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Campus of the Year Featured Region: Sicily

In celebration of our 2023 Campus of the Year, we will be regularly sharing stories, recipes and recommendations about Italy! From its history and culture to a few of our favorite learning adventures, follow along to learn more about this fascinating country all year long!

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and its location in the Mediterranean’s center has made it an important site in history and culture. With a past that is thousands of years old, fascinating geological features and culinary delights, there’s lots to learn about and experience in Sicily.

Here are just a few things you should know about this amazing island!


What You Can Expect to Learn About

Sicily is located on Italy’s southern coast and contains treasures for every learner. It is home to Europe’s tallest active volcano, rich history stretching back beyond Roman rule and beautiful art in the forms of architecture and breathtaking mosaics. As you explore Sicily, you’ll have the chance to immerse yourself in Italian history and culture through experiences like: 

What You Should Eat

Sicilian cuisine takes influences from Italian, Greek, Spanish and Arab cultures. Fresh food is a staple, including seafood, eggplants and tomatoes. Palermo caponata, or Sicilian saucy aubergine salad, is one of the dishes that showcases these fresh ingredients, featuring fish seasoned with celery, onions and basil. Pasta alla norma is a dish with similar flavors served over macaroni.

Of course, you also have to have dessert! Cannoli are a Sicilian treat, as is cassata and both feature local ricotta. 


Getting Around

No matter which part of Italy you explore, walking will be an integral part of your experience. Bring along comfortable, sturdy shoes to navigate the many cobblestones and rail-less stairways you may encounter. While your bus will bring you as close as possible to the landmarks you have dreamed of exploring, many of these locations prohibit vehicles from getting too close and you will need to walk the remainder of the way.   

Pro tip: if you have mobility issues, bring along a mobile cane chair to help you navigate uneven pathways and offer you a place to sit and rest when needed.

What to Bring

Fashion in Italy is important, but it is also important to dress smart. Religious sites have staff enforcing dress codes requiring covered knees and shoulders. It is also wise to purchase a body wallet to prevent your passport, money and other valuables from being stolen by professional pickpockets. Carrying a small crossbody bag, worn to your front, zipped shut and held with one hand, can prevent theft.

Especially during the summer months, having water on hand is a good idea. Rather than purchasing plastic bottled water, bring your own reusable water bottle to retrieve fresh potable water from one of the many water fountains. Clean drinking water from the local mountains is readily available across most regions in Italy. 

Pro tip: Prepare for your learning adventure with a book from our Italy booklist!


Be Sure to Check Out… 

  • Greek Theatre of TaorminaPart of the Archaeological Park of Naxos and Taormina, the Greek Theatre of Taormina is located on the east coast of Sicily. The theatre was built in the third century BCE and could hold thousands of spectators. Views from its seats include Mount Etna and the coast. 
  • The Palatine ChapelBuilt over a thirteen year period, the Palatine Chapel was commissioned by Ruggero II of Sicily in the 12th century. It is filled with Byzantine mosaics depicting religious scenes from Christianity. The Chapel also has Norman and Islamic influences, reflecting the multitude of cultures that make up Sicilian history.
  • SelinunteSelinunte was a flourishing Greek city until its destruction by Carthage in the seventh and sixth centuries BCE. Today, you can explore the ruins and archaeological park while taking in views of the Mediterranean. Selinunte makes up the largest archaeological park in all of Europe. 


Are you ready to join us in Italy, our 2023 Campus of the Year? Find your next great adventure on our website!