Enjoy the yachting lifestyle at its most glamorous on this voyage along the sundrenched French and Italian Rivieras.
Civitavecchia (Port of Rome), Italy
2,500 years of history are woven into the fabric of modern Rome. You can feel it in the remarkable Pantheon, considered to be the most perfect architectural statement of the ages. Or as you wander side streets that open onto piazzas, fountains, Bernini sculpture, and elegant courtyards. Famous treasures are legion in Rome: the Colosseum, where gladiators fought to the death, the ancient Forum, St. Peter’s Cathedral in the Vatican, with its breathtaking Sistine Chapel, newly restored to its former glory, the Trevi Fountain…the Spanish Steps, where all Rome passes by.
Take time out between sights to do as the Romans do: enjoy a three-hour lunch, shop, people-watch, or savor the best gelati in the world. Life is not lived if you haven't been to Rome!
Sailing into Portoferraio, you can see why Napoleon chose Elba for his exile; an island of pink granite, pine forests, and pristine beaches. The contrasts of the Elba countryside – from its typical fishing villages and high mountain passes to its stylish summer resorts on the coast – are enchanting. Elba’s restaurants feature excellent seafood, and small private vineyards produce local Moscato and Aleatico wines.
From his villa in Portoferraio, Napoleon, no longer Emperor of France, looked out over the waiting ships in the harbor and dreamed of returning to glory. Today you can enjoy a local vineyard tour, and near Portoferraio, discover the remains of an ancient Etruscan civilisation.
Portovenere’s small colorful houses – some only three yards wide and as much as seven stories tall – climb steeply up the hillside. Wander its maze of tiny alleyways – this is a fascinating small town to explore. From the ship, the steeple of the 12th-century church of San Lorenzo can be seen, along with the simple Gothic church of San Pietro built on a promontory above the harbor.
It was from a grotto in Portovenere that the dare-devil poet, Lord Byron, launched his famous swim across the Gulf of La Spezia to visit his friend and fellow poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, in Lerici. Byron made it, but Shelley purposely sailed out into a storm and lost his life. That's why today the area is known as the Golfo dei Poeti.
On the hills above, palatial villas in ice-cream colors look down on the tiny harbor and exclusive boutiques and harbor-side cafés. This is Portofino, a name that has come to symbolize the sophisticated, sybaritic lifestyle of the Italian Riviera.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Monaco is the fabled domain of princes and movie stars. The magnificent Palais du Prince (from which the Grimaldi dynasty has ruled since 1297), and the opulent casinos remind you of an elegant, pre-war era. With more wealth concentrated in one small area than almost any place on earth, this tiny principality retains its gilt edged allure.
The fairy-tale kingdom glitters with opulence and jet-set glamor, and the action centers around its famed casinos. Inside, under gilt-edged ceilings and ornate frescoes, fortunes are made, or lost. See the Cathedral where Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier, and the Rock of Monaco, where gardens cascade to the sea.
St. Tropez, France
Small but chic, St. Tropez is a lively town whose beaches are legendary, both for their beauty and for the beauties on them. Follow the narrow lanes from the waterfront, and you’ll arrive at the oldest part of St. Tropez, where twisting narrow streets open onto tiny squares and fountains. Great views can be had from the 16th-century Citadel, but the most interesting views are from a chair in a sidewalk café: sit on the terrace and watch the fascinating, flirtatious French Riviera pass by.
St. Tropez is a people-watcher's paradise, so you will also want to explore her famous beaches, bistros and bars. The appropriately named Tahiti Plage is where topless sun tanning started, and whether you prefer to take it off or take it all in, there's always plenty to see in St. Tropez.
Le Levandou, France
Le Lavandou is situated at the base of the Massif des Maures Mountains on the French Rivera between Marseille and Cannes. It was originally established as a small fisherman villa around 1880, but was destroyed in 1944. It was rebuilt after the war and, today, is a developed sea resort. It is a popular location for families and those seeking excitement but do not wish to be overwhelmed by the touristy scene. There are still plenty of fishermen, however, holding on to the old traditions.
With its casual affluence, flower-lined streets, flourishing markets, and interesting museums (the Musée Chagall and Musée Matisse are highlights), Nice is a charming introduction to the spirit of the Côte d’Azur. Stroll along its wide sunny boulevards, broken here and there by shady gardens and parks. Or stop for bouillabaisse, a specialty of the area, in a local restaurant.