions of the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, glide in a gondola down the Grand Canal. And know that love is always in the air in Venice. For centuries,Venice stood at the crossroads of culture between the Byzantine and Roman worlds. The city the great traders and philosophers created is an extraordinary place, unique in all the world. Great works of art are housed here, in the Accademia with its Renaissance masters and the collection of Peggy Guggenheim in her canal-side palazzo. Follow where your feet take you, over romantic bridges, to shops selling precious glass, to small cafés for a cappuccino or Campari.
Built on mud banks, which extend into the tidal waters of the Adriatic, Venice was once a great maritime power ruled by its doges, and a place of plot, intrigue and decadence. A city of water and of light, with an atmosphere which is at once fascinating and disturbing, its fragile fabric of canals and palazzi, churches, alleyways and campi has somehow survived the threats of both flood and mass tourism, and remarkably little has changed throughout the centuries.
The public boats called vaporetti and motoscafi run almost constantly, and you'll seldom have to wait more than a few minutes for one to come along. The waterbus you'll use most often is the No. 1, the local that stops 13 times between the Piazzale Roma and the Piazza San Marco. The gondolas of Venice are beautiful but expensive. Gondoliers often demand more money for less time, so strike a deal in advance.
St Mark’s Square is really the heart of Venice, mostly because of its location on the banks of the Grand Canal, and because of the great number of beautiful, historical monuments located there. The piazza St. Marco is the only square that is called a Piazza, the others are simply called "campo".
Over the centuries, diseases have contributed mightily to great art and architecture. The church of Santa Maria della Salute is a case in point. In October of 1630, after nearly a third of Venice's 150,000 citizens had been killed by plague, the Venetian Senate made an offer to God: "Stop the plague, and we'll build a church to honor the Virgin Mary." Whatever the reason, the plague was stopped in its tracks. The Venetian authorities honored their promise by giving the Virgin a prime chunk of real estate near the tip of Dorsoduro, where the Grand Canal merged with St. Mark's Basin.
For a long time, it was said that the Bridge of Sighs was a place where lovers met. Actually, the bridge was intended to link two parallel passages: one for prisoners and one for magistrates. The Rialto Bridge is always full of pedestrians climbing up and down the stairways, and a wonderful place to watch and photograph the constant activity of boats on the Grand Canal. The single span balustrade bridge has two parallel rows of tightly packed shops, selling jewelry, leather, masks, silk and souvenirs.
The pretty city of Split has a rich history. Since ancient times it has, in various guises, served as the economic and administrative center of the beautiful Dalmatian coastal region, on the Adriatic Sea. The city is situated on a peninsula on the island of Ciovo, although it has in more recent times spread onto the mainland and encompasses the mouth of the Cetina River. From as early as the 5th century BC, Greek colonists settled the mainland and adjacent islands. Later, came the Romans, in particular Emperor Diocletian, who built a huge palace at Salona, in 303 AD. A town grew up around the palace, and by the Middle Ages, the city of Split began to develop. Diocletian's Palace still stands in the very heart of Old Split, which charms visitors with its cobbled streets. The greater Split area is characterized by lush vegetation and green areas, particularly Marjan Hill with its ancient indigenous forest. The city makes an ideal base from which to explore the islands along the Adriatic coast and historic villages in central Dalmatia.
Framed by dense green forests of allepo pine and twisted cypress, the red tile roofs of Korcula make an inviting picture that makes you want to see more of this charming island town whose most famous native son was Marco Polo. The pale wheat colored stone Cathedral of St. Mark houses a treasure trove of Dalmatian and Italian art, including works by Tintoretto and Titian. Walk through the towering Land Gate for a great view of the town, try a traditional Korcula dish, spinning-wheel fettucini. And if you're lucky, you may witness Korcula's thrilling Moreska Sword Dance.
Trogir is situated on a small island between the Croatian mainland and the island of Ciovo. Since 1997, UNESCO has listed it as a World Heritage site.
Trogir is an architectural hot spot. Spread throughout the city, you can see architecture ranging from the 13th to the 17th century, including some modern buildings.
Rovinj is one of the most developed seaside resorts in Croatia, offering a whole range of visitor opportunities in a picturesque ambience of the ancient town, surrounded by luxuriant pine forests (the cape of Zlatni Rt is designated as a park forest, while the coast and islands of Rovinj are set aside as a protected landscape). The beginning of tourism was marked by the introduction of a steamship line between Rovinj and Trieste (1845) and the construction of the railroad to Vienna (1876). In 1896 the town had a well-maintained public beach, Val di Lone. The year 1888 may be considered the official beginning of tourism in Rovinj, when the health resort Maria Theresia was opened in the town. This oldest institution of that kind on the Adriatic coast was established by the Viennese society for the establishment and development of maritime health resorts. The health resort was visited by children from the entire Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and other countries. The development of tourism was continued with the construction of Hotel Jadran (today Centar), which was built before the First World War by the Society for the Construction of the First Hotel in Rovinj, to meet the needs of an increasing number of tourists and eminent persons who spent their vacations in Rovinj. The Polish count Ignac-Karol Korwin Milewsky bought the island of Sveta Katarina in 1905, carried out its afforestation and built two castles. In 1890 Baron Georg von Hüterodt purchased the island of Sveti Andrija and turned its former monastery building into a hotel; the island thus became the favourite seaside resort of the Austro-Hungarian clientele.
Trieste has an amazingly complex history, extending back for more than 4,000 years. The earliest inhabitants of the area were cave dwellers at the beginning of the Ice Age, followed by Indo-Europeans who created villages with defensive walls, called "castellieri". These villages became commercial trading ports, as a consequence of their location between East and West at the head of the Adriatic Sea. One of these castellieri was named Trieste, which means "market town". Ancient myths say that Jason and the Argonauts landed here while seeking the Golden Fleece. It is also said that Antenore and Diomedes disembarked here during the siege of Troy.
The Romans conquered and colonized Trieste in 52BC. Over the next 300 years the city became a major trading port. Architectural remnants of this period include the Arco di Riccardo (33BC), the Roman Amphitheater (1st & 2nd century AD), and the Basilica Civile Romano (2nd century AD). Later Trieste was held by the Lombards, conquered by Charlemagne and became a free commune in rivalry with its neighbor, Venice.
Trieste sought the protection of the Duke of Austria in 1382, and with the unification of Italy in 1870, became a focus of irredentists who wanted to fold the city into greater Italy. After World War I Trieste, and the province of which it was the capitol, were annexed by Italy. After World War II Yugoslavia claimed Trieste as part of its territory, but the area was put under the protection of the United Nations. It was not until 1954 that an agreement was reached partitioning the area and making Trieste part of Italy.
In addition to the Roman ruins mentioned above, there are several other sites of architectural interest. These include the Romanesque Cathedral of San Giusto (5th century AD) and Miramar castle (1854–56), built for Archduke Maximilian of Austria.
Venice, Italy (return)
Your ship returns to Venice, the Jewel of the Adriatic, where you will (reluctantly) disembark.