Ancient Roman & Greek History in Sicily

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Ancient Roman & Greek History in Sicily

Who: All students interested in Ancient Roman and Greek History as well as Italian culture | When: March 14, 2020 - March 21, 2020

Ancient Roman & Greek History in Sicily

Who: All students interested in Ancient Roman and Greek History as well as Italian culture | When: March 14, 2020 - March 21, 2020


Who: All students interested in Ancient Roman and Greek History as well as Italian culture
When: March 14, 2020 - March 21, 2020
Trip Leaders: Mrs. Laviola, Mr. McGrann, Sra. de la Torre-McCloskey, Sra. Romero

Students will have an opportunity to explore ancient Roman and Greek history during our spring break trip to Sicily. There is something about Italy that stirs the soul as it educates the mind. The rich and colorful culture melts into a warm atmosphere filled with light and life. From Roman ruins to the richness of the Renaissance, from the ruins of war to the peace of country life, experience the world in a new way in beautiful Italy.

Full Itinerary

Day 1 - Departure From Newark

  • Relax and enjoy our scheduled flight from Newark to Catania, Italy
  • Our 24-hour Tour Director will meet us at the airport and remain with us until our final airport departure.

Day 2 - Arrive Catania - Taormina Area (2 Nights)

  • We will have use of a private coach and driver while touring for the next six days. Today we will travel from Catania to Taormina.
  • Our base for the next two nights will be Taormina (area), where breakfast will be provided at the hotel.
  • Taormina is located on a hill of the Monte Tauro, and dominates two large, sweeping bays below. It is one of the most beautiful spots in all of Italy because of its spectacular views of Mount Etna and the sea.
  • This evening, dinner will be provided in a local restaurant.
  • Daily Reflection and Group Discussion
  • "We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience" - John Dewey
  • On every evening of the program, we will set time aside to update our Reflection Journal and share thoughts and impressions that have come to the fore in the course of the day.

Day 3 - Taormina (Ancient Greek and Roman History)

  • During the course of our tour we will gain from the knowledge and insight of five half-day local guides while we are here in Italy.
  • Visit the Ancient Theater at Taormina. It is thought to have been built by the Greeks in the 3rd century BC, but to have been remodeled later by the Romans, and used as an arena for their games.
  • Explore Mount Etna National Park, home to the highest and largest active volcano in Europe, which looms menacingly over the coast of eastern Sicily. Take a guided walk on one of the parks many trails (dependent on weather and make-up of the group), which will introduce us to the flora, fauna and volcanic aspects of the region.
  • This evening, dinner will be provided in a local restaurant.

Day 4 - Taormina - Siracusa - Enna (2 Nights)

  • Today we will travel from Taormina to Enna. En route, we will visit Siracusa.
  • Siracusa was the most important and powerful Greek city-state from the 5th to 3rd centuries BC, and according to Cicero, the most beautiful. The town remained significant through the Middle Ages. Today it contains some of the most beautiful ancient and Baroque architecture in Sicily.
  • Visit the Siracusa Regional Archaeological Museum, one of the best archaeological museums in the entire country. It has an extensive collection of Greek and Roman relics from early Sicily and includes the Landolina Venus statue and an interesting collection of skeletons. Today, we will enjoy our meal at a local farm.
  • For the next two nights, our base will be in Enna (area). Breakfast will be included at the hotel.
  • Enna is a city and comune located roughly at the center of Sicily, southern Italy, in the province of Enna, towering above the surrounding countryside. It has earned the nicknames belvedere and ombelico of Sicily. At 931 m above sea level, Enna is the highest Italian provincial capital.
  • We will enjoy dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 5 - Piazza Armerina - Agrigento

  • Piazza Armerina, splendid art city woven into the heart of Sicily, boasts a slew of monuments that tell of its glorious past. Meanwhile, the apple of the citizens' eyes is the Villa Romana del Casale; originally the property of a powerful Roman family, it dates back to the 4th Century A.D. This majestic Imperial villa, standing tall in the Province of Enna (perhaps the most "Roman" of places on the Island), is a magnificent rural abode, fascinating, above all, for its captivating mosaics, considered the most beautiful and best-preserved of their kind.
  • Spend time visiting the Villa Romana del Casale, which is a large and elaborate Roman villa located about 3 km from the town of Piazza Armerina, Sicily. Excavations have revealed one of the richest, largest, and varied collections of Roman mosaics in the world, for which the site has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The Cathedral of Piazza Armerina is one of the greatest churches in Sicily, built in the 16th century on a hilltop. It is an elegant Gothic-Aragonese church.
  • Modern Agrigento lies on the site of an important ancient Greek city that was famed for the luxurious lifestyle of its inhabitants. The town still contains a core of medieval streets that are lovely to walk through.
  • Explore the ruins in the Valley of the Temples, which straddle the low ridge to the south of Agrigento. Our tour will include the Temple of Juno, the Temple of Concord, the Temple of Hercules, and the so-called Temple of Castor and Pollux.
  • LEAP: Pick a Patron
  • In Ancient Greece it was important for a city to have a protector (or patron) to look after it. Taking the balloon debate format, the groupwill imagine they are a city in search of a God. A shortlist of Gods will be presented and students will debate the relative merits of each before settling on one.
  • We will enjoy dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 6 - Enna - Monreale - Palermo (2 Nights)

  • Today we will travel from Enna to Palermo. En route we will stop in Monreale.
  • Monreale is located 6 miles southwest of Palermo, in northern Sicily. It rests on the slope of Monte Caputo and boasts a panoramic view over the Conca d’Oro (Golden Shell) area. The town was founded by King William II of Sicily and developed around its important 12th- century Benedictine monastery.
  • Visit Monreale Duomo, where Arabo-Norman art and architecture reached the pinnacle of its glory, beauty, and charm. Construction of the duomo was launched in 1174 by William II and includes Pisano’s splendid bronze doors, completed in 1185, and the Treasury, housing precious objects and reliquaries, along with other ecclesiastical artifacts. Those that choose can make the steep climb uphill from the cathedral to the Terraces for a panoramic vista over the cloisters and a stunning view of the apses.
  • For the next two nights, our base will be in Palermo (area). Breakfast will be included at the hotel.
  • Since its founding over 2,700 years ago, the city of Palermo on the island of Sicily has evolved into a unique destination that mixes Asian and European culture. The city was established by the Phoenicians and was conquered by numerous cultures, including the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, and Normans. The beauty of this city expresses its diverse heritage, making it an intriguing and exciting place to experience.
  • This evening, dinner will be provided in a local restaurant.

Day 7 - Day Trip to Segesta and Erice

  • On a hill just outside the site of the ancient city of Segesta, discover an unusually well- preserved Doric Temple. Its unfinished condition and its remarkable, almost perfect, state of conservation make it one of the most important surviving Hellenic temples in the world. Also visit the Ancient Theater to enjoy the vast and scenic panorama to the north.
  • The enchanting medieval city of Erice was established nearly 3,000 years ago. Set atop a mountain on the northwest coast of the island, Erice is often shrouded in mist, but on a clear day offers panoramic views of the surrounding plains and coast of Sicily.
  • Visit Erice Castle (Castle of Venus), Built by the Normans in the 12th century, the Castle stands on a site that was once occupied by a Greek temple dedicated to Venus Ericina. The Greek temple was in ruins when the castle was built.
  • This evening, dinner will be provided in a local restaurant.
  • Take a Walking Tour of Old Palermo, commencing in front of San Giovanni degli Eremiti and ending in Piazza Marina. Along the way, we will visit Palazzo dei Normanni, a mammoth palace and artistic treasure constructed by the Arabs over the ruins of a Roman fort in the 11th century. Over time it has been expanded, and it was turned into the royal residence of Roger II, the Norman king. Today, the chief attraction is the Cappella Palatina, a magnificent example of the Arabo-Normanna artistic genius.
  • Final Reflection and Discussion Session
  • This evening we make the final entries in our Reflection Journal and share some of the most significant observations and perspectives that have taken shape in the course of our travel experience and how these may be most relevant for us all as we return home.

Day 8 - Departure From Palermo

  • Our rewarding and enjoyable tour comes to an end as our Tour Director accompanies us to the airport on our final day.

Please note that all itineraries are subject to change.



Students must see the trip leader in person by Friday, May 3rd to have their name placed on the initial list.

Participants will be selected for the trips from that list based on the following criteria: 

  • Juniors and Seniors will have priority
  • Sophomores and Freshmen will be selected via a lottery
  • Space is limited. No more than 20 students will be on each trip.

Have Questions?

Write Mrs. Laviola at

Please Note: Trip Full