Sicily is a Greek soul in an Italian body. The warm climate and fertile plains attracted ancient Greek colonists. Later Romans, Byzantines, Arabs Normans and even the Spanish ruled before the island was joined to the kingdom of Naples, and became part of Italy in the 19th century.
Visit the National Archaeological Museum of Athens in order to have an overview of the entire ancient history of Greece.
Visit the Ancient Agora (Market place) with distinguished Archaeologists from the American School of Classical Studies in Athens as your guide. Lunch in the Plaka.
Day 3: :
In Corinth, visit the Roman Forum and the Museum. The Bema where St Paul defended himself before the Roman proconsul Gallio. Epidaurus: the site of the ancient medical center and the best preserved Greek theater. Evening at lovely Nafplion by the sea, with its medieval fortress overhead.
Return and overnight in Athens.
Fly from Athens to Rome and meet connecting flight to Palermo.
Reception and Welcome dinner. Overnight in Palermo.
City tour with visits to the Palace of the Normans, the Capella Palatina, known for its outstanding mosaics by Byzantine artists of the 12th century. The Norman Cathedral and the churches of San Cataldo and La Mattorana as well as the Archaeological Museum with the fine metopes from the Temple of Selinunte. In the afternoon Monreale Cathedral with mosaics from the Old and New Testament (12th century). Dinner hosted by a Sicilian aristocrat at her palazzo.
On the way to Agrigento visit Segesta with its magnificent unfinished Doric temple and theater. Continue to Selinunte and visit the park of the impressive temples, as well as the quarry.
Lunch of Sicilian specialties at a seaside trattoria. Overnight in Agrigento.
Agrigento is the Greek Akragas “the most beautiful city of mortals” according to the ancient poet Pindar. Visit the Valley of the Temples, unique outside of Greece for their architecture and the excellent state of preservation. On the way to Syracuse visit the Roman villa at Piazza Armerina known for its mosaic floors famous for their quality and extend. Lunch at a Sicilian farm. Overnight at Taormina.
Drive to Syracuse to visit the Archaeological Museum and the site, to view the quarry of Dionysius, the Greek theater and the Roman amphitheater.
The old town of Ortygia (quail) with its Doric Temple to Athena converted to the Roman Catholic Church to Santa Lucia. Also, the famous numismatic collection (coins from all over the ancient world). Drive to Taormina and visit its famous theater with a breathtaking view of the volcano Mount Etna. Overnight in Taormina.
Drive to Messina for the ferry-boat to Reggio di Calabria. The straits of Messina were considered the Scylla and Charybdis in the adventures of Odysseus. In Reggio visit the Museum with the unique classical period Greek bronze statues of two warriors. Overnight at Paestum.
Paestum. Visit the best preserved Greek Temples and the fine Archaeological Museum with unique fresco paintings. In the afternoon drive to picturesque Sorrento for an overnight.
Day excursion and extensive visit to Pompeii and Herculaneum Overnight at Sorrento.
Drive to Rome. Orientation tour by bus and walking tour to the sites of interest. Visits to the Roman Forum and Coliseum, Constantine’s Arch and the Capitoline hill and its museums. The Pantheon, the Piazza Navona, the Mausoleum of Augustus and the newly opened monument to Augustus, the Ara Pacis, as well as the synagogue.
The Vatican museums, the Capella Sixtina and St Peter’s Cathedral. In the afternoon visit to the catacombs and St Paul’s Cathedral. Dinner at a village outside of Rome.
- Lectures by the study leader before the visits.
- Dinner at a historic palazzo in Palermo
- Puppet theater show
- Lunch at a country restaurant