0 comments on “3 Hidden Mediterranean Jewels
 

3 Hidden Mediterranean Jewels
 

While the museums of Florence, the ancient ruins of Rome, the Ramblas in Barcelona and so many other top attractions in these countries are worth visiting multiple times, culture-rich Italy and Spain are both overflowing with plenty of other authentic must-visits for those who have traveled extensively. Here are several stunning off-the-beaten-path picks for those seasoned travelers looking for that exhilarating feeling of discovering a hidden gem for the very first time.

Orvieto-ItalyOrvieto, Italy: Medieval Gem
Available from Rome
Experience Italy as it’s rarely experienced with a trip to this fortified medieval town perched atop a hillside in Umbria with vineyards, olive groves and Cypress trees blanketing the valleys below. Once a citadel of the Etruscans, Orvieto remains a medieval treasure – there has barely been any new construction since the 14th century. The Duomo di Orvieto, adorned with a dazzling mosaic façade visible from miles all around, is arguably one of the most gorgeous in Italy. This mesmerizing Gothic cathedral dates to 1290, took 30 years to plan and three centuries to complete. A visit to Orvieto isn’t complete without sampling some traditional Umbrian fare such as umbrichelli pasta and perhaps a glass of chilled Orvieto Classico, a well-rounded straw-colored DOC white wine.

Expert Tip:
This is a town of artisans and long-held craft traditions, so you’ll have plenty of mementos to choose from amidst your sightseeing. Handmade ceramics and terracotta ware are two top picks and for the quintessential Orvietano souvenir, head to the woodworking shop of Bottega Michelangeli.

Urbino-Italy.jpg


Urbino, Italy: Renaissance Riches

Available from Umbria (Ancona)
A surprisingly remote cultural epicenter set atop the rolling hills of Le Marche, Urbino is considered one of the most important towns of culture, art and historical legacy in Italy – in fact, the entire town was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1998. During the 15th century, Urbino attracted some of the most preeminent scholars and artists of the Renaissance, and was the hometown of artist Raphael and architect Donato Bramante. It now represents a peak of Renaissance splendor through its remarkably preserved art and architecture. Step back in time with a visit to the princely Palazzo Ducale, a sprawling palace that now houses the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, one of the most important collections of Renaissance paintings in the world.

Expert Tip:
After touring Palazzo Ducale, head to Antica Osteria da la Stella, a family-run restaurant just steps away from the former home of Raphael that serves traditional cuisine inspired by the local culinary traditions of the Le Marche and Romagna regions.

Ronda-Spain

Ronda, Spain: Whitewashed Wonder
Available from Málaga
Set above the deep Tajo Gorge carved out by Río Guadalevín, this mountaintop village couldn’t be located in a more dramatic location. The gorge divides the picturesque whitewashed town into La Ciudad, the old Moorish, aristocratic quarter with narrow lanes; and El Mercadillo, the “newer” park-filled area built after the 1485 Christian Reconquest. The three bridges connecting Ronda offer exhilarating vistas and the local history is just as thrilling – the town and surrounding mountains were once bandit hideouts, which you can learn about in the local Museo del Bandolero. More than 200 years old, Ronda’s Plaza de Toros is one of Spain’s oldest bullrings and a visit here is the perfect way to learn about this tradition.

Expert Tip:
Before heading back to Málaga, pop into Entre Vinos on Calle Pozo for tapas and a glass of Andalusian wine. This locals’ spot is known for its extensive local wine list and both traditional and inventive tapas.

Wanderlust sparked? Find your perfect Italy or Spain cruise now

 

0 comments on “An Insider’s Look at Our New 2020 Europe & The Americas Collection”

An Insider’s Look at Our New 2020 Europe & The Americas Collection

By Mario Parodi, Vice President of Port & Itinerary Planning

Fall is my favorite time of year, not because the color of the leaves or the change of seasons, but because this is when we get to share our new Europe, Alaska, New England and Canada masterpieces with the world. After more than 10 years with Oceania Cruises, it never gets old. Born and raised in Genoa, Italy, I always have a special connection with our voyages to the Old World, especially because we reach so many smaller ports that really bring you into the daily life of the place. This season our New England and Alaska itineraries are also full of places that are little bit less well-known…you know, the kind perfect for travelers who have been there many times before.

Italy: Benvenuto a Casa
We have so many classic ports in the Mediterranean and these I like to think of as little treasures you never get tired of visiting. Places like Florence, Marseille, Amalfi and Seville…these are cities you step off the ship and immediately feel carried away, like you’re in another century. I love sailing the Mediterranean and visit family and friends in Liguria every year. Voyages like the 11-day Legacies & Legends and 10-day Italy & The Ionian are irresistible. I’ll admit it, maybe I play favorites…but for me the Mediterranean is one of the most romantic places in the world. Genoa still feels like home – it always will – even after living in Florida for so many years. One of my favorite things to when I arrive in Italy is enjoy a nice big meal, especially my favorite…trofie al pesto. This is a typical Ligurian dish and is one that, like special travels, has the power to completely transport you.

Insider’s Picks
As much as I love Italy and the Mediterranean, my favorite voyages for the season are the cruises Insignia does in August and September, especially the longer ones. The 15-day Beacons of Beauty goes to the smaller harbors of New England and Canada but also these amazing places like Nuuk, Paamiut and Isafjordur– and even better, you end in Reykjavik. Everyone should see Iceland. The 12-day Northern Serenade takes you to some classic ports – Bruges, Copenhagen and Oslo – but then you also have some hidden secrets: Lysekil, Haugesund and Tórshavn, plus one of our new ports, Lübeck, Germany.

The voyage that really caught my eye this season is the one that combines these both: the 27-day Magnificent Crossing from New York to London. The scenery up there, in those parts of Greenland, Iceland and Norway, is very different from any other place in the world and this sailing gives you time to really explore, to get a sense of this region. These longer itineraries always involve a special kind of planning in my area since we make a big effort to ensure they have unique and different ports, that the cruise has a flow. To see these types of voyages come together is always very rewarding.

I will tell you our 2020 Alaska season is also very unique because we are sailing even farther north. For me, the 14-day Glaciers & Fjords that takes you all the way up to College Fjord, Seward and Kodiak is more unusual. These places are not included on run-of-the-mill Alaska cruises and are absolutely worth a visit. Frontiers & Glaciers is another cruise that’s quite different, adding to those ports Homer during the northern leg of its journey.

So that’s my take on our new season – prego! Where will you cruise in 2020? I’d love to see your favorite choices from our new 2020 Europe & The Americas Collection below or on Facebook.

0 comments on “A Local’s Guide to Rome
 

A Local’s Guide to Rome
 

If you’ve been to Rome once or if you’ve been one hundred times, you know that there is much more to the Eternal City than its famed tourist attractions. Rome is a town of the people, the capital of a country dedicated to its citizens.
If you want to experience Rome like a local, here are our Destination Specialists’ top off-the-beaten-path suggestions for this beautiful city.

SHOP
San Lorenzo District
Via Tiburtina

The San Lorenzo District is a great place to experience Roman boutiques and get your Italian chocolate fix. Experience the family-run Candle’s Store on Via dei Campani for one-of-a-kind artisanal candles that put run-of-the-mill candle shops to shame. Whether you’re buying your friends and family hip, Italian clothing at local boutiques or sampling artisan chocolates and desserts at Said – the area’s authentic chocolate shop – the San Lorenzo District brims with perfect gifts for everyone in your life, including yourself.

VISIT
Centrale Montemartini
Via Ostiense 106

After exploring so many traditional Italian museums, you might be ready for something different. The newest addition to the Capitole Museums in Rome, Centrale Montemartini is a former power plant turned museum displaying ancient statues. A three-minute walk from Basilica San Paolo, this unique Greco-Roman museum is a must-see juxtaposition of the old and the new. The thought-provoking contrast between the industrial world and classical art is a testament to Italian ingenuity that makes this stunning collection well worth a visit.

EAT
Nuovo Mondo
Via Amerigo Vespucci 15

Within the homey neighborhood of Piazza Testaccio, you’ll find Nuovo Mercato di Testaccio, a daily market that favored by locals. Take time to experience Rome’s delicacies while shopping the market. Browse overflowing stalls filled with fresh fish, fresh and cured meat, freshly picked herbs and vegetables and ripe, colorful fruit. You can sit in the open piazza in the middle of the square and savor some fresh and local treats. However, we recommend saving room for the best pizza in Rome at a local favorite, Nuovo Mondo. At this humble, bustling restaurant, satisfy your senses with authentic Roman thin-crust pizza and the quintessential Italian experience.

Benvenuti a Roma! Welcome to the real Rome with these hidden secrets.

0 comments on “Food of the Gods: Greek Ingredients
 

Food of the Gods: Greek Ingredients
 

By Restaurant Manager Georgios Korakianitis

With influences from Turkey to Italy, Greece has a vast and unique culinary landscape that has captivated a global audience. In Greece, bread, olives and olive oil are the pillars of the Greek table wherever you travel, from an upscale restaurant in Athens to a farmhouse on Crete. You’ll have a hard time finding a family gathered around a table without this trio, not to mention a
fresh bottle of wine.

 

What many travelers do not realize is that Greek cuisine not only features many typical Middle
Eastern foods, but is also strongly influenced by Rome, tracing back to when the Romans
conquered Greece in the 2nd century. So you’ll see plenty of pasta and sauces alongside yogurt, rice
and rich sweets made from nuts, honey and sesame seeds. Arab influences have also left their mark on the southern region of Greece, which means you’ll see spices such as cumin, cinnamon, allspice and cloves in the dishes. Greek coffee, of course, traces its roots to Turkey, while potatoes
and tomatoes were brought from the New World after European explorers landed in the Americas.

In Greece using local ingredients isn’t a trend, it’s simply how we cook – using what is in season
and what is available in our region. Every Greek meal is fresh and inviting, but it also takes you on a journey through Greece’s history and thousands of years of growing, cooking and eating. As you
will discover once you sit down to eat in Greece, no meal is ever “just a meal” – our celebration of life and dining is one in the same. So I invite you to discover more about just a few of the many Greek ingredients featured on board that capture the essence of our joyful and timeless cuisine.

 

Feta Cheese
The national cheese of Greece, feta, can only be produced in Greece – and only in specific regions such as the Peloponnese, Lesvos and mainland Greece – due to its Protected Designation of Origin. By law, feta is produced from either 100% sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep’s and goat’s milk. It’s the crowning centerpiece on any Greek salad and is a key ingredient in traditional dishes such as spanakopita and feta saganaki – a delicious filo-wrapped feta drenched in honey and coated in sesame.

Caper Leaves
Very difficult to find outside of Greece, caper leaves are typically pickled or boiled and then preserved in jars with brine, similar to caper berries. In fact, when our ships leave Greece, we purchase enough caper leaves to last until the ship is planning to return. Our chefs like to use them
in fish dishes and salads, such as the heirloom tomato salad.

Capers
A bold and briny ingredient, capers are picked, cured and sorted according to size. Harvesting
capers is an arduous process since they can only be picked by hand every spring. They are ideal
for garnishing and add a punch of flavor to sauces, salads, pasta dishes, fish and lamb. We
use them most often on board in our featured Greek fish at the Chef ’s Greek Market Dinner, as well as in a variety of pasta dishes and salads.

 

Kalamata Olives
This king of Greek table olives is favored around the world. The almond-shaped, deep purple
olive is noted for its rich tangy flavor that is often smoky or has hints of wine. Kalamata olives are typically left on the tree to mature a bit longer and are only harvested once their color begins to turn dark. They are usually stored in olive oil or vinegar, and are typical in Greek salads and make a great tapenade.

Filo Dough
Filo dough is an unleavened tissue-thin dough that is stretched or rolled so thin you can see through it. This type of dough is very versatile since it can be layered, filled, folded, rolled and even turned into cups, flowers or spirals. On board, we use filo in various Greek recipes such as baklava and spanakopita, as well as dishes like strudel, pastilla and tartlets. Filo-based pastries are made by layering many sheets of filo brushed with olive oil or butter, filling them and then baking.

Come live the Greek life with us in the Mediterranean this summer!

0 comments on “A Local’s Guide to Santorini
 

A Local’s Guide to Santorini
 

Curated by Captain Dimitrios Flokos

Uncover local picks from Captain Flokos to savor the gorgeous island of Santorini in a whole new way. From hidden shopping gems to Greek dining secrets, here are some of the best ways to enjoy this Aegean gem just like the Santorinians.

SHOP
Atlantis Books E.E.

Nomikos Street, Oía

For a one-of-a-kind shopping experience in Santorini, explore this book lover’s dream. A charmingly old-fashioned independent bookstore, this literary haven carries everything from classic novels to travelogues and cookbooks in multiple languages. Once inside, look up to see a handwritten spiral on the domed ceiling – a thoughtful homage displaying the names of every employee who has ever worked there.

EAT
Parea Restaurant

Fira

Exquisite Greek food and exceptional service are the hallmarks of this quaint al fresco
restaurant overlooking the caldera. Though it’s in the center of bustling Fira, it’s a treasure you’ll wish you had time to dine at more than once. Don’t miss the tomatokeftedes, which are fried Santorini tomato balls, and moussaka, a layered dish of eggplant and ground beef with a creamy béchamel sauce.

VISIT
Town of Imerovigli

Nestled in between Fira and Oia, the quaint town of Imerovigli garners less attention but is well worth a visit. For a quiet and relaxing afternoon, stroll down the cobblestone streets of this white-washed village known as the “balcony of the Aegean,” and take in the breathtaking views of the volcanoes and gorgeous sunsets before heading back to Oia for a traditional dinner or glass of local wine.

We hope to see you in Greece this summer!