Here is our itinerary:

Day 1

Civitavecchia/Rome (Italy)

     The first evidence of settlement in the area of Civitavecchia relates to the ancient town of Centocelle, once the port for Ethruria and a rich market centre. Pliny the Younger refers in his writings to Centocelle as the venue of a peace council held by the emperor Trajan.
     Centocelle takes its name from the style of village houses, which resembled hives with small cells, and the tiny bays along the coast that enabled ships to come and go. Due to its sheltered surroundings and easy access to the sea, Trajan built his most extravagant villa in the vicinity, mentioned by Pliny. The basic structure of the port first developed by Trajan still remains.
     When the port of Ostia at the mouth of the River Tiber became insufficient to handle the maritime traffic to Rome, Civitavecchia took its place. The distinctive shape of the port is attributed to the architect Apollodoro who decorated the original structure with engravings and statues. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Civitavecchia maintained its maritime importance and in a few centuries had become the most important port in the Thyrrenian, competing for supremacy with Pisa and attracting the attention of Turkish pirates.
     The port today manages light commercial and passenger traffic to the Thyerrenian islands, while the mediaeval centre of Civitavecchia is still well preserved.

Day 2

Savona (Italy)

     One of the most celebrated former inhabitants of Savona was the navigator Christopher Columbus, who farmed land in the area while chronicling his journeys. 'Columbus's house', a cottage situated in the Savona hills, lay between vegetable crops and fruit trees. It is just one of many residences in Liguria associated with Columbus.
     Several cities as well as Savona claim his birth and residency, such as Genoa and Terrarossa di Moconesi. Savona is the most important city on the west coast of Italy, within reach of the seaside resorts of Alassio, Loano and Varazze.
     Savona is a city rich in history and enterprise, largely centering on its port. The most important monument in the city in this regard is the Priamar, a castle stronghold near the port and recently restored. This is the site of the city's first developed community, in 205BC, described by Roman historian Titus Livius as 'Savo Oppidum Alpinum' and evidently an ally of Carthage against Rome. The city fell under Roman rule in 200BC and, following the establishment of Vada Sabatia, presently called Vado, its importance rapidly declined. After the fall of the Roman Empire and the invasions of the Barbarians, Savona became an important Byzantine settlement. In 643AD, Savona was destroyed by the Rotarians and the Longobards, while during the 9th and 10th centuries it was the capital of Marca Aleramica. Eventually it became an independent municipality, developing considerable trade with France, Spain and North Africa. After a long period resisting Genoa, it finally relinquished power in 1528 and following the Napoleonic era was annexed by Savoy. Formerly a province of the kingdom of Sardinia, the province of Savona was recognised in 1927.
     There are two versions surrounding the origin of the name of Savona's symbolic monument, the Priamar. According to the first, Priamar derives from 'Pietra Sul Mare' (rock on the sea), as the fortress is constructed on a promontory rock facing the Ligurian sea. According to the second version the name derives from 'Petra Mala', a reference to the rock underneath the castle being crumbly. Inside the fortress walls stood a school, two of whose pupils became the popes Julius II and Sixtus IV. It also hosted a ceremony to mark the independence of the municipality, in 1191, after the victory of Ghibelline. In the 19th Century the fortress was used as a prison, where in 1830-1831 Giuseppe Mazzini was jailed. During World War II, the fortress was used as an air-raid shelter and to control Savona's port.

Day 3

...cruising...

Day 4

Katakolon/Olympia (Greece)

     Katakolon is a small port founded in the first half of the 19th century and linked to the legendary and nearby Olympia. According to the annals, which describe in detail and with some legend, the birth and history of Olympia, the city is a pastoral site chosen by the king of the gods Zeus to promote his culture among the Greeks.
     Olympia, together with Delphi, the city dedicated to Apollo, and Athens represents the most important mythological places in traditional Greece. The Olympic Games originated here and, according to the Hellenic tradition described by the Greek poet Pindar, their origin is in honour of Pelope, a legendary character, after whom the Peloponnese was named. In the beginning the Games were composed of few disciplines, deriving from military arts characterised by loyalty and courage and lasted just one day often interrupted by religious ceremonies.
     Subsequently the celebration of the Olympic Games, every four years at the summer solstice, lasted for a few weeks and at this time all conflicts had to be suspended to enable the performance of the games. The ceremony was strict. Women, except for Hera priestesses were not allowed, upon punishment of death. All competitors had to be Greek. The winners (at the time there were no sponsors or money compensation) were awarded by public triumph, they were included in a golden register engraved in stone and a life size statue was erected.
     After over 1200 years of continued history, the Olympic Games were stopped in 393 AD by Theodosius I and started again in Athens in 1896 upon initiative of the French Baron Pierre de Coubertin. Life in Olympia takes place around the sacred walls of the Sanctuary where all the temples and religious buildings are situated. Olympia was discovered in 1776, but the most important excavations are recent. Zeus' temple for instance was entirely brought to light by German archaeologists who succeeded in reconstructing part of the front and side columns collecting the statues of Greek winners, votive offerings and small temples damaged by a series of earthquakes unfortunately frequent in the past.
     The most ancient part of the Sanctuary is dedicated to Hera and it was destroyed and sacked after the prohibition of the pagan cult ordered by Theodosius. The stadium is very impressive, with an audience capacity of up to 45,000. Several votive offerings were found here, and among them Miltiades helmets after Athens victory in Marathon. It is still possible to see the starting and finishing lines of the races in the stadium. All archaeological finds are preserved in the Museum.

Day 5

Piraeus/Athens (Greece)

     The cradle of Greek civilisation, Athens today is a bustling, frenetic, modern city with six million inhabitants, one third of the total population of Greece. The port of Athens, Piraeus, is very much an integral part of the city.
     Although Athens is a huge, sprawling city, much of its political, historical and administrative life is concentrated in a small area including Syntagma (Constitution) Square, the Acropolis and Omonia Square.
     According to Greek mythology, the establishment of Athens was the result of a dispute between the goddess of wisdom Athena and her fellow gods, under which the city was given as a peace offering. In historical terms, the city was founded by the Phoenicians at least 2,000 years before Christ. The founding fathers of democracy, Athenians had many times to go into battle to defend their freedom and built up a mighty military strength.
     As the leading cultural influence in the Mediterranean region for centuries, Athens attracted considerable opposition as well as admiration. Its intellectual dominance over the Mediterranean began to wane with the establishment of the Byzantine Empire, eventually leading to the city being virtually deserted and almost destroyed by Saracens in the 12th Century. By the time the Turks gained control of Athens in the 15th Century, its population had dwindled to only a few thousand inhabitants. Between 400BC and 1400AD Athens had been raided, sacked, and burnt at least 30 times.
     Gradually Athens was rebuilt and by the end of the 19th Century its fortunes had greatly improved, culminating in the revival of the Olympic Games in 1896. The next period of sustained development came after World War II with aggressive industrialisation and maritime enterprise.
     The historical attractions of Athens are world-renowned. The Acropolis, overlooking the city of Athens from the top of a rocky hillside, is the dominant monument of ancient Greece, the site of the first temple dedicated to the goddess Athena and the stunning Parthenon. Among the magnificent ruins of the Acropolis, and the fascinating artefacts of the Acropolis Museum, the ancient civilisation surrounding the Parthenon, Herod Atticaus Odeon, Dionysus Theatre, Muses Hill, the Agora, Hephaestus Temple and the Apostles Church come to life. In addition to its magnificent ancient monuments, Athens has much to offer the visitor, including colourful street markets and shops. Plus, of course, delicious Greek food such as the speciality meze and desserts including baklava.
     Not far from Athens is one of greatest engineering feats of mankind, the Corinth Canal. The canal, which is cut out of solid rock, is a little over 6km in length, 21 metres wide and some 79 metres high, with a water depth of eight metres. Such was the complexity of its construction that the canal was started by Nero in 66AD but only completed in 1893.

Day 6

Izmir (Turkey)

     Capital of a province, with nearly three million inhabitants, Smirne (Izmir in Turkish) is Turkey's second city, after Istanbul, thanks to its busy port and to the intense industrial activity which, from traditional fields tied to agriculture, has expanded to include shipbuilding, mechanical and chemical plants for oil refinery.
     Located within a beautiful bay, surrounded by lovely hills, the town has changed in the course of recent years, into a modern metropolis with an established urbanistic structure and new residencial areas.
     Archaeological diggings have indicated that Izmir was probably first inhabited in the third millennium BC. In the 10th century BC farmers from the island of Lesbos took up residence in Izmir. Occupied by the Ioni toward the end of the 9th century BC, Izmir experienced a long spell of economical and cultural development, followed by domination from many local dictators, until conquered by Alessandro Magno (334 BC).
     Starting in 27B.C., following Roman rule, Izmir experienced a new period of prosperity, in the course of which was enriched by sumptuous monuments of which, however, few traces remain. Destroyed by a violent earthquake in 178 it was then rebuilt under the command of Marco Aurelio. After becoming an important Bishop Seat during Costantino era, Izmir began a slow decline due to Arabic incursions.
     Sieged by the Turks, the town was conquered (1076) and subsequently utilised as base for naval attacks in the Aegean Sea. Later it became a feud of the Knights of Rhodes. It was annexed to the Ottoman Empire by Mohamed 1st Celebi, notwithstanding efforts from part of the Venetian fleet which attempted to reoccupy it on several occasions.
     Izmir has preserved its prosperity, mainly thanks to the commercial activity of its port which has been an important stop along the routes between East and West. In the large square, dominated by the modern clock tower in Arabian style, a present for the German Kaiser, William the 2nd, you can see the City Hall, the Konak Camii, little mosque decorated with glazed tiles and surrounded by a large garden and the City Cultural Centre. In the centre of the city, on the west side of the train station (Basmane Gari), you find the large green area of the Kultur Park, with a Luna Park, a Zoo, a small lake and pavilions where, every year, starting from the second half of August to September, the International Izmir Fair takes place, it is perhaps the most important commercial fair in the Mediterranean.
     You should visit the Archaeological Museum inaugurated in 1983 containing finds from Ephesus, Belevi, Myrina and Eritre. The old building next to the Archaeological Museum is the Ethnographic Museum displaying interesting art collections and traditional handicrafts: ceramics, copper tools, embroidery, traditional costumes, shawls and decorated fabrics, carpets, arms and armours.
     The last stop for the shopping fans is the animated and colourful bazaar with stalls selling every kind of local goods.

Day 7

Rhodes (Greece)

     Rhodes history is full of legends and myths. It is one of the most important islands in the Mediterranean. According to mythology, the coast is the wedding present left to men by Helios who fell in love with the nymph Rhoda and dedicated the island and its beauty to her.
     The Greeks could hardly have provided for a more creative description of the extraordinary natural beauty of the island. It is protected by three mountains which offer a pleasantly ventilated and mild climate to the coast and to the shore. Lush woods and a rich water supply make the island particularly rich and fertile especially in the northern part. Actually, there is a less mythological explanation for the grandeur of the island which in Greek time was as magnificent as Athens for its crucial strategical and commercial position.
     The construction of one of the most renowned symbols of Rhodes is attributed to this period, the Colossus, a bronze statue 35-metres high, situated on a 10-metre stone basement at the entrance of the port. At the time, at least 80 thousand people lived there with a flourishing school of arts, rhetoric and philosophy. A terrible earthquake knocked the Colossus down and its remains were abandoned for almost one thousand years, when the Arabs collected, melt and sold them.
     This event marked the end of Rhodes grandeur with a dramatic conclusion, due to the frequent invasions by the Turks and Arabs. The Knights of Malta occupied the island in 1300 for two centuries and built several works still evident today. The Turks reigned for a long time until in our contemporary age, the Italians settled there occupying it up to the end of the war renovating and connecting the main cities. Since 1948 Rhodes has belonged to Greece. The city is divided into two separate parts.
     The northern part is modern and devoted to new tourist structures, the southern part is clearly medieval. In the medieval city (surrounded by a four-kilometre fenced perimeter) are the Knights Hospital and the Archaeological Museum with many remains of all the historical periods of the island. Not far from the Museum is the Seven Languages Residence and the Great Masters residence, a copy of the Pope's Palace in Avignon which was destroyed by the Turks and reconstructed by the Italians.
     Lindos, 50 kilometres from Rhodes, is the most beautiful village in the island, with its narrow alleys and white houses. The majority of these houses preserved the external decorations dating back to the 15th century. The village is dominated by the Acropolis that was built on top of a hill. Here there are the remains of the sanctuary of Athena Linda temple, the remains of Propilei Colonnade and Dionysius temple.

Day 8

Limassol (Cyprus)

     Cyprus has two souls. The former extremely practical, determined perhaps by the early industrial origins of the island and by the name deriving from the Latin "cuprum" (copper). In fact, mines in the southern part of the island are rich with copper, still extracted today and manufactured in the artistic Cypriot way. Also asbestos and chrome. The second soul derives from Greek tradition and is characterised by romanticism for those who want to realise their love dreams here. In fact it was in Cyprus, not far from Limassol, that Aphrodite was apparently born. Venus to the Romans, the love goddess, generated by the foam of the sea and exquisitely drawn by Botticelli while lying on a shell.
     Perhaps for this reason one of the most important weddings in history was celebrated in Limassol. The one between Richard the Lion Heart and Berengary of Navarra who was crowned Queen in the castle of the city, thousands kilometres of from London. The island also has two geographic souls: rugged mountain chains with the Troodhos volcano, largely exploited from the industrial point of view, while inland small villages dot the valleys entirely devoted to farming. In particular cereals, citrus and grapes, producing a vintage wine. Similarly, two cultures influenced the island: the Greek culture, full of traditions and social organisation and the Turkish influence, whose coast is just 70 miles away.
     Limassol's most important development started in the Middle Ages, a time characterised by dramatic events. A terrible flood was followed by a long siege of the Genoese and subsequently by the hordes of Barbarians and Arabs. After a further attack in 1570 by the Turk Lala Mustafà, there was a period of crisis and conflict which lasted until last century when the city became a commercial and industrial centre and the second largest and most important city in Cyprus. Cyprus offers many seaside attractions as well as archaeological ones. In this connection, the Curium and Colossi excavations are undoubtedly important with the baths and mosaics almost entirely uncovered. Cyprus has been eternally tied to Aphrodite's legend.
     However, according to the legend, another god had elected its residence in Cyprus, Dionysius, Bacchus to the Romans, whose home is situated in Paphos which is certainly one of the most beautiful parts of the southern coast of the island. As far as shopping is concerned, silver, gold and bronze are good buys and their manufacture is one of the most ancient traditions in Cyprus.

USEFUL INFORMATION
Points of interest: Mediaeval museum, church of Ayia Napa, Paphos, Curium.
Cuisine: fish soup, grilled fish, cut souvlaki pork with salad served in pitta bread (like a kebab)
Language: Greek.
Religion: Greek Orthodox.
Politics: Republic.
Currency: Cypriot pound.
Shopping: tablecloths, hand sewn cushions, ceramics, real leather items.

Day 9

Alexandria (Egypt)

     Alexandria is one of the most important cities in the history of the Mediterranean. A cradle of civilisations, history and culture, the city has passed through periods of grandeur and magnificence followed by deep crises and social unrest. A true country of the extreme, founded by Alexander the Great in 331 and named after him because of the pride he felt for this beautiful land.
     Alexandria's legend tells that at the Nile delta, where the city was founded was where the gods of ancient Egypt hid all their knowledge and that any action performed by men extracted the life nymph from that knowledge. In fact, thanks to an absolutely prevailing commercial position in the Mediterranean Sea, Alexandria was soon able to significantly progress in science, culture, philosophy and spiritual life. Its lighthouse, 120 metres high, is legendary and its light was apparently visible from a distance of 100 miles from the coast. This lighthouse and the library were both destroyed, the former by an earthquake and the latter by a fire.
     Alexandria's reign continued under Roman rule and with 500,000 inhabitants it became the second city of the Roman Empire. Under Arab rule, Alexandria knew the first period of conflicts due to religious struggles which resulted in the destruction of a large part of the ancient monuments and also caused the decline of the city.
     However, Alexandria is a privileged starting point to study the mysteries of Egyptian art and architecture. Cairo, the busy Egyptian capital, with the multitude of activities and the high population concentration is nearby and offers a typical metropolitan context just close to the desert. The desert route, leading to the internal part of the country, is the path of the Pyramids and of the Sphinx. Giza, Cheops, Chefren, Zoster and Micerino as well as Mereuka Mastaba make for an extraordinary excursion. Besides the Egyptian Museum representing the most significant reference point for collections of objects, ornaments, documents and sarcophagi of the Egyptian time and of the Pharaohs, the ancient capital Memphis is most attractive with the mysterious monument, the Colossus of Ramses II.
     Egyptian cuisine is particularly flavoured and spiced, particularly mutton and veal meat or game, which accompany all main traditional dishes. Egyptians have a true cult for "kebab", the gigantic roasted veal cut and eaten "on the hoof" and as a filling for sandwiches by many Europeans.
     The ataijef is particularly delicious. A type of cheese salted bread, similar to that produced in Liguria, Italy. Also cossa, a vegetable similar in taste to cucumber filled with mutton meat and flavoured with thinly cut spices. Jewellery is particularly attractive, particularly amber and semi precious stones. Papyrus and traditional Egyptian souvenirs are very much favoured. Local clothes, such as the traditional galabia, are popular with tourist.

USEFUL INFORMATION
Points of interest: Excursion to Cairo, Giza and Egyptian Museum and to Giza, Sakkara and Memphis depart from Alexandria.
Cuisine: Mutton, veal, game, kebab, atajieff.
Language: Arabic.
Religion: Islam.
Politics: Presidential Republic.
Currency: Egyptian Pound divided into 100 piastres.
Shopping: Papyrus, authentic hand crafted ornaments (brass, gold plated, onyx), real leather.

Day 10

...cruising...

Day 11

...cruising...

Day 12

Civitavecchia/Rome (Italy)

     The first evidence of settlement in the area of Civitavecchia relates to the ancient town of Centocelle, once the port for Ethruria and a rich market centre. Pliny the Younger refers in his writings to Centocelle as the venue of a peace council held by the emperor Trajan.
     Centocelle takes its name from the style of village houses, which resembled hives with small cells, and the tiny bays along the coast that enabled ships to come and go. Due to its sheltered surroundings and easy access to the sea, Trajan built his most extravagant villa in the vicinity, mentioned by Pliny. The basic structure of the port first developed by Trajan still remains.
     When the port of Ostia at the mouth of the River Tiber became insufficient to handle the maritime traffic to Rome, Civitavecchia took its place. The distinctive shape of the port is attributed to the architect Apollodoro who decorated the original structure with engravings and statues. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Civitavecchia maintained its maritime importance and in a few centuries had become the most important port in the Thyrrenian, competing for supremacy with Pisa and attracting the attention of Turkish pirates.
     The port today manages light commercial and passenger traffic to the Thyerrenian islands, while the mediaeval centre of Civitavecchia is still well preserved.
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  • Louise
  • 太開心了吧
    真羨幕
    旅行真的好過出差呀
  • 那個雅典的夾餅 是同行的說
    吃過又好吃又便宜的

    avinon 於 2009/02/23 19:11 回覆