Crossroads of Civilizations


Explore the waves of Mediterranean history as you cruise from Sardinia, Malta, Sicily, and Southern Italy.

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 Taormina, Italy  Taormina Piazza  Taormina, Sicily  Valletta, Malta  Monreale, Sicily  Selinunte, Italy  Erice, Sicily  Paestum, Italy  Paestum, Italy  Pompeii, Italy
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For thousands of years, waves of civilizations have passed over the lands of the Mediterranean, leaving their mark. For this exceptional voyage we have selected four destinations that are especially fascinating examples of this complex history: Sardinia, Malta, Sicily, and southern Italy. Sardinia is a remarkable island, with more than 7,000 prehistoric sites dating back nearly 4,000 years. In Malta, we visit the oldest site on the itinerary --a megalithic temple complex dating from 3150 b.c. Rugged yet beautiful, Sicily is one of Europe's most fascinating destinations, where visitors discover extraordinary archaeological sites and breathtaking natural beauty. We'll travel to the ancient town of Erice, dominated by a 12th-century Norman castle, and Palermo, with its tremendous artistic legacy. Our exploration ends in southern Italy, with excursions to either Pompeii or Paestum, an ancient city famed for its Doric temples --some of the best preserved ancient monuments in the Mediterranean.

Itinerary

April 20-21, 2015 — U.S., Rome, Italy, Civitavecchia, Embark

Fly from the U.S. to Rome, Italy. Upon arrival in Rome, transfer to Civitavecchia and embark Corinthian. (D)

April 22 — Cagliari, Sardinia, Su Nuraxi, Nora or Cagliari

Arrive in Cagliari, Sardinia's capital, built on a hill facing the sea. Disembark and drive to the village of Barumini to visit Su Nuraxi, Sardinia's most important and impressive nuraghic complex and a UNESCO Heritage of Humanity site.  After lunch aboard, spend time at leisure to explore Cagliari on your own, or take an excursion to Nora, whose ancient remains date from the Carthaginian and Roman periods. (B, L, D)

April 23 — Marsala, Sicily, Selinute and Motya, Marsala 

Take a morning excursion to Selinunte, Sicily's most westerly ancient Greek colony. A highland overlooking the sea provides a tranquil setting for the expansive ruins of what was once among the island's most progressive cities. Spend the afternoon at leisure in Marsala. Explore Motya, founded by Phoenicians in the 8th century b.c. Its museum exhibits superb sculptures. (B, L, D)

April 24 — Valletta, Malta

In the morning explore the Palace of the Grand Masters, the Co-Cathedral of St. John, and the National Museum of Archaeology. In the afternoon it's a short drive to the remarkable Tarxien Temples, which date back to 2800 b.c., and onto Hagar Qim, an even older temple that stands atop a hill on the southern edge of the island overlooking the sea. (B, L, D)

April 25 — Messina, Sicily, Italy, Taormina, Messina

Drive to the stunning small town of Taormina and visit the magnificent Greek theater, which offers dramatic views of Mount Etna (the largest active volcano in Europe) and the Sicilian coastline. Also enjoy time exploring Taormina's quaint streets and gardens on your own. (B, L, D)

April 26 — Palermo, Monreale, Palermo

Palermo became one of Europe's greatest cities by the 12th century under the Normans and has inherited a tremendous artistic legacy. A morning tour includes La Martorana church, noted for its beautiful mosaics, and the glorious Cappella Palatina (Palatine Chapel), one of Italy's finest works of art, featuring dazzling mosaics, an exquisitely carved ceiling, and inlaid marble floors and walls. In the afternoon, travel to the small medieval town of Monreale to visit its famed Norman Cathedral and elegant Cloister, with its magnificent series of mosaics. Return to Palermo in the late afternoon with time at leisure to wander its streets independently. (B, L, D)

April 27 — Salerno, Pompeii or Paestum, Salerno

From Salerno, choose an excursion to Pompeii, the Roman city both destroyed and preserved by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in a.d. 79. No other place so completely captures the character of life in the early Roman Empire. Alternatively, choose to visit Paestum, the ancient Poseidonia (City of Poseidon), which was founded by Greeks around 600 b.c. and later taken over by the Romans. Paestum is famed for its magnificent Doric temples, which are among the best preserved ancient monuments in the Mediterranean. (B, L, D)

April 28 — Civitavecchia, Disembark, Rome

Disembark and transfer to airport in Rome for return flights. (B)