Don't miss Pompeii, a cruise into the past where a volcano preserved a city for eternity
Medcalfe sets out the basics of Italian cruises; there are so many to choose from.
History, wine, serene beauty, dramatic people and stunning views an Italy cruise has it all! You can visit the main sites of Italy on a European cruise or a Mediterranean cruise, but to really experience Italy - to really taste it - you need to immerse yourself in everything that Italy has to offer by taking an Italy cruise.
Italy cruises depart from several ports around the country. Many depart from Civitavecchia - the gateway port to Rome. However, to get the full Italy experience it is recommended that an Italy cruise be embarked upon from the ports of Savona or Genoa on the Ligurian Peninsula and taken all the way round to Venice, or vice-versa. This way, you will discover that there is a lot more to Italy than a cruise departing from Civitavecchia would be able to show you!
So, what delights await in this classical land? The Ligurian Peninsula is a true paradise. Largely undiscovered by mass tourism, quaint Italian villages line the coastline in this spectacular part of Italy. Beautiful sandy beaches alternate with rocky headlands, and magnificent coastal villages shine like beacons on the shore.
In Genoa you can discover the birthplace of Christopher Columbus and marvel at the citys stunning Gothic architecture. A little further to the south Livorno is a port of call worth spending a little time at. Here, you will be able to arrange shore excursions to see the famous leaning tower of Pisa, as well as visit the grand Renaissance city of Florence - home to Dante, Michaelangelo and the Medicis.
The Colosseum at Rome, Mount Vesuvius and the ancient city that it buried - Pompeii - are essential attractions to visit when on an Italy cruise, as is Rimini on the Adriatic Sea. From Rimini you can take a shore excursion to visit the enclave of San Marino, which is less than an hours drive from Rimini port.
Finally, irresistible Venice awaits as the final stop at the end of your cruise. Venice is a true water world, consisting of more than 120 islands through which a network of waterways can be explored by gondola. Renaissance-style architecture is everywhere in this city, and you will be able to take a shore excursion that takes in the famous Rialto Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs.
So, whether you want to discover what it felt like to be a gladiator in Rome's Coliseum, peer into the gigantic crater of Mt Vesuvius or navigate your way around Venice's canal system, an Italy cruise is a special adventure that you will never forget.
Jonathan Medcalfe writes about a variety of cruise destinations at his web site FG cruise. If you would like more information about interesting cruises, make sure you visit his site here: http://www.fgcruise.com