Italy

Cultural Travel, Italy and Cruising

If you have ever been to Italy, you know that it is a country filled with so many riches relevant to culture. Diverse topography, great regional food and ancient ruins that can send a person into another period of time. Whatever your passion is, Italy has a piece of it. Cultural Travel, Italy and Cruising go hand in hand, and there are some really wonderful cruises that explore Italy from the beautiful Mediterranean.

* Naples. This coastal city has a personality all its own, forged through centuries of seafaring culture. During your Italy cruise you can get a taste of the city’s famous pizza – considered by some to be the best in the world – as well as incredible fresh seafood. Nearby, you can explore the ruins of the city of Herculaneum. Like Pompeii, it was covered by ash when Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D., but this once-wealthy city is even better preserved.

* The Amalfi Coast. Connoisseurs of travel to Italy know that this is one of the most spectacular places to explore. Rocky cliffs plunge down into the sea, and dotted along them are elegant-yet-rustic towns and villages like Ravello and Amalfi, which capture the essence of Italian luxury and scenic beauty. Balance scenery with history on a visit to Villa Rufulo, the former home of a number of popes.

Amalfi Coast, Italy- photo by Edward Brims

So how do you see these amazing places via a cruise ship? Cultural travel, Italy and cruising are closer than you think. A cruise through Italy’s gems can be an enjoyable way to see this wonderful country from the outside in. If you have been to Italy, or perhaps considering a trip there, then explore cruises as a way to see this fabulous country with so many cultural experiences to lighten your way. Read the whole article about Italy’s cruises here.

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The Best of the Estruscans, Cultural Travel in Italy

For a long period of time, I had the image below as my desktop background. The image was so compelling to me because it exists inside of a tomb in Tarquinia, Italy, and represents the best of the Estruscans, a people who lived around 1000 to 500BC. Cultural travel in Italy is filled with journey’s to places like the “Tomb of the Leopards,” the fresco below that is painted on the tomb walls in a burial chamber at the Etruscan necropolis of Tarquinia. This painting is a wonderful example of how art connects us with history and cultures that are long gone. The Estruscans were interesting people who were in their glory around 500 BC. They had their own language, writing, and appeared to have a serious maritime presence in places like Sardinia and areas around the Aegean Sea. They fought wars with the Romans, and eventually were integrated into the Roman Culture. They lived on the coast of western Italy, and inland to the Appennine mountains.

Tomb of the leopards-Tarquinia

Tomb of the leopards-Tarquinia

 

The best of the Estruscans and cultural travel in Italy, includes an exploration into the beliefs and mythology of the Estruscans. The beliefs of the Estruscans embraced the idea that immanent power comes from the Divine, and that we, as humans and everything in the visible world around us are mere reflections and manifestations of the deities that reign over us. They believed in communication with the Divine to participate and persuade the ultimate power of the Divine and this is reflected in the burial practices and beliefs surrounding the afterlife.

Cultural travel in Italy to explore the Estruscans, and other cultural wonders can be a life changing moment. The Guardian has a wonderful article about Italy and includes the Estruscans:

On a hilltop just outside the town are these painted Etruscan burial chambers which inspired DH Lawrence to write what was to be his final, most heartfelt travelogue, Sketches of Etruscan Places. Although there are more than 6,000 tombs, only about 15 are open to visitors each day. The wall paintings are surprisingly celebratory, depicting scenes of dancing, music, feasting and sex! The town’s Tarquinia National Museum is devoted to Etruscan exhibits and sarcophagi excavated from the necropolis. Be sure not to miss the pair of winged horses from the pediment of a Tarquinian temple, one of the greatest Etruscan masterpieces ever discovered.
necropoliditarquinia.it, adults €8, children €4

Why not explore the best of the Estruscans in your cultural travels to Italy? While you are there you can visit all of the other wonderful places filled with history, art and great food. Read more about Italy in the full article in the Guardian here.

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Cultural Travel and Driving on a Cliff

Maybe cultural travel is a risky endeavor , but not as risky as driving on a sheer cliff. This is a clip of a video in Amalfi, Italy. But if you are a seasoned cultural traveler, you know that this kind of risky driving is everywhere, or nearly everywhere you go. Be sure to watch this one until the end because it gets really creative!

 

So there you go. Cultural travel and driving on a sheer cliff. Don’t let this deter you from picking up the phone and making those reservations to Amalfi, Italy. You’ll be glad you did!

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Cultural Travel to Architectural Wonders

Here is an image of Architecture that you may or may not recognize. Imagine when this structure was built. Cultural travel to architectural wonders such as this one, are all over the world.

Cloisters Amalfi, Italy

Cloisters Amalfi, Italy

 

This structure is a visual masterpiece, in Amalfi, Italy. What is amazing is the time in which it was constructed. The year was between 1266 and 1268. It is called the Cloister of Paradise, and it was built by Filippo Augustariccio. It was used as a burial ground for the nobel families of Amalfi. What a magnificent structure that transcends time. One can imagine the time of 1266, or 1267 with lemons growing on the sunny cliffs of Amalfi, and the sea shining ever so brightly as it does today. To read more about this place that renders great ceramics, paper and liquor, read more here.


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Cultural Travel to Coastal Paradise

Rarely does an image compel me to pick up the phone and check on airfares, but cultural travel to the coastal paradise of Amalfi, Italy is one such place. When looking at this image, I imagine sitting by the water eating some freshly made pasta with some fresh basil, and a warming bottle of red wine while listening to the water lapping against the seawall. Amalfi is on my list for cultural travel. What about you? Where is this sleepy little place tucked away? In 1953, John Steinbeck wrote a story about it called “Positano.”  Surrounded by the high contrast of sky and emerald sea, Amalfi is nestled into a ravine between high cliffs and 4,314 foot Monte Cerreto. The moment that Amalfi was illuminated in the trade industry was between 839 and 1200. I like to imagine being there then. Here is where Amalfi lies in the boot of Italy.

Amalfi, Italy

Amalfi, Italy

 

Amalfi coast-Photo by Fisticuffs

Amalfi coast-Photo by Fisticuffs

 

So, you might be thinking, why would one want to venture on cultural travel to coastal paradise? If the image is not compelling enough, or if you are thinking that it would not be suited for the whole family, then perhaps you should read an excerpt from this travel diary:

Forever will I picture my kids running through ancient gardens, playing music with locals, counting endless steps while hiking up the inset terraces along the coast, and asking our guides unending questions about local living. Add to that a visit to the local paper-making mill museum with the kids and it was a vacation worth its weight in gold for me and my extended family.

Ravello, a small village perched on the cliffs 1,000 feet above the sea, served as our home base from which we explored the area. Each morning at Villa Cimbrone, our decadent villa-hotel, began with a serene breakfast served out on the terrace. The panoramic views of the turquoise water and cliffs dotted with whitewashed villages, scents of lemon paired with fresh crusty bread and homemade citrus marmalade, created a symphony for the senses.

 

Now, are you reaching for the phone?  Read more about this delightful cultural travel diary in MSN’s travel  exclusive here.

Cultural travel to a coastal paradise is everyone’s dream of experiencing the tastes, smells, and visual splendor of the sun illuminating the crystal clear sea. There is no time like today to fulfill your travel dreams.

 

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