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The Cinque Terre Five miles of rocky coast in eastern Liguria, two promontories lie at each extremity, thousands of kilometres of dry walling, cultivated into vineyards, five southerly villages castled up on spurs of stone or disposed in clusters of very small inlets. These are the co-ordinates of the Cinque Terre (Five lands) and the villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. The area is now a National Park and since 1997 a UNESCO protected territory as a system of naturalistic environmental interest. This zone is characterized by the presence of precipitous slopes which have been cultivated into vineyards by means of fatiguing system of terracing the only evidence of transformation operated by the laborious human activity on the territory. The suggestive type of coastal projections on the sea with sheer cliffs that often overtake the verticality alternated with bays, winding paths and enchanting small beaches between cliffs with a profound back drop, a rich variety of ichthyic (fishing) all of which make this district an authentic natural "opera of art".
Positano & Amalfi Coast
Amalfi Coast Amalfi Coast is made of thirteen towns along the road that goes from the Gulf of Salerno to that of Naples. Creeks, coves and cliffs on the sea: the variegated landscape enchants all the visitors that come to these towns, Vietri sul mare, Cetara, Maiori, Minori, Ravello, Scala, Praiano, Atrani, Positano, Amalfi, Conca dei Marini, Furore and Tramonti. Each of these towns has its treasure made of lemons, villas, gardens, sea, beaches, smells. The landscape is made of sea and mountains, with creeks and coves often attainable only by sea, such as the wonderful cave, grotta dello Smeraldo in Conca dei Marini and Furore fiord. In some areas nature is completely uncontaminated. The area is occupied by Lattari Mountains, of calcareous nature: the highest mountain is Monte S. Angelo a Torre Pizzi (1425 m). The Coast is characterised by the typical cultivations on the terraced land where the most important product is lemon and other citruses. Lemons are mostly sweet; they can also be eaten in slices, as a dessert, with or without sugar. A legend tells that the inhabitants of Minori convinced the Pope to give them back the bishopric giving him as a present a basket with lemons and other citruses. Lemons are used for cakes and to make the "limoncello", a traditional yellow liqueur famous all over the world.
Positano On one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the province of Salerno, at the center of the gulf formed by Germano tip to the west and Cape Sottile to the east, on two mountain slopes, stands Positano, in a splendid panoramic position. Positano is one of the most interesting places on the Amalfi coast. The center of the town is enchanting: among the delightful white or pastel-colored houses, stands the parish church of Santa Maria Assunta, with its splendid majolica dome. Positano combines the beauty of its numerous beaches, with the fascination of its ancient fishing port and lanes crowded with quaint colorful shops. Positano is a “vertical” village. Houses are organized as a coloured cascade along the hills. They are built on the rocks and look towards the blue sea, the narrow streets and the clean and nice beaches. Positano is situated among three small valleys, in the middle between Punta Germano and Capo Sottile, at the feet of Lattari Mountains. In front of the coast there are three small isles, forming an archipelago, called “Li Galli” or “Sirenuse”: according to a legend mermaids lived there. The most beautiful church of Positano is the one dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption, celebrated on 15th August.
On one of the most famous stretches of the coastline, in a splendid panoramic position, stands Amalfi, one of the most fascinating towns in the Campania region. The town preserves important evidence of its prestigious past: the cathedral, dedicated to St. Andrew, dominating the square of the same name from above steep steps, the Paradise cloister, a construction in Arabian-style dating to the thirteenth century and the ruins of the Arsenal of the Republic. The imposing nature of these buildings, the fascination of typically Mediterranean architecture, made up of mazy lanes and characteristic white houses piled one upon the other, the natural beauty of the place, make Amalfi one of the most famous Italian resorts.
Santorini is one of the cycladic islands, created by the eruption of the volcano 1500 B.C. (thought by some to have brought about the end of the Minoan civilization and speculated by some as the famous island of Atlantis). Due to this, the island offers a versatile landscape with on the one hand steep darkish rock formations and on the other hand beaches and small white villages. Besides that, there are several interesting monuments and the active volcano of course. Thira offers, besides remnants from several eras, ruins of the old Roman baths, theatres and markets.
Santorini is a group of islands in a circle about 10 KM across - the rim of a large volcano that is still producing small islands in the center. Steep slopes lead to the central area and gentle slopes lead to the sea that circles the island. It's really a group of islands even though it is usually discussed as if it were one. Settlements are scattered around the island as a series of small villages.
The famous white buildings are huddled close to one another on and over the cliff of the central caldera. Hiking paths and trails lead all over the island, but a charming time can be had walking the paths that interconnect the settlements and exploring the shops. Visitors can take ferry boats to the central island(s) to visit the new land and soak in hot springs.
Venice is perhaps best described as "half fairy tale and half tourist trap," as noted by the novelist Thomas Mann. The city can fulfill many visitors' vision of it: a romantic place with quiet, winding streets and canals, and treasures like St. Mark's Square, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and the islands of Murano and Burano. With its unique location, below sea level and crisscrossed by a network of canals, Venice attracts visitors from all over the world throughout the year. Venice is by day a bustling city populaterd by pedestrians moving about the walkways and across the numerous bridges while all forms of boat traffic and water buses traverse the hundreds of waterways and the Grand Canal. History, architecture, culture, art, shopping and gerat food all combine to make this other-woldly place a truly memorable place to visit.
Dingle Penninsula in Southwest Ireland The dramatic beauty of the Dingle Peninsula has been an inspiration and a wonder to artists and visitors for hundreds of years. Once described by the National Geographic Traveler as “the most beautiful place on earth”, the Dingle Peninsula is a place of intense allure, with a plethora of green landscapes, rocky hills, long sandy beaches and staggering cliff edges. The warm Gulf Stream reaches the peninsula, giving has a wonderful mixture of sometimes rare and unusual flora and fauna. There is no other landscape in Western Europe with the density and variety of archaeological monuments as the Dingle Peninsula. This mountainous finger of land which juts into the Atlantic Ocean has supported various tribes and populations for almost 6,000 years. Because of the peninsula's remote location, and lack of specialized agriculture, there is a remarkable preservation of over 2,000 monuments. Dingle is one of Ireland’s Government-protected Irish (Gaelic)-speaking areas, called “Gaeltachts”. Dingle's Irish name is Daingean Uí Chúis which, to fit on signposts, is generally abbreviated to An Daingean. The Dingle Peninsula is also associated with the film industry. Ryan’s Daughter was filmed here, as were parts of Far and Away, which starred Tom Cruise .
St. Lucia is a natural paradise offering wonderful scenery along with characteristic Carribean cultural flavor. The small island of St. Lucia resembles the islands of the South Pacific. St Lucia has a great variety of plant and animal life. Orchids and exotic plants grow wild in the rainforest while roadsides are covered with many tropical flowers. Colorful tropical birds abound, including endangered species like the indigenous St Lucia parrotas well as hummingbirds and the St. Lucia Oriole.
The twin Pitons are the island's majestic and distinctive ancient volcanic mountain landmarks. Steep coastlines, beaches of various shades of sands, fishing villages, antique plantation houses and remanants of long-forgotten sugar mills and the rainforest preserves of St. Lucia's mountainous interior offer one of the Caribbean's finest locales for painting in a moderate year-round climate. Areas of particular interest include Viex Fort & Laborie in the south, Praslin Bay & Dennery on the rugged east coast, and Soufriere, the Pitons and natural and scenic locations on the west coast.