Day 1 Rome, Italy
2,500 years of history are woven into the fabric of modern Rome. You can feel it in the glory of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. Or as you wander sidestreets that open onto piazzas, fountains, Bernini sculpture, and elegant courtyards. Famous treasures are legion in Rome: the Colosseum…the Forum…St. Peter’s Cathedral…the Trevi Fountain…the Spanish Steps. 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.
Day 2 Portoferraio, Italy
Gliding into the town of 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.
Day 3-4 Portovenere, Italy / Portofino, Italy
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. Also available from Portovenere is a motorcoach transfer to nearby Florence, where you’ll have the day to explore that city’s fabulous art, architecture, museums, and restaurants on your own.
Portofino is considered by many yachtsmen to be the “world’s most beautiful small port.” From the sea, the entrance to town is a narrow waterway, usually crowded with yachts and sailboats. Tall cliffs rise steeply above the port, dotted with expensive villas and an imposing castle. Along the water, restaurants with outdoor tables and colorful umbrellas offer refuge to some of Europe’s wealthiest and most discerning pleasure-seekers.
Day 5 Calvi, France
The enigmatic beginnings of Christopher Columbus's past has prompted rumors of his true birthplace. Calvi is the site of one of these rumors. This is not fully provable, but it reveals the local transmission of Mediterranean folklore. Spanish and Roman influences have long contributed to the fortification of this French port city. Calvi is located on the coast of L'ille Rousse on the island of Corsica. Corsica is positioned between Spain and Italy in very close proximity to Sardinia. Romans resided on the island during the neolithic period. The Citadelle of Calvi is the central point of town. This 15th century fortress served as military outpost, tower and protected the city from intercontinental attacks. It created a picturesque and sturdy lot for the restoration of the governor's palace. Watch for brick walls, tunnels, and windy stairs throughout the city. The citadel is conveniently entered from rue Christopher Colomb, the main paved street in Calvi. Rue de Fil is a smaller side street off the quai Landry. It leads to the alleged birthplace of Christopher Columbus. Since Corsica was once a part of the Genoese empire, local authorities have rationalized Calvi as the potential, historical home of Columbus. In the course of visiting these historical attractions, you may incidentally become attracted to quai Landry. Quai Landry is the beachside main line of restaurants, shops, bars, and hotels. It connects the marina to the port along a beach walkway.
Day 6 Cannes, France
Cannes is the sister city to Beverly Hills and the chic epicenter of the French Riviera – a world of exclusive boutiques, palm-lined avenues, starlet-studded beaches, and elegant sidewalk cafes. While most famous for its Film Festival in May, when international celebrities gather to screen films and make deals, it glitters every month with swimming and sunning by day, and a club and casino scene by night.
Day 7 Monte Carlo, Monaco
The fairy-tale kingdom of Monte Carlo glitters with opulence and jet-set glamour, and the action centers around its famed casinos. Inside, under gilt-edged ceilings and ornate frescoes, fortunes are made or lost. Elsewhere in Monaco are the Prince’s Palace, from which the Grimaldi dynasty has ruled since 1297; the Cathedral where Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier; and the Rock of Monaco, where gardens cascade to the sea.
Day 8 Nice, France
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.