The region of Emilia Romagna lies between the river Po, the longest in Italy, to the north, and the Apennine mountains to the south. It is considered one of the most fertile regions in Italy for its relatively mild climate influenced by the air from the Adriatic coast. You can experience four distinct seasons in this area, from snowy cold winters to lovely warm summers. Those who love to ski and hike will find the mountains very close by; while those who love the sun and sea will enjoy the longest beach in Europe on the Romagna coast in towns like Rimini, Riccione and Cattolica, known as the Romagna Riviera. Wellness spas and thermal baths are also found in this region. Reggio, home of two train stations, is conveniently located on both the regular- and high-speed train lines and strategically between Milan and Florence – the perfect location for getting around easily and on a budget! Emilian cuisine is lauded as one of the best in the world. Don’t miss the chance to savor tortelli di zucca—light ravioli-like pasta filled with delicious pumpkin, or multilayer tomato lasagna, the local spinach and herb delight called erbazzone, and the delicious cheese and balsamic vinegar for which the region is so famous. Today Reggio Emilia is home to many ethnic groups and is becoming increasingly multicultural, with 11.4% of its population consisting of foreign residents. The city has one of the most advanced educational and social welfare systems in the country (and in Western Europe), considered one of the most innovative and relevant examples of a community with a strong social cohesion.
Unnamed Road, Mount Abundance QLD 4455, Australia
Melbourne, Geelong and Warrnambool are all in the state of Victoria. Victoria is Australia’s smallest mainland state but has the second largest population, with approximately 5.2 million people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. It is a place of great contrasts—ocean beaches and mountain ranges, deserts and forests, volcanic plains and vast sheep and wheat farms. Victoria has national parks and forests teeming with wildlife; wineries, lakes and mountains offering climbing, hiking and skiing and the magnificent Great Ocean Road coastline, Australia’s premier surfing destination. The state has long been regarded as the cultural center of Australia, with a historic architectural elegance that characterizes the capital, Melbourne, and the regional cities. Victorians combine a strong cultural tradition with a contemporary and relaxed lifestyle, a distinct sense of community and a passionate interest in sports. Victoria also is the major center of education and research in Australia.
Haifa is a beautiful city, set on the Mediterranean Sea on the slope of Mount Carmel. Israel’s foremost port city, it plays a major role in the nation’s economy and is a center for high tech research and industry. Its 17 kilometers of beaches host excellent surfing and sailing conditions and nature trails, bicycle paths, wildlife reserves, and Carmel National Park beckon for outdoor enthusiasts. The city’s historical and cultural riches include museums, film and music festivals, an internationally acclaimed symphony orchestra, theatre, and numerous cinemas, discos, restaurants, and pubs. It provides easy access to other parts of Israel, with Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Ben-Gurion Airport all less than two hours away. In addition to Haifa’s vibrant Jewish community, its cultural and religious mosaic includes many churches and mosques. Haifa is also host to the center for the Baha’i faith and to Israel’s only Ahmadi Muslim community. The Ahmadiyya is an Indian sect of Islam, founded in the late nineteenth century, which promotes peace among nations and opposes religious coercion. Their large mosque houses a prayer hall and a first-floor exhibit of their history and significant contributions. An UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Baha’i World Centre is an expansive complex of gardens centered around the gold-domed Shrine of the Bab. Other sights in Haifa include Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery, home to a cave considered by Christian tradition to be the grave of the Prophet Elijah, the nineteenth-century German colony, Paris Square, Carmel National Forest, Ein Hod artist’s colony, the Haifa Theatre and numerous museums.