Author Archives: Claudia

What to do in Ancona

Looking at the map and spotting Marche region you can see that Ancona is located right in the middle of the Adriatic coast. This feature makes it an important port for navigation on the Adriatic Sea you can reach by flight or by sea and above all thanks to the ferries. Ancona can be reached by both Croatia and Albania or Greece, but also many other destinations.

From the port you can already see the Arch of Trajan 115 AD, Apollodorus of Damascus, and the Mole Antonelliana built by Vanvitelli in 1733.

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Photo CC-BY-SA Claudio.stanco

On the Colle Guasco, in a position to dominate the city, there is the Cathedral, in Romanesque style showing Byzantine and Gothic influences. It was originally dedicated to St. Lawrence in the fourteenth century., It was dedicated to St. Ciriaco, the patron saint of the Maritime Republic. The Cathedral Museum houses the Roman sarcophagus of Gorgonio belonging to the fourth century.

In the National Archaeological Museum you can admired objects of Roman, Greek and Etruscan civilisation coming from the Iron age.

The Church of Santa Maria della Piazza is Romanesque and it was built in the eleventh century on top of the two previous churches respectively from V and VII centuries.

The Church of San Francesco delle Scale dates back to 1323 – it has been restored after 1972. The church has a beautiful Gothic-Venetian portal made in marble.
The Church of St. Dominic dates back to the eighteenth century and houses a marvellous work of Titian called the “Crucifixion.”

The Government House dates back as well around the fourteenth century. It was enlarged by Francesco di Giorgio Martini. Next to the Palace there is also the Civic Tower.

The coast of Ancona is full of beautiful sandy beaches. Heading towards south, a few kilometers from the city, there is the Conero promontory with its rocky outcrop. It interrupts the long line of well-lined beaches. Mount Conero overlooks the Adriatic Sea from a height of 572 m. The promontory offers a very picturesque landscape; in 1987, to preserve its heritage of flora and fauna, it was established here the Regional Park of Monte Conero. The symbols of the Conero are the stacks of the Two Sisters; near the stacks, there is the small village of Portonovo developed around the fortress which was erected in 1810 by Eugene de Beauharnais. Near the Napoleonic fortress, there is the Romanesque church of Santa Maria di Portonovo, from the eleventh century, mentioned by Dante in the twenty-first canto of Paradise.

Still not far from Ancona, and more specifically 25 km far from the town, there is the Sanctuary of the Holy House of Loreto, dedicated to Our Lady. According to popular tradition, the house of Mary of Nazareth was moved by the angels first on the Trsat Hill and then on the hill of Loreto. Here it was built the shrine which is visited daily by countless devotees, but not only, as there are many works of great artists to be admired. Construction began in 1468 and continued in the following centuries, with the intervention of great men such as, for example, Giuliano da Sangallo, Bramante and Andrea Sansovino.
Its original part is clearly Gothic, while the later ones are Renaissance and Baroque. Next to the monumental basilica you can visit the Treasure Room. Opposite the Sanctuary you will find the Apostolic Palace, headquarters of the Historical Archives and Museum and Gallery.

Whether you decide to stay and explore the city-centre in Ancona, or you decide to visit the surroundings, stopping in the picturesque places located on the coast or in the striking hill villages, you must try the local specialties and especially the excellent local wines such as the Rosso Conero or Bianchello Metauro together with some tasty local cheese and salami or some savoury meat enriched by a formidable truffle flavour!

Messina: curious facts and highlights

The city of Messina is best known for the Strait of Messina: all those who come from mainland regions, going from Calabria to Sicily, pass necessarily from the strait.

In fact, every day, all the time, boats and ferries transport people (click here), cars, trucks and general goods from one bank to the other . No longer afraid of the monsters Scylla and Charybdis told by Greek mythology: the legend says that both of these sea monsters controlled the strait and did sink the boats that dared challenge navigating these waters.

messina

Photo Public Domain

The strait then connects Reggio Calabria to Messina, but it is not the only link between the two cities: the story unites both in the Greek origins that in the past the Roman domination, the Byzantine, Norman and Spanish. The same fate stroke the two cities even during the terrible earthquake of 1908, when both were destroyed, but the people pledged themselves to the point that the reconstruction was very quick. Another point in common between the two cities of the Straits, is a very pleasant one, this time. It is the delicious swordfish caught in their waters and cooked on the two coasts in a equally sublime way.

The coast to the north of Messina offers beautiful sandy beaches and so far there is nothing strange. However, what is curious is the name of some of these areas such as: Peace, Contemplation and Paradise! It is true that, when you come here, you can stay in the “contemplation” in front of the fantastic view (looking over the blue sea, you can perfectly see the coast of Calabria), enjoy “peace” and tranquility and feel in “paradise” ! The latter name belonged to the property of a noble which is nestled in beautiful gardens and citrus groves, where was once the meeting point of  many personalities; the name was later extended to the whole area. The name of Contemplation is instead probably due to Our Lady of Contemplation church nearby.

If you go from Messina to the extreme north-east side of the Strait, meaning up to Capo Peloro or Punta del Faro, where the Tyrrhenian Sea meets the Ionian Sea, there are two lakes. The largest, that is, the lake of Ganzirri, is called Pantano Grande. The smallest, that is, the Lake of Faro, is called Pantano Piccolo. These lakes, connected to the sea by canals, have a strong bio diversity character and  this feature made them become a protected area. Already in the nineteenth century  it was discovered that the lakes could produce a great source of wealth and what today we would call “sustainable business” for the inhabitants of the area. We are talking about the delicious local mussel. In fact, exactly around that time it was discovered how to farm clams and mussels. Currently this activity continues especially in the Pantano Piccolo.

The city of Messina has hosted many celebrities, especially artists: the famous painter Caravaggio stayed in Messina by the end of 1608 to summer 1609,after being in Syracuse. His great mind was certainly inspired by this beautiful city, since that time was very fruitful from an artistic point of view for the painter. He received a number of orders, both by private clients and some from public bodies. From his staying in Messina, he left two fantastic testimonies: the Adoration of the Shepherds and the Resurrection of Lazarus. These two wonderful works can be admired in the halls of the Regional Museum, where there are also the works by Antonello da Messina.

It is wrong to think of the city of Messina simply as a place of passage; it is worth instead to take your time to discover fully and enjoy this fantastic resort at its best.

New Year in Algeria

How do you plan to start the new year? You have no desire to endure the monotony of the usual dinners, dances and collateral events?

What do you think instead to plunge yourself into a completely different reality to be discovered?

Algeria can offer so many new emotions. It is the largest nation in North Africa. To the west there is Morocco, Tunisia to the east, south Mali and Niger, to the north, of course, the Mediterranean Sea. Click here to book a ferry to Algeria.

The Algerian landscape changes completely if you travel from the sea to the south of the country: it goes from the beaches of the coastal cities to the Atlas mountains to get to the Sahara desert and Hoggar area.

If you fear too big a change you can spend New Year in the capital Algiers, for example, which has many features almost similar to those of other European capitals, but it is also able to give you the new flavor of the Algerian culture.

Other coastal cities, such as Oran, Annaba and Skikda, are slightly less “international” than the capital but, given the large number of tourists that come to you every day, they are still equipped to interest and entertain their visitors.

Walking through the narrow streets around the stalls of the colorful souks, you have to admire fabrics, jewelery and carpets and pervaded by the smells and scents of spices, to enjoy a small part of Arab culture.

This culture is also found on the premises offering traditional cuisine (obviously couscous, the various tajines, the kefta, etc …)

Instead, for what concerns the discotheques, it must say that the choice is not very wide. In fact, are the most popular nights or dancing type piano bar also organized by most hotels.

Moving from the coast, is the town of Constantine is one of the cities most fantastic landscape from the point of view: Imagine a city between the sky and the rock, with fantastic bridges that seem suspended in the air. Each of these bridges offers an incredible sight to travelers to Constantine: the Sidi Rached Bridge, the Bridge Sidi M’Cid, the Pont des Chutes, one is the best.

Completely changing scenario, you can also think, if you are very adventurous, to go down to the south, and thus spend New Year’s in the desert. But it must point out that, for the Berbers, the New Year is not celebrated between December 31 and January, but almost two weeks after.

The possibilities for excursions in the Sahara are many – usually they are done in 4 × 4, mounting the fields for the night. Here there is no room for improvisation, one should rely to the right organizers for everything related to the path, if you do not want to risk that the adventure turns into disaster.

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Photo CC-BY-SA in Mainam123456

You may for example be up to Tamanrasset (Tamenghest) and from there you will be willing to leave for one of the various paths, or start from the oasis of Djanet Touareg which is the perfect starting point for travel to the Acacus mountainous area. Here the show is absolutely fantastic: imagine immense sand dunes as high as 200 meters alternating with rocks of all shapes.

Another possibility, even more extreme, however, could be interesting only to those who already mountaineering expert: meaning to spend New Year in the volcanic area of ​​the plateau of Haggar, under Mount Tahat, the highest peak throughout Algeria, and later dedicated their passion.

One thing is certain, the new beginning of the year will be anything but boring!

What to see in Patras – Greece

Do you already know Patras? We know that in Greece (click here to find a ferry) there are beautiful places where to find not only fun and relax but also everything that helps to expand your knowledge; Patras is just part of these interesting places from all points of view.

This city is indeed ideal if the vacation aim is also to absorb all the culture and tradition of the Greek people (of Patras indeed was, back in 2006, an European Capital of Culture).

Get to Patras is very simple, especially from Italy as there are numerous well-connected with the ports of Patras.

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Photo CC-BY-SAEusebius

This important city of Northern Peloponnese is located in West Greece, the Ionian Sea, and is the capital of the Achaia region. It is about 2 and a half hours drive from the capital Athens.

One of the characteristics of this area is undoubtedly the long bridge that passes over the Gulf of Corinth, the RION ANTIRION “CHARILAOS TRIKOUPIS”,  also nicknamed the “Poseidon Bridge”. It is a modern bridge, 2883 m long, which combines Patras, and more specifically Rio, in Antino, so connecting the Peloponnese to mainland Greece.

Among the many museums the city boasts we include: the Archaeological Museum, located in Karamandani house, the Ethnographic Historical Museum and the Folk Museum, all extremely interesting.

The Byzantine Castle, on Panachaikos mountain, was built in the sixth century on the ancient acropolis; from here you have a wonderful view on the Islands Kefalonia and Zakynthos. In the Castle, which is accessed by a long flight of steps, they are held various theatrical shows and events, especially in summer.

One of the most important events of Patras is the International Festival; It takes place at the Odeon Romano offering 2300 places.

The other event that attracts large numbers of people in the city is the Carnival of Patras, one of the oldest (over 150 years) and the most important, and not only in Greece, but worldwide, and it is comparable to the Venice Carnival.

Another festival is dedicated to the city’s patron, Saint Andrew, and celebrated on November 30. There are 2 churches dedicated to him: the first was built in 1840, the second one, very large, was built in 1974.

The Church of the Pantocrator is located in the charming old town.

The port area, which is located near the train station, it is not just a passing-by location but also it offers cultural cues – there is infact also an open air theater closeby.

The neo classic Apollon Opera  dates back to 1872.

As for beaches, if you prefer a family friendly one, there is the Lambiri beach, located east of the city. If you want fun, even at night, the Rio’s beachfront, 8 km from the center, is more suitable; Here, as well as places, there is also a small casino.

If you depart instead from Patras, is one of the most popular beaches of Achaia coast, the beach of Kalogria beach also called the Nun; here are also the most reserved spots where to practice naturism. Also in Kalogria, there is to see only walled Mycenaean Acropolis in Western Greece, the Dymaeans Wall.

If you want to explore the surroundings of Patras, it can, for example, up to Kalavryta, a mountain center can be reached by a small cog train.

The Amalfi Coast by motorbike

If you have not made the rounds of the Amalfi Coast in motion, you are missing one of the best experiences a motorcyclist can do. So hurry up to plan this itinerary for the next holiday or for a weekend!

You could, for example, coming from Naples, take the exit for the coastal (Castellammare di Stabia), and, before going to Sorrento (the Amalfi Coast is in fact only part of the Sorrento peninsula, namely the southern coast), drive a few kilometers more to visit the town of Gragnano, famous for its pasta IGP. Here you are spoiled for choice among the many business that produce pasta, to visit them and find out the various stages of the process, with the ultimate prize that consists in the tasting of a nice plate of steaming macaroni!

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Photo CC-BY 3.0 Paolo Costa Baldi

Therefore go on towards Sorrento and, before you get there, from above, you will have a wonderful view of the bay. Here it is a must stop and admire the scenery, maybe even doing some pictures. If you are lucky, at this vantage point there is also a cart with the famous lemons from Sorrento: trust us, you will taste the best  granita in the world.

Now down to the city center; parked your bike, it is recommended to visit the Cathedral, filled with paintings and marble bas-reliefs. If you have time, you can also visit the Capo di Sorrento, a small town nestled among vineyards and gardens.

Broken down thus towards Positano, and here be prepared mentally to the amazing view that awaits you at the end of a turn: houses displaced on terraces between citrus groves and gardens, to the sea, a landscape impossible to describe, as it’s stunning. In Positano, besides admiring the magnificent dome covered with majolica of the Church of the Assumption, you can also take the ferry to the Isle of Capri.

Once started again your trip you will still appreciate travelling by bike, first because the road is narrow, then bescause you can fully admire the view on the left and right of the mountain, while looking down  the sea will flash you with its  blue gorgeous.

After the small village of Praiano, it comes Amalfi which offers almost the same fantastic show of Positano: houses perched on the mountain to the sea. Here, in addition to the Cathedral, with its grand staircase, it is interesting to go the Civic Museum, which preserves the oldest navigation code, the “Tabula Amalphitana”. You can also go by boat to visit the Emerald Cave.

Again on the road, past the pretty Atrani, overlooking the sea and wedged between walls of rock, and continue in the direction of Vietri sul Mare.

Reaching Vietri is a must for taking a ride in the numerous shops where they are exposed in plain sight the traditional tiles that as early as the ninth century were transported in all ports of the Mediterranean. There is also, not far from Vietri, the Ceramics Museum, which exhibits magnificent Vietri ceramics produced already in 1600.

This tour of the Amalfi Coast in motion is going to end, you can already see in the distance the city of Salerno, and certainly the remembrance of the landscapes will be everlasting. This route should be done only one final consideration: the lodgings on the coast are quite expensive, especially in summer, from June to September, and the cheaper ones are now overbooked, then it would be better to get your booking on time.

Cagliari: what to see

We want to introduce you to Cagliari, a perfect city for those who want to discover and enjoy the best of Sardinian culture.

Sardinia (a fab location easy to reach by ferry) is a lot more in spite of the trendy clubs and luxury yachts, and in recent years finally this wonderful region is appreciated for what it is: a land full of natural beauty, culture and traditions.

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Photo CC-BY-SA Hans Peter Schaefer

Cagliari is the capital of Sardinia; it is a modern city located in the South of the island, in a wide gulf between Capo Teulada and Capo Carbonara. The town sits on a hill, and extends to the sea. The port has a great role in the local economy has always covered. Tourism is currently a great resource for Cagliari, which is very well connected, and with other localities of the island, which with the most important cities of the Tyrrhenian and Mediterranean coasts.

In prehistoric times this area was inhabited; the testimonies of the human presence already at that time have been found in the caves of Cape St. Elias, St. Bartholomew and Poetto.

The Sardinian landscape is increasingly reminiscent of the Nuragic civilization; a visit to the National Archaeological Museum is the first step to better understand the reality of Sardinia. Here you can be admired finds from the copper and iron ages, as well as various objects of Phoenician eras, Punic, Greek and Roman. It can really tell that the museum contains two millennia of history.

The Roman Amphitheatre, with its staircase, bears witness to the presence of the Romans in the third century, as well as the Tigellio house, located not far from the amphitheater, which is close to the Botanical Gardens. The stones of the Roman ruins have been in the past reused in the construction of the various churches.

Inside the cathedral, there is a mix of various historical periods: its construction dates back to the buckets. XII-XIII and style is Romanesque-Pisan. The pulpit is medieval and comes from the Cathedral of Pisa. There are works by the Flemish painter Gerard David; the crypt of the Sardinians protomartyrs is carved into the rock, and there are also the tombs of the princes of the House of Savoy.

The churches are very interesting to visit, as the Church of S.Saturnino, also called the SS.Cosma and Damian, from the fifth century, which is the oldest Christian monument in the whole of Sardinia; it is one of the most remarkable remains of early Christian art in the Mediterranean basin.

Very impressive also the Shrine of Bonaria, a building of the fourteenth century dedicated to Our Lady of Bonaria, the protector of sailors. Inside is a beautiful painting by a Spanish painter “Crucifixion”.

The old city fortifications include the Elephant Tower, built in the early fourteenth century, the Tower of San Pancrazio by 1305, and the Bastion of St.Remy (Terrace Umberto I), with its monumental staircase.

On one side and the other of the city there are the salt pans, always important parts for the city’s economy; adjacent ponds are occupied by thousands of birds: when they fly, they offer an unforgettable show.

If you have the opportunity to drive around, just 14 km from Cagliari, in the hinterland, there is the city of Assemini, very well known for its pottery.

Here we have only a few examples of interesting things to see in the beautiful city of Cagliari, but, once there, it will be easy to discover many more locations and attractions!

Almafi Coast: Christmas markets and wonderful cribs

Campania is surely the most impressive region to visit  during the Christmas period. If it is true that the city of Naples attracts tourists and travelers who can admire wonderful cribs in San Gregorio Armeno, there is one place, however, that in the same period is even more impressive!

We are talking about the Amalfi coast (click here to book a ferry). In fact, especially in the evening, the coastal landscape already resembles….a crib!

Amalfi, Positano and Praiano are indeed amazing towns lost between sea and mountains, with their colorful houses perched on the cliffs, and they offer a unique show, especially to those coming to visit from the sea.  This amazing landscape can  be rightly considered one of the most beautiful in the world.

Over the whole coast they begin to prepare for Christmas arranging lights and many celebrations all starting from December 8th. This is a period when it also begins the Christmas markets and various events are planned ranging between the most sacred one and a more mundane offer. Solemn hurch events are mixed with theater, prose, poetry, concerts.

In Positano, exactly in the historic Piazza dei Mulini, the traditional craft market will take place in this period of the year. Here you can admire all of the nativity figures. Ranging from the simplest characters to the most complex one, they can be admired and even purchased. Here you will find also on display the typical pottery and the paper products of this area. Paper-making activities was once upon a time, on the coast, a very important  activity. You can also taste many of the typical products coming from the Campania tradition, like the famous Christmas sweets called “struffoli”; they are made of sweet fried dough balls plunged in honey and decorated with colorful confetti.

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Photo CC-BY 4.0 JeCCo

The bagpipe is an ancient musical instrument also used in Campania, not only in Scotland! The pipers are part of all Italian nativity scenes, particularly those from Campania. The real pipers still nowadays will parade and play in the streets and squares of Amalfi, Tovere, Pogerola, Lone, Pastena and Vettica during the Christmas period.

The town of Pogerola is famous for its Christmas cribs. There are statues of shepherds dating back to 700 a.c.

In Ravello, on the other hand, there are beautiful cribs made of…coral.

The Grotto of Fornillo, in Positano, contains one of the most fantastic cribs in the world; one would say that he is always there because it just seems to be part of the rock.

For many years the divers put the child Jesus’ statue in the incredible underwater crib of the Emerald Cave.

In many events between Christmas and the Epiphany, those that attract the largest number of visitors are certainly the living cribs that can be admired in various locations.

The Nativity is obviously reproduced in all the churches; among the most admired is  the Church of the Carmine nativity crib in Atrani.

All the churches of this area are very nice to visit, and not just for the cribs: in Positano, the Church of the Assumption has a spectacular dome covered with tiles.

The Amalfi Duomo still has the original door made cast in Constantinople in 1066 and, from the Cathedral, you enter the Cloister of Paradise.

One of the most heartfelt traditions is the blessing of little children (each brings his statue of the Infant Jesus to be blessed before being put in their own crib made at home).

Amalfi was the first of the Italian maritime republics and its naval power of the past is witnessed by the remains of the Arsenal which was a grandiose Gothic building. Today, looking at the sea, you can see an incredible number of boats, yachts and ferries, all year round.

Algeria’s typical dishes

We can not speak of traditional Algerian culture and lifestyle without first making a premise: Algerian cuisine boasts many differences between the coastal areas, therefore you can find the same diversity among the big cities such as the capital Algiers, and all the inland area; in the latter we can taste the real cuisine of Maghreb, without contamination. In coastal cities, however, the French cuisine has influenced a little all the traditional Algerian dishes. Not to mention the fact that, to satisfy all the tourists who arrive daily in Algiers and in other tourist cities, some restaurants even offer international cuisine.

However, even in these big cities, there are many restaurants that prepare traditional dishes exclusively belonging to Algerian tradition.

Of course, the couscous is somewhat “inevitable”, as in Morocco and Tunisia. In Algeria, the couscous is called KSEKSOU; then, according to the various ingredients, it can be a MASFOUF, a BARKOUKESS, etc…

We find flour as main ingredient of couscous in many other typical dishes, such as soups or desserts. One of these is the RFISS which is made from semolina, walnuts, dates, butter and orange blossom; then there is the KHFAF which is a semolina cake which, with the addition of honey, magically becomes the TAMMINA.

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Photo CC-BY-SA Wicanto

Again with the flour in ALGERIA they do MAHDJOUBA, coming with a filling of tomatoes and peppers; the semolina pancakes are called BAGHRIR.

The vegetables, especially in the period of Ramadan, are the main ingredients of many soups, but also of many salads as for example that of grilled peppers, the FELFA, or the mixed pickled vegetables called TBIKHA .

As for the meat, it can be cooked in various ways, but the most traditional preparation is stewing it with vegetables, in suitable pans  called Tajines from which also comes the name of these dishes.

The meat is the main ingredient of meatballs, always very spicy, which can be chicken, the MHAVET, or lamb, the METEWAN. The KEFTA look very much like hamburgers.

The chicken meat is prepared in many ways, and each dish has its own name: the YAHNI is the fried chicken; the stew chicken with chickpeas is called CHETITHA DJEDJ, the stew with egg and lemon is called SFERIA; instead RECTHA  indicates a dish of chicken and semolina.

All of these savory dishes are accompanied by the Algerian bread, which is prepared without yeast, and usually cooked on the plate; normally during lunch they not used the cutlery, as the bread is precisely used to take food from large serving dishes.

Algeria is the motherland of a typical drink made of fermented milk and is called LBEN; this drink usually accompanies the sweets. One of these sweets is the TCHARAK, a croissant stuffed with almond paste.

Other traditional drinks are coffee, prepared in the Turkish way, or tea  -usually mint tea. Algerian wines are excellent, both the whites and the reds and rosés ones; some of the best wines are produced in wineries located in the western region of Algeria, in the provinces of Oran and Algiers.

Bon voyage then and have a good tasting in Algeria (click here to book a ferry)!

Savona: 10 things to do and see

Everyone knows the “Riviera dei Fiori”, or at least have heard about; but do you know as well the Italian Riviera? Maybe not; the city of Savona is located right here, on what is also called the western Ligurian Riviera. This whole area of ​​Liguria, the Italian Riviera and the “Riviera delle Palme”, has always been appreciated by travelers from around the world, and rightly so, given the extreme beauty of the coast.

Savona is an important tourist port, and a nice city: although full of animation and fun, it is still fairly quiet. At the port daily cruise ships, ferries (click here) and luxury private yachts arrive every day. The story of Savona dates back to ancient times, and the city retains the testimonies of those time still nowadays. It is very pleasant to stroll through its streets and it is simply amazing to relax on its beautiful beaches.

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Photo CC-BY-SA 3.0 Luciano Chiarenza

Here is a small list of beauty, not to be missed, of this city:

The Church of St. John the Baptist has been built in Baroque style and it is full of paintings and statues of the sixteenth and seventeenth century. The interior of the Church of SS. Annunziata is as well Baroque. The Church of SS. Conception is from the eighteenth century.

– The Cathedral of the XVI century and its facade is of Baroque style. Nearby is the Sistine Chapel, with its rococo interior, built by Pope Sixtus IV.

– Savona has many ancient buildings: the elegant “Palazzo della Rovere” is located in the old city; It was built in 1495 by Giuliano di Sangallo. The Gavotti Palace houses the Public Library which contains more than 85,000 volumes and many precious manuscripts. In the Bishop’s Palace is a fourteenth century Cloister and Diocesan Museum.

– The Priamar Fortress is located in a strategic position overlooking the city and harbor. Its construction dates back to 1542; now the structure houses the Archaeological Museum and it is also home to cultural activities and events such as concerts and exhibitions. In front of the fort you can admire the sculpture “The Rose in the Desert.”

– To access the port, dating from the twelfth century, we pass by the Tower of Leon Pancaldo. This tower facing the sea is the symbol of Savona and is called simply “The Tower”. The original name was Tower of Quarda, a name later changed in honor of Leon Pancaldo, Savona famous captain who joined Magellan in his travels.

– Ca. 7 km from Savona there is the Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy, which is a Basilica; the interior is sumptuously decorated. In the close museum there are vestments, gold and sculptures.

Albissola Marina, which is located 5 km from Savona, is a tourist destination also known for the traditional art of pottery. The most beautiful collections of this crafts are preserved in the Museum of Ceramics is located in Villa Faraggiana. In the Church of Our Lady of the Concordia you can admire a Nativity of 1576 made all of ceramic tiles.

The Spotorno resort is 13 km far from Savona; the island of Bergeggi, home to a tenth-century monastery, is located right in front of the town. The island is also a nature reserve.

– In Noli, which is 15 km from Savona, you can admire remarkable medieval remains, such as the Romanesque Church of S.Paragonio of the twelfth century. Inside there are medieval and Gothic tombs and sarcophagi.

– Following the direction to Imperia, just after the city of Noli, you will be enchanted by Malpasso; this stretch of coastline offers an extraordinary view because here the rocks take on a beautiful rosy, unique hue.

Happy New Year in Croatia

Croatia during New Year can satisfy everyone: it is certainly great to be able to choose one among the amazing Croatian destinations. You can decide how to kick off the new year in the best way here! If you prefer the North-West coast of Croatia, there is the city of Rijeka; again going north, but in the inner area, there is the capital Zagreb. Back on the coast, you can find the city of Umag, and then Zara, on the far South, Split.

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Photo CC-BY-SA Marianocecowski

Do you want to go to the mountains and enjoy the ski resorts? In Croatia, the offer is wide; you can for example go close the capital, in the ski resort of Sljeme (Medven) where you can go skiing and snowboarding. Near the city of Rijeka is the Platak station, a small location but ready to host tourists with all the necessary equipment. Near the border with Bosnia and close to the Risnjak National Park, there is the ski area of PETEHOVAK (Delnice).

To start the year there are also relaxing spas and many hotels with spas to choose all over the Croatian territory.

If you want to celebrate New Year in the square, mingling with many other people, then the capital Zagreb is perfect; you will dance and enjoy fully music and you can admire the show put up by the fireworks.

The city of Zadar is very interesting from a cultural point of view, starting from its churches, like the Church of San Donato in Byzantine style or the St. Anastasia Cathedral built in Romanesque style. There are numerous museums and the old town is particularly impressive with its ancient walls surrounding it.

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Photo CC-BY-SA 2.5 Böhringer Friedrich

The old town of Umag isalso embraced by its historic walls; you can visit the Cathedral, the Church of Santa Maria and the Castle once there.

If you appreciate the sea in winter and free beaches equipped with beach chairs and umbrellas, you can discover the beauty of new landscapes and enjoy the pleasure of walking in absolute peace. The Croatian coast is beautiful, from north to south, and you pass by the pine woods to the cliffs with among the many sandy beaches. Whether it’s river, Umag, Zadar or Split, each city offers beautiful coastal scenery.

Croatian islands are countless and form real archipelagos; from the largest to smallest, they are all spectacular. Among the largest are: the island of Brac and Hvar, in front of Split; the island of Cres and the island of Krk, in front of river, and the island of Pag in front of Zadar.

The natural parks are an highlight of Croatia, and if you love nature, you will certainly discover them all, perhaps as a family. One of the most famous is the National Park of the Plitvice Lakes.

Throughout Croatia accommodation facilities offer the best for celebrating the New Year’s Eve, and most of them also boast traditional cuisine dishes.

The lamb is a must in the festive menu, but also pork or beef are part of the typical Croatian dishes. In the North you will taste janjetina Peka (lamb under a baking lid); on the Dalmatian coast it is much appreciated Pasticada (beef stew). In the areas of Istria there is the Prsut which is a smoked ham with a unique taste. The traditional desserts are the sweet crepes Palacinke; a typical liquor is the Maraschino which is a distillate made from cherries.

So have a good trip and Happy New Year in Croatia! To get to Croatia by ferry click here.