90 Night cruise departing from Los Angeles to Rome onboard Crystal Serenity.
From Los Angeles, sail the Southern Hemisphere, where South Pacific Isles romance, Sri Lanka’s UNESCO sites fascinate, Australia’s new destinations intrigue, and Komodo Island’s dragons await. Explore India’s temples; trace the path of sultans and kings in Jordan, Egypt and Israel; and embrace la dolce vita in Italy.
Highlights of this cruise:
Los Angeles / San Pedro, California, USA
Spectacular natural surroundings combined with the vitality of a creative and artistic community make Los Angeles one-of-a-kind. Sunshine, majestic palm trees and the sandy beaches of the Pacific share the spotlight with L.A.'s glamorous movie industry and its world-famous celebrities. Formally founded in 1781, it is now one of the world's largest metropolitan centers.
Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands
Lush, rolling green hills, exquisite black and white sand beaches, stoic stone tikis and dramatic waterfalls inspired Herman Melville's "Typee"; they remain virtually unchanged today.
Rangiora, French Polynesia
The second largest atoll in the world, Rangiroa is not only a beautiful Polynesian escape, it is also a renowned dive destination. Below the surface of turquoise waters is a fascinating world of colorful fish, who fearlessly swim next to their human visitors, making the two-legged, snorkel-wearing creatures a temporary part of the ecosystem. On land, working pearl farms, quiet villages and secluded resorts entice guests to become a part of a culture that values neighborly friendliness and relaxation.
Bora Bora, Society Islands
James Michener called it the most beautiful island in the world, for Bora Bora fulfills your every fantasy of how an island paradise should be. Majestic 2,000-foot-high peaks tower over its tranquil lagoon, their reflections mirrored in glassy waters. Thatch-roofed huts lie cradled beneath shady palms on sugar-white beaches as the scent of exotic flowers wafts through the air. Colorfully decorated le trucks wait ashore, ready to take you on a discovery of the island's awesome beauty. Nearby, glass-bottom boats lie poised, awaiting the opportunity to introduce you to an undersea world that is rich with vibrant sea life.
Moorea, Society Islands
As your Crystal ship enters Cook's Bay, the dramatic spire made famous as Bali Hai in the movie South Pacific, towers in the distance and welcomes you to Mooréa. As this island is a jewel of crystalline lagoons, fjord-like bays, azure waters and velvety mountain peaks, it seems only natural that this exquisite island should have been selected as the location of the 1983 movie, The Bounty.
The ancient Polynesians chose Mooréa as their pleasure island. Here, pristine beaches are flanked by groves of pineapple, vanilla and coffee.
Papeete, Tahiti, Society Islands
Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia, is by no means a sleepy town. With an international airport, wide waterfront-boulevard and new buildings, it boasts all the modern trappings of civilization. Its engaging atmosphere is vibrantly alive, a marvelous potpourri of European manner and carefree island ways. A few steps from our pier, boutiques and galleries abound as Tahitian shopkeepers dressed in bright paréos greet customers with a welcoming iaorana. The nearby open-air market is a bustle of activity. Away from the clamor of town are peaceful fern grottos, tiny villages tucked in verdant valleys and ancient sacred maraes.
Raiatea, Society Islands
Raiatea is the largest, highest and most populated of French Polynesia's Leeward Islands. With a surface area of nearly 80 square miles, a population of only 10,000 inhabitants and imposing Mount Temehani towering 3,300 feet above a clear emerald-colored lagoon, Raiatea is a jewel of the sea. Often referred to as "sacred" by historians and archeologists, Raiatea is a historian's and archeologist's treasure. In primitive Polynesian society, Raiatea (the extended sky) was called Havaii, which originates from the traditional name used to designate the land of the ancestors. As a result, Havaii was the Society Island's source of history, religion and genealogies. The industrious people of Raiatea will welcome you to their "sacred" paradise. Discover ancient marae or venture inland for panoramic views and to chat with locals. Or, journey to Raiatea's isolated sister-island, Tahaa.
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Kia Orana and welcome to Rarotonga, the main island of the Cook group. This splendid island chain was named in honor of the great explorer Captain James Cook. Rarotonga's richly covered mountains rise 2,000 feet above white-sand beaches; and its encircling coral reefs create beautiful, safe lagoons. The hospitality here is warm and spontaneous. Smiling faces greet you at every turn of the road. Traditional cultures have been retained on an island where tranquil lifestyles are uncomplicated by the pace of the outside world. You will be captivated by the exuberant dancing and easygoing ways of the gentle islanders.
The tiny South Pacific kingdom of Tonga is a member of the Commonwealth. This shows in Nuku'Alofa, the capital, with its Victorian Royal Palace, impressive chapel, and Royal Tombs of the local monarchs. Yet Tonga teems with South Sea beauty as well, including exotic Talamahu Market, wave-swept coastal cliffs, and Fafa Island.
To the east of the International Date Line lies an exquisite garland of islands known as Fiji. Dignified smiling people bid you "bula," or welcome, to their unspoiled homeland. The bustling port town of Lautoka has a population of 44,000. It lies cradled on the western shores of Viti Levu, the largest of Fiji's 300 idyllic islands. Shop for shell jewelry, wood carvings, woven mats, basketry and masi, the traditional painted bark cloth. Or scour the market for exquisite Indian saris. Not too far distant from our pier are field upon field of lush sugar cane, traditional villages and an orchid wonderland. As the islanders proudly claim, "Fiji is the way the world ought to be."
Waitangi, Bay of Islands, New Zealand
Like a stop in Philadelphia or Colonial Williamsburg, a visit to Waitangi lets you trace the founding of a country. It was here that a treaty between the Maori and the British was formed, making New Zealand part of the British Empire. At the Waitangi National Reserve, one of the most important historic sites in New Zealand, visitors can see the Treaty House where the 1840 treaty was signed, and view a faithful replica of the original document. Other attractions of the Reserve include the ornate Maori meeting house and a massive war canoe. Of course, this being New Zealand, there are many natural attractions as well, including lush forest and spectacular coastline.
Auckland, New Zealand
Welcome to Auckland, the "City of Sails." New Zealand's largest city is along the shores of an extinct volcanic cone known as Rangitoto, often visible to the east. Auckland's population of over one million people represents almost a third of the country's total.
New Zealand seems to have a bit of everything: great natural beauty, friendly people, magnificent glacier-studded mountain ranges, sculpted fjords, pristine untouched beaches, lush rainforest, an endless array of sporting activities, and, not to be forgotten, plenty of sheep and rolling farmland.
Auckland is the perfect city from which to experience most of what New Zealand has to offer. The city lies astride a narrow isthmus between the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean on two harbors, the Waitemata and Manukau. Auckland and New Zealand's geographic and cultural treasures beckon for your discovery.
An enthusiastic welcome awaits you at this thriving city by the sea.
Tauranga, New Zealand
Sprawling along the sweeping bay, Tauranga is a popular summer resort and one of the country's most important ports for the export of kiwi fruit, timber, and dairy products. It is also the gateway for Rotorua, the geothermal wonderland that is one of New Zealand's most famous attractions.
Note: Arrival and departure times for this port will depend on tidal restrictions.
Napier, New Zealand
Northeast of the capital city of Wellington is Napier, a town with much to boast about. Napier is known for producing wool, growing fruit, cultivating grapes and making wine. The natural setting that helps in its agricultural pursuits also makes Napier popular among retirees and tourists; after all, who can resist picturesque countryside with an air of sophistication-and not a whiff of pretension? Add to its bucolic charms a rich Maori history and tales of explorer Captain Cook and you have a destination worthy of your own discovery.
Wellington, New Zealand
Hugging the hillsides around Port Nicholson, a horseshoe-shaped bay that is one of the world's finest, Wellington reminds many visitors of San Francisco. In cultural offerings as well as landscape - Wellington boasts the National Art Gallery and the Dominion Museum, as well as the Government Building, one of the world's largest wodden structures.
Picton, New Zealand
Named after Sir Thomas Picton, a British Army officer who was killed at the Battle of Waterloo, Picton is a picturesque town located at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound, one of four Sounds that make up the Marlborough Sounds. Renowned for outdoor activities such as fishing, kayaking, cycling and hiking, the region is also popular for chances to observe the area’s wildlife, including birds, seals and dolphins. People watching is yet another pleasant way to pass the time. Picton’s waterfront, dotted with cafés and restaurants, is where you will see locals conversing and dining in their comfortable natural habitat.
Akaroa, Christchurch, New Zealand
On a breathtakingly scenic 90-minute drive from Christchurch, discover the charming village of Akaroa, the oldest colonial town in New Zealand’s South Island, and the country’s only French settlement. The Maori first settled here around 700-800 years ago, bestowing the name Akaroa, which means ‘long harbour’ in their native language. English explorers, including James Cook, arrived in the late 1700s, but it was the efforts of French whaling captain Jean Francois L’Anglois in the 1830s that led to the town’s distinctly French personality that still exists today. Nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano along the southern side of the Banks Peninsula, Akaroa’s beautiful bays and harbour are home to the rarest and smallest marine dolphin—the Hectors dolphin—as well as New Zealand Fur Seals, Little Blue Penguins, and many different birds and exotic plants. From kayaking, hiking, fishing, sailing, eco-tours and walking tours to art galleries, craft shops, and cafes, this welcoming town is remains a favorite among New Zealand destinations.
Dunedin, New Zealand
The charming city of Dunedin lies in southeastern New Zealand, less than ten miles from our pier in Port Chalmers. Its name means Edinburgh in Gaelic and to this day it has retained enduring reminders of its Scottish roots. Adorning the streets of Dunedin is a wealth of Victorian and Edwardian buildings, richly festooned with spires, gables and gargoyles. These architectural landmarks are imposing reminders of a more prosperous era. Surprisingly, the surrounding area is also home to prolific local wildlife, animals rarely found so close to a major city. The choice is yours: explore impressive city architecture, take a rail journey through unspoiled wilderness or venture out to view albatrosses and a country estate.
Milford Sound, New Zealand
Milford Sound is the undisputed jewel of Fiordland National Park. Thousands of years ago, relentless glacial ice forged its rugged grandeur. Sheer-faced granite walls soar skyward, white-plumed waterfalls tumble from lush valleys into glassy waters and Mitre Peak rears over 5,000 feet into the mist.
Due to its outstanding natural beauty and cultural significance, Milford Sound has been nominated a World Heritage Area.
Please note, no guests will be permitted ashore. However, the true grandeur of Milford Sound is best enjoyed from the water and the comfort of your Crystal Cruises' ship.
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Hobart, premier city of the island-state of Tasmania, is situated between Mount Wellington and the Derwent River. As Australia's second-oldest capital, it savors the present while revering its past. History adds picturesque charm to this charismatic city, for there are no less than 90 buildings with National Trust classification. At Salamanca Place and Battery Point, relics of the whaling days of the last century can still be seen. Tasmania maintains abiding links with a wealth of Australian heritage. The convict settlement of Port Arthur provides vivid reminders of bygone days. With a busy port and thriving commercial center, Hobart is justifiably recognized as one of the world's most beautiful harbor cities.
The billowing profile of the Opera House greets us on her return to Sydney's glorious, world-class harbor. Ahead lies the arch of the Harbour Bridge. These twin symbols, more than any other, identify one of the Southern Hemisphere's premier cities.
Sydney is an energetic and exciting metropolis whose nightlife, shopping and fine restaurants compare favorably with the finest the world has to offer. Despite its modern advances, Sydney has lovingly cherished its heritage, for this was the birthplace of the Australian nation.
Combine Sydney's boundless attractions with its superb harborside location, and you have that certain magic that few other cities can rival.
Situated on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, about 60 miles north of Brisbane, is the resort town of Mooloolaba. Gifted with a spectacular white-sand beach, crystalline waters and year-round mild climate, this once quiet little fishing village has grown to become one of Australia's most popular seaside destinations. Its gorgeous beachfront esplanade is lined with outdoor cafés, juice bars, and chic boutiques waiting to be discovered on a leisurely stroll. One of its most popular attractions, the Sea Life Sunshine Coast Aquarium, is a marine mammal park, oceanarium and wildlife sanctuary that showcases the amazing creatures that make their home in Australia's rivers and oceans.
Hardy Reef/Hamilton Islands, Australia
Hardy Reef is considered one of the premier sites for visitors of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Anchorage here affords tantalizing glimpses of a compelling underwater realm. For those guests who wish to spend the morning exploring the world's largest living structure, or visiting one of the Whitsunday Islands' most spectacular beaches, Crystal Harmony will anchor briefly to dispatch excursions before continuing on to Hamilton Island. Surrounded by idyllic coral-fringed beaches, Hamilton Island provides the perfect backdrop for the ultimate tropical Great Barrier Reef experience. Located off the Queensland coast amid the numerous islets that make up the Whitsundays, Hamilton Island has been described as "the Island that's spoiling Australia." Its location near the Great Barrier Reef has ensured its status as the travel hub of the Whitsundays. Moreover, Hamilton's marina is a vibrant village with boutiques featuring local art and fashion as well as myriad cosmopolitan restaurants and charming cafés.
Airlie Beach, Australia
On the northeastern coast of Queensland, south of Townsville and north of Mackay, is the town of Airlie Beach. It borders the Whitsunday Passage where famed British navigator and explorer James Cook sailed in 1770. The inspiration for the town's name was probably the parish of Airlie in Scotland, having been suggested in 1936 by a council member whose hometown, Montrose, in Scotland, was near Airlie. Today, it's a thriving resort town and gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the islands of the Whitsundays. Airlie Beach exudes a relaxed, tropical vibe with its palm-fringed lagoon, beachfront parks, and assorted shops, restaurants, cafés and bars. Situated nearby, just south of Airlie Beach, is Conway National Park, home to a lush, tropical rainforest and pristine waterfalls.
Welcome to Cairns [cans], where the weather and hospitality are warm. Tropical Cairns is Queenland's most northerly city, and is framed by two features of such pristine beauty and incomparable value that they have been listed by the World Heritage Society.
Located at the point where the Great Dividing Range and Great Barrier Reef curve gently to the shoreline, Cairns is graced with inspiring natural attractions in all directions. Beyond the coast are mountains, rainforests, eucalyptus, waterfalls, lakes, rugged ravines and grazing farmlands fed by freshwater streams. Above all, two of the most wonderful assets are the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforests.
Cairns, the colorful, sophisticated capital of the tropical north, is alive with life and charm. At hand and beckoning for your discovery are elegant boutiques, markets, art galleries and museums.
Darwin, Australia's northernmost city, lies between the sun-bleached Outback and the Arafura Sea on Australia's "Top End," as tropical northern Australia is familiarly called. Cosmopolitan, yet casual, the capital of the Northern Territory has grown from its roguish beginnings into a modern, mellow mini-metropolis. Establishing and maintaining a European frontier outpost on Australia's remote northern shores has never been easy. The early colonists' aim in settling this far-flung area was to pre-empt foreign occupation and create a trading post for the British Empire. However, aside from a short-lived gold rush during the latter-half of the 19th Century, Darwin seems to have had a long string of bad luck. Since its early days, the city has weathered three destructive cyclones, the worst being Cyclone Tracy in 1974, as well as Japanese air raids during World War II. Despite its struggles, Darwin boasts a comfortable tropical climate and some of Australia's most intact cultural and natural highlights. Nearby Litchfield National Park provides an abundance of wildlife, numerous waterfalls and a remarkable backdrop for your afternoon explorations of The Territory. For those seeking the source of the Aussie lifestyle made famous by "Crocodile Dundee," the beauty of the Adelaide River and its famed jumping crocodiles will be of particular appeal. Darwin is a fascinating blend of culture, history and nature and beckons for your exploration.
Komodo Island, Indonesia
Many of Komodo Island's residents are descendants of convicts, who like the early inhabitants of Australia, were sent to the island to live in exile. And, like Australia, Komodo Island has a population of strange and wondrous wildlife, the most renowned of which is the Komodo dragon. The world's largest lizard, this ferocious predator enjoys full protection on the island. Both Komodo Island and nearby Rinca Island are part of a national park system that allows the dragon to sunbathe on the river banks and amble past curious visitors without fear of being harmed. Actually, it is the human that should be wary: in spite of their clumsy stride and apparent nonchalance, the Komodo dragon can run as fast as a dog and is capable of killing and eating a human being. But visitors to the island need not worry. Calm and capable park service guides are on hand to escort onlookers to a kind of reverse zoo, where the people gather in a protective enclosure while the dragons patrol the area, making themselves available for safe observation.
Bali is so beautiful that the natives believe heaven will be just like home, and touring this island paradise, it's easy to see why. Here are mysterious volcanic lakes and jungle-shrouded volcanoes, wondrous ancient temples, fabulously creative painters and wood-carvers, and the legendary dancers who re-enact the stories of their Hindu deities.
Note: Arrival and departure times for this port will depend on tidal restrictions.
Singapore blends the contemporary splendor of a sparkling modern city with influences from throughout the Orient. Its history is one of riches and romance, spice trading and piracy, colonialism and growth. This island state has grown from a small fishing village to one of Asia's greatest success stories. Temples, mosques and churches stand as serene reminders of the varied collection of migrations that have graced its history. Discover the mansions and polo greens of colonial Singapore, the mystique of Chinatown and the heady aroma of spices and curry along Arab Street. You will quickly come to understand why Singapore is acclaimed as the "Crossroads of the East."
Kuala Lumpur/Port Klang, Malaysia
Bustling Port Klang is the principal port of entry for Malaysia. The country's capital, Kuala Lumpur, is a suprisingly modern city of domes, minarets and spacious, tree-lined avenues. Her symbols of faith are visible at the Jamek Mosque, the city's birthplace.
Located on the spice routes, the British East India Company established a colony on Penang Island in 1786. Chinese, Indians and Sumatrans soon settled the island, yet the European influence remains strong. Enjoy the Chinese embroidery and Malay daggers in the Penang Museum, marvel at the Penang Bridge (third longest in the world), or view the harbor from breezy Penang Hill.
Residents call Phuket "The Pearl of the South," and one visit to this green, sun-soaked island in the Andaman Sea will show you why. The coast is a succession of magnificent beaches, the forested interior boasts virgin rain forests and numerous plantations-cacao, pineapple, rubber. The culture is a distinctive blend of Portuguese, Chinese and indigenous Chao Naam, a proud seafaring people.
Hambantota, Sri Lanka
Formerly known as Magampura, in ancient times it was part of a flourishing civilization in the Ruhuna Kingdom, which became a prominent center for Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Located on the southeastern tip of Sri Lanka, about 124 miles south of the capital city of Colombo, Hambantota is perhaps best known for its salt flats that run along the coast, collecting seawater which eventually evaporates in the mostly arid climate, leaving behind significant salt deposits. Cultural heritage attractions include well-preserved colonial buildings and religious temples and shrines. Located nearby is Kataragama, a major pilgrimage site sacred to Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims. The city is also a gateway to such nature sanctuaries as Yala National Park, home to dozens of different species of wildlife including crocodiles, leopards, elephants, sloth bears, peacocks and more.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s capital until recent times, this fascinating city is filled with an intriguing blend of cosmopolitan buildings and ancient temples. Enjoy the effects of Colombo’s melting pot of cultures, as Portuguese, Dutch, and British trading companies from earlier times have left behind churches, monuments, religions, and costumes, as well as smatterings of their languages, that have been incorporated into the speech and daily routine of the local Sri Lankans.
Cochin, the commercial hub of the Indian state of Kerala, has a magnificent natural harbor which has attracted overseas traders for hundreds of years. Ancient mariners from Arabia, Holland, Britain and Portugal have all left their mark on this cosmopolitan city, which is often called the "Queen of the Arabian Sea." This diverse influence has generated Cochin's uniquely cosmopolitan atmosphere and interesting architectural styles. Crystal Serenity's premier call at this city of peninsulas and islands will introduce you to a region rarely visited by cruise ships.
Mumbai (Bombay), India
India contains a bewildering variety of tribes, religions, cultures and languages-and most are present in Mumbai, one of the world's most densely populated cities. Remnants of British rule along oceanfront Marine Drive stand alongside the thought-provoking former home of Mahatma Gandhi, and the cave temple at Elephanta with its second-century Hindu gods.
Like a magic carpet spread before the sea, Oman's coastal plain is one of the most fertile areas of Arabia. Famous since antiquity as the source of frankincense, Salalah was already a prosperous town when Marco Polo visited it in the 13th century! Inland rise the forbidding Al-QuarÃ Mountains, and the desolate "Empty Quarter" of central Saudi Arabia.
A favorite destination for Israeli families seeking a waterside escape, Eilat is a booming resort town, with enough hotels and attractions to keep an itinerant busy for days. Eilat’s location on the northern tip of the Red Sea on the Gulf of Aqaba makes it a true vacation hotspot, literally. Its desert setting, greened by palm trees and dotted with pools, has an average of 360 sunny days a year and water temperatures averaging between 70 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. All of which is to say, grab your swimsuit and scuba gear to take advantage of beach expanses and some of the world’s best diving. Coral reefs edge Eilat’s coast, many near shore, offering experts and novices alike chances to encounter a fascinating underwater world. Afterward, dry off and launch land-based explorations, including birdwatching (Eilat is on the main bird migration route between Africa and Europe), camel riding and visits to the biblical theme park called Kings City or Timna Valley Park, home to the world’s oldest copper mines.
The waterway to the Red Sea - the commercial sea port of Aqaba (Al 'Aqabah) is the only outlet to the Hashimate Kingdom of Jordan, and is situated at the top of the Gulf of Aqaba. Aqaba brings a refreshing release from the rose-coloured desert to the North. Its sandy beaches and coral reefs are the most pristine on the Red Sea, and Jordanians hope to preserve them through careful planning. With several first-rate hotels, restaurants and shops, Aqaba caters to a tourist crowd that is tranquil and relaxed, seeking its pleasures more by day than by night.
Situated on the southern coast of Cyprus, Larnaca is a lively seaside town that’s home to some of the island’s most beautiful beaches. The pulse of the community revolves around the promenade, where both locals and visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the palm tree-lined avenue, stopping for coffee or cocktails, or a bite in one of the many seafood eateries. Because Larnaca dates back 6,000 years, there is also much for history buffs to appreciate, like its medieval fort and the Church of Saint Lazarus, where the biblical Lazarus is said to be buried. The region is also well known for some of the best diving on the island, particularly the Zenobia wreck-dive. Should you prefer to stay dry, a trip to the world’s last divided capital, Nicosia is a most interesting land journey.
Crete/Ahios Nikolaos, Greece
Built on the ruins of an ancient city and developing into a center of trade in the 3rd century AD, Aghios Nikolaos is today a favorite vacation destination. And it is no wonder. This coastal city, located on the Greek island of Crete, is the gateway to the many small villages and farms of the region. Aghios Nikolaos also offers many appealing attractions of its own. In the center of town is Lake Voulismeni, a lagoon linked to the sea by a narrow canal. Nearby, a small park, an amphitheater, and a collection of cafes take full advantage of the lagoon's idyllic setting. The lake even has its own legend, which says that the goddess Athena slipped into its waters to bathe and wash her glossy tresses.
Siracusa, also spelled Syracuse, is a dynamic, beautiful, historic city—with considerable emphasis on historic. Its tight, winding alleys, gracious piazzas and glorious architecture represent a timeline of several millennia, with the accompanying swings in political power and artistic output. Syracuse was founded in 734 BC by the Greeks, and its star was soon on the rise. The city was a major influencer in the spread of Judaism and Christianity; the birthplace of celebrated mathematician and engineer Archimedes; admired by the likes of Plato; and became a rival to the very origin and apex of early Western civilization itself, Athens. Brimming with world-class examples of Greek, Roman and Baroque architecture and awash with Italian character, the entire city of Syracuse is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Most of its wonders can be found in its treasure-packed Parco Archeologico (Archaeological Zone), located on the mainland, and on the island of Ortygia, the old quarter of Syracuse connected to the mainland by two bridges. Amid a labyrinth of narrow medieval streets, you will find an atmosphere similar to Rome, only on a smaller scale. The Duomo, situated on a plaza reminiscent of Rome’s Piazza Navona, is breathtaking and one of the oldest churches in Europe.
Civitavecchia was founded by Emperor Trajan in the 2nd century. Today this port is noted for its fine seafood and attractive monuments. Located 90 minutes away is the Eternal City of Rome. Steeped in 2,500 years of history, Rome was for many centuries the center of Western civilization. It was both the focal point of the Roman Empire and of Christendom. Landmarks such as the Colosseum, Forum, Pantheon, Vatican, Sistine Chapel and Spanish Steps are reminders of the legacy of its rich past.
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