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24297
Online Program

Adventures Online: Sicily Through the Ages

From Mount Etna to the markets of Palermo, experience Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, without leaving home during this online learning adventure, live from Italy!
Rating (5)
Program No. 24297RJ
Length
5 days
Starts at
499
Online Program

Adventures Online: Sicily Through the Ages

From Mount Etna to the markets of Palermo, experience Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, without leaving home during this online learning adventure, live from Italy!
Length
5 days
Starts at
499
Length
5 days
Rating (5)
Starts at
499
Program No. 24297RJ

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DATES & PRICES

Online Program
Accommodation Details

Learn from the comfort of your own home.

DATES & PRICES

Online Program
Accommodation Details

Learn from the comfort of your own home.

At a Glance

The largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily has a unique identity that is all its own. Discover this fascinating region of Italy during a live, online learning adventure that offers a look at Sicily from its ancient history to modern day. Explore seaside villages and historic cities on virtual field trips to trace the influence of the Punics, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Greeks and Normans on Sicilian history and culture. Trace the influence of Christian and Muslim influences on contemporary Sicilian culture, architecture, gastronomy and language, and take in a cooking demonstration by a local chef who teaches you how to make Pannelle, popular chickpea fritters that are a favorite Sicilian street food. Embark on a virtual field trip to the city of Noto to admire its Baroque architecture, and learn about Sicily’s Jewish heritage during an online field trip to the city of Siracusa. Marvel in the powerful presence of Mount Etna during a virtual “walk” through the city of Catania, located at the base of the volcano, and learn what it is like to live in this region.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Trace the history of Punics, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Greeks and more as you explore Sicily on virtual field trips to the island of Mothia, the valley of temples in Agrigento, Piazza Armerina and Palermo.
  • Embark on a virtual field trip to the city of Catania, located at the foot of Mount Etna, to learn about Sicily’s active volcano and how it affects local life.
  • Attend a cooking demonstration by a local chef to learn how to make Pannelle, a kind of chickpea fritter that can be found throughout the markets of Sicily.

General Notes

You’ll enjoy 2-3 hours of daily instruction, discussion and/or field trips, which includes sufficient breaks throughout the program. This online program is through Zoom, an easy-to-use web video service that includes closed captioning. All you need is an Internet connection and your computer. We’ll provide a how-to guide to make sure you’ll have a hassle-free experience. In keeping with our Traditional On-Site programs, ALL ADVENTURES ONLINE MULTI-DAY PROGRAMS (INCLUDING THIS PROGRAM) ARE PRESENTED LIVE; THESE PROGRAMS ARE NOT RECORDED. Please review the daily itinerary for start and end times to ensure you won’t miss a minute of this live experience. All times are listed in the EASTERN time zone. If you live in a different time zone, please adjust your schedule accordingly.
Featured Expert
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Moshe Ben Simon
Moshe Ben Simon was born and raised in Tel Aviv, Israel. He moved to Sicily where he earned his degree in “Studies of the Mediterranean” at Messina University. He has worked and lived in Sicily for 26 years, leading travelers around the island and the Italian peninsula. He has also lead educational programs and lectured about Sicily and its peculiar history. A specialist in Jewish history of the island, Moshe is the author of numerous articles related to Judaism and the Jewish history of Sicily.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Moshe Ben Simon View biography
Moshe Ben Simon was born and raised in Tel Aviv, Israel. He moved to Sicily where he earned his degree in “Studies of the Mediterranean” at Messina University. He has worked and lived in Sicily for 26 years, leading travelers around the island and the Italian peninsula. He has also lead educational programs and lectured about Sicily and its peculiar history. A specialist in Jewish history of the island, Moshe is the author of numerous articles related to Judaism and the Jewish history of Sicily.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
On Persephone's Island: A Sicilian Journal
by Mary Taylor Simeti
A House in Sicily
by Daphne Phelps, Virago
Sicily: a Short History from the Ancient Greeks to Cosa Nostra
by John Julius Norwich, John Murray
The Day of Battle
by Rick Atkinson, Abacus
Midnight in Sicily
by Peter Robb
Il Gattopardo (The Leopard)
by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
Bitter Almonds
by Maria Grammatico and Mary Taylor Simeti
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5 days
DAY
1
Welcome, Orientation, Intros, Settlements, History, Akragas
From the comfort of your own home.

Activity note: Today’s session will start at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time and end at 2:30 p.m.

Morning: 11:00 a.m. Welcome, Orientation, Introductions. Our Group Leader will greet everyone and review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, Zoom meeting protocols, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions. We will then say hello to our fellow Road Scholars. 11:30 a.m. Lecture. We will start with a short introduction to Sicily’s topography, geography, and role in the Mediterranean as its largest island. This crossroads for human colonization was first inhabited some 10,000 years ago. We’ll learn about human settlements and how they shaped the Sicilian territories from the arrival of the first indigenous populations through the Punics, Phoenicians, and Carthaginians along the coasts.

Afternoon: 12:00 p.m. Virtual field trip. In this virtual exploration, we will travel through time to the island of Mozia, emblem of the Punic world in Sicily. We’ll visualize the different archaeological layers of the Punic settlement from the foundation until its destruction. We’ll also see major artifacts conserved in Mozia Punic Museum that will help us understand Phoenician culture and rituals in Sicily. Mozia and the Carthaginian town of Lilibeo are a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. 12:30 p.m. We will have a Q&A session to discuss what we have learned so far. 12:50 p.m. Break. 1:00 p.m. Lecture. It has been said if you want to understand ancient Greece, come to Sicily. We will learn about the brilliant Greek history of Sicily from the first Greek colonies in the mid-8th century BCE through the island’s golden age. We’ll hear about development of the colonies, their culture, and architecture evidenced by the numerous archeological sites all around Sicily. 1:35 p.m. Virtual field trip. Pindar (5th Century BCE) called Akragas — modern Agrigento — the most beautiful of mortal cities. We will “visit” this important Greek city with its millennia-old Valley of the Temples, perhaps the most important testimony of ancient classical culture in Sicily and a unique example of a still existing Acropolis. We will “walk’ along sacred streets in to observe and learn about the superb Greek architecture. 2:05 p.m. Q&A session. 2:20 p.m. Wrap-up and notes for tomorrow. 2:30 p.m. Today’s session will end.

DAY
2
Roman Era, Piazza Armerina, Christians & Muslims, Panelle
From the comfort of your own home.

Activity note: Today’s session will start at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time and end at 2:10 p.m.

Morning: 11:00 a.m. Review of the day. 11:05 a.m. Lecture. Under the Greeks, Sicilians were citizens of the city-state system. Roman conquest of the island of Sicily began in 264 BCE. We will learn about major events that brought the island under Roman control after the conclusion of the Punic Wars. As we step back in time, we’ll gain an understanding of Roman architecture and beliefs as evidenced by myths and impressive ruins. 11:40 a.m.Virtual field trip. We will “visit” an exceptional example of a Roman estate in Piazza Armerina — the Villa Romana del Casale — that is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. From the UNESCO inscription: “Roman exploitation of the countryside is symbolized by the Villa Romana del Casale (in Sicily), the centre of the large estate upon which the rural economy of the Western Empire was based. The villa is one of the most luxurious of its kind. It is especially noteworthy for the richness and quality of the mosaics which decorate almost every room; they are the finest mosaics in situ anywhere in the Roman world.”

Afternoon: 12:10 p.m. Q&A. 12:25 p.m. Break. 12:35 p.m. Lecture. We will trace the penetration of Christianity from the fall of the Roman Empire through Muslim conquest of the island. We’ll learn about Arabic influences still witnessed in contemporary Sicilian architecture, culture, gastronomy, and language. 1:15 p.m. Cooking demonstration. We will learn how to make panelle, the chickpea fritters of Arabic origin. Born as a food for poor people, panelle conquered the palate of all the social classes. Today these tasty fritters are the main Sicilian street food, sold all over the open space markets of Palermo. Recipes will be provided in advance so that those who wish to follow along at home can do so. 1:45 p.m. Q&A. 2:00 p.m. Wrap-up and notes for tomorrow. 2:10 p.m. Today’s session will end.

DAY
3
Norman Conquest, Palermo, Baroque Era, Noto
From the comfort of your own home.

Activity note: Today’s session will start at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time and end at 2:05 p.m.

Morning: 11:00 a.m. Review of the day. 11:05 a.m. Lecture. We will learn about the Norman conquest of Sicily that consisted of warfare by various factions of many years and battles stretching back to the 9th Century. We’ll hear historical notes and stories about Norman kings and queens who left an incredible legacy of artworks and architectural masterpieces, transforming Sicily into the pride of their empire. 11:40 a.m. Virtual field trip. We will “explore” one of the island’s treasures, Palermo, a key Arab-Norman site and another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along the historical center of the city, we will observe the finest examples of Arab-Norman style from the 11th century, featuring elegant Arabic constructions embellished with golden Byzantine mosaics.

Afternoon: 12:10 p.m. Q&A. 12:25 p.m. Break. 12:35 p.m. Lecture. We will move ahead in Sicily’s historical timetable to gain an appreciation for Baroque style and architecture. This distinctive period followed the devastating earthquake of 1693. It brought Sicily into a construction fever, emulating the extravagances of Baroque style adopted by the rich and powerful all across Europe. 1:10 p.m. Virtual field trip. Noto, in the southeast corner of the island, was the epicenter of the 1693 earthquake, after which the city was moved and completely rebuilt in the Baroque style. We will see outstanding evidence of Sicilian Baroque in churches, façades, noble balconies, and more than lend a fantastic atmosphere to this hilly town. 1:40 p.m. Q&A. 1:55 p.m. Wrap-up and notes for tomorrow. 2:05 p.m. Today’s session will end.

DAY
4
Jewish Experience in Sicily, Siracusa Giudecca, Mount Etna
From the comfort of your own home.

Activity note: Today’s session will start at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time and end at 2:05 p.m.

Morning: 11:00 a.m. Review of the day. 11:05 a.m. Lecture. We will focus on the Jewish experience in Sicily, one of the least known and dramatic chapters in its history. Although significant Jewish settlements had existed since early Roman times, Jews were forced to flee the island as part of the Spanish expulsion of 1492. We will trace Jewish history and learn about their lives and tragic events of the Inquisition. 11:40 a.m. Virtual field trip. We will venture into the former medieval Jewish quarter of Siracusa, known as the Giudecca. As follow narrow streets, we will recall the heart of Jewish life including the site of the former synagogue where the Church of San Giovanni Battista now stands, the “mikveh” — ritual baths still filled with water — and 14th-century tombstones that are evidence of vibrant Jewish life in the medieval city.

Afternoon: 12:10 p.m. Q&A. 12:25 p.m. Break. 12:35 p.m. Lecture. Mount Etna is the highest volcano in Europe at a height of nearly 11,000 feet (that changes due to eruptive activity and collapse) and still one of the most active in the world. We will learn about its peculiar characteristics, notorious eruptions, and life at the foot of the fiery mountain. 1:10 p.m. Virtual field trip. We will look inside active Mount Etna, with its craters, eruptive fissures, and lava flows. We’ll also “visit” the city of Catania to understand the interplay between humanity and nature. 1:40 p.m. Q&A. 1:55 p.m. Wrap-up and notes for tomorrow. 2:05 p.m. Today’s session will end.

DAY
5
Cosa Nostra, Savoca, Operation Husky, WWII Landing Museum
From the comfort of your own home.

Activity note: Today’s session will start at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time and end at 2:15 p.m.

Morning: 11:00 a.m. Review of the day. 11:05 a.m. Lecture. The Sicilian “mafia” — colloquially known as La Cosa Nostra — has been reputed to be the most powerful organized crime organization in the world. We will learn about its origins, history, and power since the early 19th century as well as the impact of this phenomenon on Sicilian society from the Italian unification until our time. 11:40 a.m. Virtual field trip. Mario Puzo’s 1969 novel “The Godfather” had many antecedents in real life. When Francis Ford Coppola made his legendary movie in 1972, he chose the village of Savoca as one of the main sites for exteriors as it was relatively untouched by progress and ideal to represent the fictional Corleone with its local mafia. We will see places where key scenes were filmed including the main square with a monument to Coppola, the church, and Bar Vitelli.

Afternoon: 12:10 p.m. Q&A. 12:25 p.m. Break. 12:35 p.m. Lecture. The Allied invasion of Sicily in World War II was code-named Operation Husky. Its aim was to form a front in Europe, occupy Fascist Italy, and then move against Nazi Germany. It was a key operation that helped bring about final victory and restore freedom. 1:10 p.m. Virtual field trip. We will “explore” the Museo Storico dello Sbarco in Sicilia 1943 — Historical Museum of the Landing in Sicily 1943. We will be able to see how military events that achieved victory and Allied occupation of Sicily. We’ll also see the destruction and impact Operation Husky had on Sicily and Sicilians. 1:40 p.m. Q&A. 1:55 p.m. Wrap-up and farewells. 2:15 p.m. This concludes our program.






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.