Salzburg, music’s birthplace

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Salzburg is the fourth largest city in Austria set high in the Alps with an old town renowned for its baroque architecture. The city, which is also known as the birthplace of the famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, has been a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1997 and was also site of the famous movie musical “The Sound of Music”.

Salzburg boasts many churches and cathedrals in Romanesque and gothicstyles among them the Nonnberg in St. Peter’s Cemetery and the St. George’s Chapel. The city sits on the banks of a river and many of the sites which were used in the movie as well as Mozart’s old house are tourist attractions.

Other places to visit include the historic city centre with its narrow cobblestone streets, theHohensalzburg Castle which is one of the largest in EuropeSalzburg Cathedral, theResidenzgalerie art museum, the Mirabell Palace and Gardens, and Hangar-7, a building owned by Red Bull which hosts a collection of historical planes, helicopters, and Formula Onerace cars.

Salzburg is served by an international airport as well as railways with connections from Munich,ViennaInnsbruck, and Zurich. Food is also important and there are a number of roadside pastries where one can buy Austrian delights such as Wiener schnitzel and apple strudel.

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San Marino, mountain country

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San Marino is an enclave microstate in Europe surrounded by the Italian peninsula. Its capital city is the city of San Marino and it has the smallest population of any country in the Council of Europe and it is the third smallest in Europe.

The country sits on the border of the Emilia Romagna and Marche regions of Italy and about 6 and a half miles from the Adriatic Sea.

San Marino has claimed to be the oldest sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world after being formed in September 301. The country is mainly mountainous as it sits in theApennines. There are no major bodies of water.

The enclave is host to one Unesco World Heritage Site – the “San Marino: Historic Centre and MountTitano.”  The climate is Mediterranean and has warm summers and cool winters.

San Marino has is much like that of Italy such as the piadina but it has a very well-known cake known as the Cake of the Three Towers which is a layered wafer cake covered with chocolate. There are also unique dishes and a small wine industry.

San Marino’s music tradition is long and rich. Among the bands from the country are Love Orchestra, a Gian Luca “Luke” Mazza new age music project.

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Sardinia, very nice

sardinia

Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the geologically oldest in Europe. It’s a close neighbour of Corsica to the north, Italy, and Sicily. Its capital city is Cagliari.

The island is mountainous with high rocky coasts and several bays, inlets, and rias. The island has a Mediterranean climate on its coasts, plains, and lowlands while a continental climate exists in the centre.

The island has come under influence from RomansByzantinesItaliansAustrians and theSpanish and some of their traditions are still practised in Sardinia today. Sardinian and Italian are the main languages spoken on the island. It is also site of several megalithic structures and aUnesco World Heritage Site.

The Sardinian diet relies heavily on meat, dairy products, grains, and vegetables. Sardinians also drink more beer per capita than anywhere else in Italy.

Sardinia has three international airports connecting it to the mainland of Italy and other parts of Europe. There are ferry companies which operate between Sardinia and cities in France and there is a rail network which connects towns across the island.

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Corsica, Napoleon’s birthplace

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Somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea, west of Italy, southeast of France, and north of Sardinia is the French island of Corsica.

The island, an departement outre-mer or overseas region of France, is dominated by amountain chain which comprises two-thirds of the territory. Corsica is the most mountainous of the Mediterranean islands.It has three separate climatic zones – hot coastal zone, temperatemountains, and an alpine zone.

For the nature lover there is the Parc Naturel Regional de Corse which boasts several protected species while the Scandola Nature Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Ajaccio, the capital is in Corse du Sud while the second largest city Bastia is in Haute Corse. The Corsican culture is a unique blend of French and Italian.

The French general and emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Corsica and his home is currently a museum while the town of Calvi claims to be the birth place of the explorerChristopher Columbus.

Along with French, Corsica has its own language which is recognised as an official language by the French government.

Corsica has interesting cuisine which includes wild boarseafood and river fishficatellu coppalonzu made from Corsican pork and cheeses such as brocciucasgiu merzucasgiuand veghju made from goat or sheep milk.

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Dubrovnik, pearl of the Adriatic

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Sitting along the Dalmatiancoast of Croatia is the city of DubrovnikNicknamed the Pearl of the Adriatic, the old city was named a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1979.The city was founded in the seventh century and is considered one of the ten best medieval walled cities of the world.

The city boasts Europe‘s third oldest pharmacy established in 1317. Many old buildings were destroyed in an earthquake in 1667 but several still remain. Among the cities highlights are the Sponza. Palace which now holds the National Archives; Rectors Palace, St. Saviour’s Church -all dating back to the Renaissance as well as the 18th century St. Blaise’s Church.

The wall of Dubrovnik is one of the main features of the city which is a popular tourist destination featuring many top class hotelsEach summer a festival known as the Dubrovnik Summer Festival is held in the city. The festival is 45 days long and involves concerts, games, and live plays.With a Mediterranean climate Dubrovnik has hot dry summers and wet winters. It has its own international airport is also accessible to the rest of Croatia by highway.It is used as the location of King’s Landing in HBO‘s series Game of Thrones

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Santo Domingo, a whole of sun and history

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For those who love the beach and lots of sunshine with a little bit of history thrown in Santo Domingo is the place to visit. The capital and largest city of the Dominican Republic sits at the mouth of a river that empties into the Caribbean Sea and enjoys bright sunshine almost year round.

The city also happens to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the New World after being founded by Bartholomew Columbus in 1493. The city is an ode to Spanish old world architecture and several of the structures built during the reign of the Spanish still exist.

The city’s Zona Colonial has been a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1990 and contains a magnificent collection of 16th century buildings, churches, and palaces. The oldest castle in the Americas the Alcazar of Colon is in the city’s colonial centre. Other sites in the colonial zone include the Catedral Santa Maria La Menor and Parque Colon. One of the main attractions of the city is the Malecon, a beautiful avenue running along the coast with some of the finest hotels in the city within view of the sea. The Columbus Lighthouse sits in the east of the city as a monument to the Christopher Columbus and is said to contain his remains. Not far from the city is the vibrant Boca Chica Bay where one can enjoy the beach while walking around in narrow streets.

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