|without price: sunrise over Bonifacio,Corsica (photo by Mike Pierce)|
|a toast to readers around the world. Please leave a comment at the end|
One of the things I liked best about giving enrichment talks on cruise ships over these past 6 years was seeing how just a few tips and words of advice added to the experience and enjoyment of fellow passengers.
|Fulvio sharing Italian recipes with Maron|
After living in Italy for half a century researching, teaching, writing and publishing books, I have a lot of stories to tell and information to share.
Spreading the knowledge and my passion for Italy with fellow passengers made each journey more worthwhile.
I will be happy to respond to enquiries about the ports and cities visited during these maritime adventures throughout the winter. Just email me at macryan at alice dot com.
Here are my personal money saving tips for ports of the Western Mediterranean, beginning with Rome Civitavecchia where I am based.
My website and books are filled with detailed insider information on this area where, unfortunately, the local and port authorities continue to cause difficulties for passengers coming ashore for the day.
The information booth mentioned last year has disappeared and the free shuttle service in the giant port area finishes in early evening, causing crew and passengers to walk (or run) several miles back to their ships.
1. Civitavecchia/Rome- One of the best bargains in Italy is the BIRG (biglietto integrato regionale giornaliero) ticket which gives full transport to/from Rome for the entire day: the 12 euro price includes round trip (return) train for Rome plus the entire day on Rome’s buses and metro system.
|fun shopping at Civitavecchia market|
My talk on this area explains “The Mysterious Etruscans” and the area around Tarquinia. More about the area here . To find other info on the area, just type Civitavecchia into the search box.
Jan 01, 2012
Since two Bonaparte islands were on the most recent itinerary aboard a luxury cruise ship, I presented a talk based on original research “Elba, Corsica and the amazing Bonapartes “ which gave insight on Napoleon as well as his many siblings who ruled in central Italy. Elba’s green hills, Napoleon’s summer villa, Porto Azzurro and Portoferraio were lovely. I was surprised to learn that this latter town’s original name was Cosmopolis after Cosimo dei Medici.
|great drivers, both named Claudio with Fulvio and guide Dorothee|
2. Portoferraio, Elba offers a lively center with good restaurants, shopping and a tiny tourist train (only 5 euro ) for an overview of the town.
|proud cooks -both named Chris|
|a guest, the train conductor, and Fulvio on Elba|
3. Sorrento- get a full view of the town on the little white train, which plays Neapolitan music interspersed with tourist information. Several bars on Corso Italia offer free internet if you stop for a drink or sandwich.
To try and buy: limoncello and gelato on Via San Cesareo. Passengers who attended my talks on the area (Sorrentine peninsula, Capri’s gardens and the rediscovery of Herculaneum and Pompeii) were able to get a good background to the many possible sites to visit.
4. Genova- It’s easy to reach the historic center (Piazza Fontane Marose or Piazza de’ Ferrari) by public bus from the newly spruced up Cruise Terminal. Buy a 1.50 ticket from the Tabacchi shop inside the terminal and head straight out to the bus stop. The three palace museums (Palazzo Bianco, Palazzo Rosso and Palazzo Tursi) on Via Garibaldi offer a cumulative ticket to see Genova’s magnificence in art, antiques and architecture. If you only have a few hours, stay close to the Terminal and visit the new museums and Aquarium.
The Sicilian ports of Palermo and Messina are rarely mentioned. Do a bit of homework first in order to appreciate the multi layers of Sicily’s past. The introductory talk I usually give about the island , “Sicily- a Triangle of Treasures” , narrates the history, culture, cuisine and important historical characters.
5. Messina-Ships dock in a central location close to the main church ( Duomo). Be there at noon for the musical show provided the giant animated clock. If you are lucky you might see these dancers too. The tourist train leaves from this spot so grab a few cannoli at the nearby pasticceria and enjoy an overview of the town. Free internet and wi fi at cafes and bars near the dock.
|Roberto Chemi makes Taormina's best cannoli|
7. Livorno-At the tourist office just off Via Grande you can book great tours, including a canal boat tour of historic Livorno with multi lingual guides.
8. Napoli – Most important sites are within walking distance from the port including the Royal Palace while the Archeological Museum is a 20 minute uphill walk. Be sure to indulge in a pizza and keep an eye on your belongings.
|a gypsy wedding seen on Palma|
Beyond the Italian peninsula and islands many other Mediterranean ports beckon. If you visit Nice remember that before 1860 it was the Italian port of Nizza .
At Nice we anchored in the old port, just under the citadel hill and near Garibaldi’s birthplace. My talk, “Nice, a French town with an Italian accent” was about the historical Italian connections, and proved true even today for many Italians still make their homes here. Don’t miss the antiques area between the port and Rue Segurane, Gautier and Piazza Garibaldi.
9. Nice boasts a tourist train as well as hop on/ hop off bus tours through the old town and newer sections.
|Nice, bouquets at the flower market|
Lovely areas to visit include the flower and food markets on Cours Saleya and the winding alleyways of the old town. Best views are from the Citadel/Chateau which can be reached by elevator.
|Italian guys posing at Galerie G.R.,rue C. Segurane, Nice|
|Giuseppe Garibaldi's birthplace, Nice, old port|
Before arriving in Barcelona I gave some background of the city’s architecture ”From Gothic to Gaudì and beyond” . Don’t miss Gaudi’s Casa Mila ( better known as La Pedrera) and the unfinished masterpiece La Sagrada Familia.
|Sagrada Familia , Barcelona|
|on the rooftop of La Pedrera, Barcelona|
10. Barcelona –two different hop on/ hop off buses leave from the cruise terminal (World Trade Center). They are great value if you buy the ticket early in the day and do both the eastern and western sides of the city. Costs 20 euro or 18 euro with senior discount.
Please leave a comment and subscribe by leaving your email down at the bottom of this page. Feel free to share with friends by email and on Facebook, especially those about to take a Mediterranean cruise. You might like this website which has loads more insider tips.
Check my website NEWS page for up to date happenings, future talks, presentations.