Italy, a European country with a long Mediterranean coastline, has left a powerful mark on Western culture and cuisine. Its capital, Rome, is home to the Vatican as well as landmark art and ancient ruins. Other major cities include Florence, with Renaissance masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s “David” and Brunelleschi’s Duomo; Venice, the city of canals; and Milan, Italy’s fashion capital. Rome, Italy’s capital, is a cosmopolitan city with nearly 3,000 years of globally influential art, architecture and culture.
We visited Italy in April 2013, aboard a Mediterranean cruise, to celebrate Sheba’s 30th birthday and our engagement. Ronnie proposed in the Piazza San Marco square in Venice. Venice, the capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region, was built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It has no roads, just canals – including the Grand Canal thoroughfare. We explored this charming city on the water, through the canals on a gondola and visited sites such as St. Mark’s Basilica and the city’s many bridges. In Rome, we toured the Colosseum (one of the 7 Wonders of the World) and the Roman Forum. We also visited Sicily. Sicily, the largest Mediterranean island, is just off the “toe” of Italy’s “boot.” Lastly, we also explored Taormina, a hilltop town on the east coast of Sicily. It sits near Mount Etna, an active volcano with trails leading to the summit. The town is known for the Teatro Antico di Taormina, an ancient Greco-Roman theater still used today. Near the theater, cliffs drop to the sea forming coves with sandy beaches, a great spot for wonderful pictures.