I just returned yesterday from a week-long trip with my program to Sicily.
We began the trip the Friday before last by boarding our program’s private bus driven by the ever-patient Fabio. On the first day, we visited a couple of sites in Campania on the way down toward Sicily, including a wonderfully preserved Greek settlement that had been the home of the famous Presocratic philosopher Zeno, who is now known largely for his intriguing “paradoxes.” We were delighted to learn that there was a beach right by our hotel on the first night. We spent a few hours swimming, playing soccer, and ultimate frisbee. Two of our professors participated in the frisbee game.
On the next day we took an overnight ferry to Sicily and found ourselves exhausted in the morning. A day-by-day description of the Sicily trip would be tiresome both to write and to read, so I’ll summarize our shared experience. Each day began with a hearty breakfast at a new hotel and ended with a two-course dinner at a different hotel. In the intervening time, we usually visited three to five sites housing theaters, homes, workshops, markets, government structures, an incredible amount of Doric temples, and some structures and ruins that have not been identified. We also visited a considerable amount of structures from the Middle Ages–mostly cathedrals. In addition to the man-made marvels of historical Sicilians, we were privileged to view Sicily’s magnificent natural landscape in sunny, rainy, and misty weather. From our site visits we learned about various peoples of Sicily’s history including native inhabitants, Phoenician colonists, Carthaginian colonists, Greek colonists, Roman conquerors and settlers, barbarians, Byzantines, Arabs, and Normans.
This past Friday we took another overnight ferry from Sicily and, thoroughly exhausted from our trip, slept on the bus back back to Rome on Saturday morning.