This purpose-crafted sea journey explores ancient cities and sites in Greece and Italy that share a common history going back to almost 3,000 years. Southern Italy and Sicily were known in antiquity as Magna Graecia (“Greater Greece”) because of the large number of cities founded by Greeks, starting in the 8th century BC. The monuments that have survived through the centuries in these places speak eloquently of the power and wealth they attained. We are privileged to travel with guest lecturer, Kathleen Lynch, Professor of Classics at University of Cincinnati, an engaging speaker who has excavated at numerous sites throughout Greece.
- Pricing from
- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International Ocean & Sea Voyages
- Departure Dates
Apr 27, 2022 - May 9, 2022
OPTIONAL PALERMO EXTENSION
Extend your journey by participating on the optional 2-day exploration of Palermo (May 9 – 11). Accommodations will be at the stately Grand Hotel Wagner, and tours will visit Palermo’s main landmark sites, including the glorious Capella Palatina and Monreale.
Price: $885 per person double occupancy.
Single room supplement: $280.
CANCELLATIONS & REFUNDS: All cancellations are subject to a $300 per person administrative fee. Cancellations received 61-90 days prior to departure will be assessed a penalty equal to 50% of the total program cost per person. Cancellations received within 60 days of departure are subject to 100% cancellation penalties. Requests for cancellations must be made in writing. No refunds will be made for any part of this program in which you choose not to participate.
Wednesday, April 27, 2022: Depart the US
Depart the United States for Athens, Greece.
Thursday, April 28: Athens, Greece
Arrive in Athens and transfer to the elegant King George Hotel, conveniently located on Syntagma (Constitution) Square, the center of the city. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Friday, April 29: Athens
One of the world’s most venerable cities, Athens is the capital of Greece and Europe’s oldest city. Its ancient monuments are testimonials to a glorious past that gave birth to democracy and witnessed the origins of many ideas, arts and sciences that constitute the Western tradition. Explore in the morning the Agora, the civic and commercial center of ancient Athens and the living heart of its democracy. See the remains of civic buildings, the well-preserved 5th-century BC Temple of Hephaistos, and the Agora Museum, housed in the magnificently reconstructed Stoa of Attalus. In the afternoon, visit the National Archaeological Museum, home to outstanding collections that represent Greece’s long history and cultures.
Saturday, April 30: Athens/Embarkation/Corinth Canal
Spend the morning at leisure. In the afternoon, tour the Acropolis. Occupied since prehistoric times, the rocky plateau of the Acropolis rises dramatically out of the plain and dominates the modern city as it did in ancient times. The incomparable Parthenon and the other temples built in the 5th century BC represent the highest achievement of architecture and art of the Classical period. Also, visit the Acropolis Museum, which houses a magnificent collection of sculpture. Continue to the port to embark the Elysium and sail. Later, the ship will transit the Corinth Canal, the narrow and scenic waterway that separates the Greek mainland from the Peloponnese. Overnight aboard ship, docked in Corinth.
Sunday, May 1: Corinth & Delphi
In the morning tour Corinth, one of the grandest ancient sites in Greece. Owing to its superb location and two harbors, Corinth became a powerful and prosperous mercantile power, starting in the late 8th century BC. Its distinctive pottery has been found throughout the Mediterranean. Corinth expanded its power by founding colonies such as Korcyra (Corfu) and Syracuse. Explore the site, including the Temple of Apollo, one of the oldest temples in Greece, and visit the museum. Over lunch aboard, sail across the Gulf of Corinth to the small port town of Itea, which provides easy access to Delphi. Sited below towering Mount Parnassus, Delphi was sacred to Apollo and was the seat of his famed oracle. Our visit to this awesome site includes the Sacred Way, the Treasury of the Athenians, the Temple of Apollo, the theater, and other structures. The museum, which we will also visit, houses the celebrated statue of the Charioteer, among other treasures.
Monday, May 2: Olympia
From the port of Katakolon, where we will arrive in the morning, drive to nearby Olympia, located in a beautiful setting in a river valley covered with evergreen poplars, oaks, planes and pines. Coupled with its importance throughout antiquity, and its rich remains, Olympia is one of the most significant archaeological sites in Greece. A sacred precinct dedicated to Zeus, it was here that the Panhellenic games were held every four years from 776 BC to AD 393, giving rise to the modern Olympics. Tour the site and see the temples, other public buildings and the stadium where the games were held. Also, visit the Archaeological Museum, which exhibits some of the best sculpture from the Classical to the Roman periods.
Tuesday, May 3: Corfu
Identified as the Homeric island of Scheria, where Odysseus was washed ashore, Corfu’s recorded history begins in 734 BC, when Corinth, recognizing the islands’ strategic position that leads from the Ionian Sea to the Adriatic, founded a colony and called it Korkyra. From the 14th to the 18th centuries, the island was controlled by Venice, which left its strong mark on the town’s architecture. Explore Palaeopolis, the site of the ancient settlement. Located within the beautiful wooded Mon Repos estate, it includes the remains of sanctuaries, temples and an early Christian basilica. A neoclassical villa houses the Palaeopolis Museum. In the town of Corfu, we visit the Archaeological Museum, whose notable exhibits include the massive Gorgon pediment from the Temple of Artemis in Palaeopolis. Other interesting sites include the 14th-century Venetian Old Fortress, and the medieval church of Antivouniotissa, home to a superb collection of Byzantine and post-Byzantine icons.
Wednesday, May 4: Crotone, Calabria, Italy
Crossing the Ionian Sea, we make our first call in ancient Magna Graecia in Crotone, which was founded by Achaeans in 710 BC, and called Croton, becoming one of the most prominent and wealthiest Greek cities in southern Italy. In the mid-6th century BC, Pythagoras made it the center of his famed school of philosophy. Visit the National Archaeological Museum, whose exhibits chronicle the development of the city from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages. Artifacts include the Treasure of Hera, objects in bronze, silver and gold, exquisite jewelry, and finds from the latest excavations. Then drive to the charming hilltop medieval village of Santa Severina, a center of learning and culture under the Byzantines and then the Normans. Visit the Byzantine baptistery, dating from the 8th-9th centuries, the old cathedral (10th century), and the imposing castle.
Thursday, May 5: Syracuse, Sicily
Founded by Corinth in 734 BC, Syracuse became one of the most prominent and wealthiest cities of the ancient Mediterranean world, rivalling Athens in power and prestige. Our exploration of the city will begin in Ortygia, the center of the ancient city, a small island that is connected to the mainland of Sicily by two bridges. Notable here are the Cathedral, which incorporated in its construction the 5th-century Temple of Athena, the Arethusa Fountain, and the remains of the Temple of Apollo, dating from the early 6th century BC. On mainland Syracuse we focus on the Neapolis Archaeological Park, which includes the 5th-century BC Greek Theater, hewn out of the rocky hillside; the Latomia del Paradiso, the enormous ancient quarries; the Roman Amphitheater; the 3rd-century BC Altar of Hieron II; and the Archaeological Museum, which houses Sicily’s most extensive and interesting archaeological collection.
Friday, May 6: Reggio di Calabria & Taormina
Arrive in the morning in the flourishing port city of Reggio di Calabria, the capital of Calabria, situated at the foot of the mountainous Aspromonte region, and on the narrow waterway that separates mainland Italy from Sicily. Visit the National Museum of Magna Graecia, home to an extraordinary collection of artifacts. Highlights include the pinakes, clay tablets that were brightly painted between 490 – 450 BC, excavated at the Sanctuary of Persephone; and the celebrated Riace Bronzes, the heroic statues which are among the very best example of bronze statuary to have survived from the Greek Classical period. Sail across the Straits of Messina to Messina itself for an excursion to Taormina which, from its hilltop position above the sea, overlooks the cone of Mount Etna. Founded in 403 BC by settlers from the Aegean island of Naxos and called Tauromenion, this delightful town is dominated by the magnificent Greek theater. Taormina’s narrow streets and alleyways are lined with elegant mansions.
Saturday, May 7: Paestum
Reaching Campania on the Italian mainland, we disembark at the small port of Agropoli and drive to nearby Paestum, one of the most important cities of Magna Graecia, founded by Greeks in 600 BC as Poseidonia, the city of Poseidon. Situated along trade routes and surrounded by fertile land, the city grew quickly into a thriving agricultural and maritime center. Its wealth is attested by the three magnificent Doric temples that were constructed between 530 – 450 BC, and which dominate the site to this day. In addition to the three very well-preserved temples, the excavated site includes the remains of residential buildings and a forum. The museum, located next to the site, includes artifacts from the excavations, the most unique of which is the series of mural paintings from the so-called Tomb of the Diver (480 BC), which constitute rare examples of ancient Greek painting.
Sunday, May 8: Segesta & Erice, Sicily
Return to Sicily and dock at the port city of Trapani, the ancient Drepanon, which was built below the headland of Mount Erice. Drive to Segesta to visit the superb late 5th-century BC temple, standing beautifully in isolation amid the hills. Despite the excellent preservation of its 36 columns, entablature and pediments, some archaeologists believe that the temple was unfinished and remains so since its construction. Continue to Erice, a quaint medieval town of stone houses and narrow alleyways, built on top of a hill. This was the ancient Eryx, famous in antiquity for its sanctuary of Venus. Spend time exploring this splendid spot.
Monday, May 9: Palermo/Disembarkation/USA
Arrive in Palermo, Sicily’s capital. Disembark and transfer to the airport for your return flight home.
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