Featuring a breathtaking countryside and beaming coast to coast with culture, cuisine and Chianti, Italy has plenty to satisfy any traveler’s appetite (both figuratively and literally). Its charm is undeniable, from the iconic architecture of the capital and storied cobblestone streets of Vatican City, to the quaint fishing villages of Cinque Terre and the famed pizzerias of Naples.
Whether you’ve been to Italy before or plan to visit for the first time, exploring the country by sea will guarantee an adventure like no other—especially when you set sail on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas. This is the ticket of the summer for the whole family.
Our iconic Oasis Class ship (part of the biggest and boldest in our fleet) is returning to cruise the other side of the Atlantic in style after a major $165 million transformation. You’ll enjoy a new lineup of thrills like The Perfect Storm trio of racer waterslides, The Lime & Coconut, a three-level signature bar serving up a variety of Caribbean-inspired cocktails; and completely redesigned kids and teens spaces; feast on a reimagined menu of Italian fare at the guest favorite Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar; and sing and dance to your heart’s content at Music Hall. Pro tip: Click here to read more about all the exciting new features on board Allure of the Seas.
Read on to discover the Italian landmarks you won’t want to miss next summer and why this will be the vacation to top all others.
Florence & Pisa (La Spezia)
Marked by monuments of centuries past, Florence and Pisa’s architecture makes for the ultimate photo backdrop.
The birthplace of Galileo fills Instagram feeds thanks to the instantly recognizable Leaning Tower of Pisa, a 12th-century bell tower (and miracle of medieval engineering), known for its tilt. While getting a picture out front is a must, we also recommend ascending the 300 spiraling stairs for unbeatable views of the city below, including the larger Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles) and the Duomo of Santa Maria Assunta (also referred to as the Siena Cathedral). You’ll have free time to explore as part of the experience: Be sure to visit the University of Pisa—one of Europe’s oldest, most prestigious institutions of higher education—browse the leather markets and take snaps atop Ponte Vecchio bridge.
Just down the road, Florence’s claim to fame (and rightfully so) is its duomo: Formally known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Italian Gothic structure is a symbol of the city and sparked the Renaissance movement in the 14th century. You can dive into the Italian Renaissance at the U-shaped Uffizi Gallery—home to a collection bequeathed by the famous Medici family—or stop by the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze to lay eyes on Michelangelo’s David.
Looking to stay near the ocean? With our Jewels of Cinque Terre excursion, you’ll have the chance to visit three of the pastel-hued “Five Lands.” Along the rugged, five-mile Ligurian coastline, traverse the steep steps to explore the charming village of Vernazza, taste just-out-of-the-ocean anchovies in Monterosso al Mare (they’ve been fished there since Roman times), and round out your day in the bustling seafront village of Porto Venere.
From the world’s largest amphitheater—which once served as a stage for the strongest of warriors (gladiator school is open!)—to the heart of daily life during antiquity known as The Forum, Rome’s history spans three millennia. (The relentless power of Ancient Rome led many of its citizens to believe that it would go on forever, hence the name the Eternal City.) With Royal Caribbean, you can immerse yourself in the past as you indulge in its present with the iconic city’s mouthwatering trattorias and incredible shopping.
Adventurers can also head over to Vatican City, the independent city-state within the capital’s walls that’s home to the head of the Roman Catholic Church. At the center of the world’s smallest sovereign state are artistic marvels like St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel.
If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, consider the cruise-and-wine experience along Lake Bracciano, the region’s second largest lake. Stopping at the charming town of Trevignano Romano, travelers can enjoy a stroll along the tree-lined promenade, pop into artisan shops and dine al fresco by the water. Nearby is a local winery, where you can learn the centuries-old art of Etruscan winemaking.
Another favorite destination on Allure’s itinerary is Naples—one of the oldest cities in all of Europe. This city offers its own take on the Italian experience with world-famous Neapolitan pizza and plenty of gorgeous piazzas.
Check out the Lungomare, a seafront promenade where you can spot Mt. Vesuvius beyond the bay; visit the renowned collection at Museo d’Arte Contemporanea (The Museum of Modern Art). Pro tip: Don’t miss the famous Cavallo sculpture on the rooftop terrace; or simply stroll the city center, which dates back to the 4th century B.C. and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For a real taste of Naples, pizza is the answer! Incorporating sun-ripened tomatoes grown in volcanic soil and fresh mozzarella from the surrounding region, Neopolitan-style pizza is famous for a reason. Families looking for an outing everyone will love should book a pizza-making class in Sorrento, just down the coastline from the city.
Guests looking to stay active while on vacation can adventure to Mt. Vesuvius for a hike along the famous volcanic rim that overlooks Naples. From there, trek to the ruins of Pompeii, the ancient city that was buried by that very volcano in 79 A.D. Artifacts like gold, jewelry and statues have been preserved in solidified ash in Pompeii for centuries, and the city truly feels like it has been frozen in time.
Starting May 10, 2020, you can chart your course on the amplified Allure’s seven-night Western Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona, visiting popular Italian ports like Florence/Pisa (La Spezia), Rome (Civitavecchia) and Naples/Capri. Also on the itinerary (as if that weren’t enough!), are the picture-perfect coastal cities of Palma de Mallorca, Spain and Provence (Marseille), France.