Powerfully positioned in the center of the sea trade routes between Asia and Spain, Africa, and Italy, Sicily has long been a stopover for traders and conquerors—from the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines to Arab Saracens, Normans, and the Spaniards of Aragon. Join your fellow Princetonians, April 4-16, 2011, on an in-depth exploration of this unique island, notable for its blend of cultures and architecture.
Begin the Journey in Malta and explore the 5,000-year-old Tarxien Temples at Hgar Q’im and the architectural wonders of Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then board the Clipper Odyssey and follow ancient trade routes to land on Sicily's shores at Licata. Trace the scenic coastline where stops include Phoenician settlements near Marsala, and the Greek temples of Agrigento, Selinunte, Segesta, and Morgantina. Tour the Roman theaters and villas of Taormina, Piazza Amerina, and Lipari and discover the ornate architecture of Norman-Arab castles and cathedrals in Cefalu, Palermo, and Monreale. This itinerary presents a perfect balance: with most mornings spent visiting historic sites and free time in the evenings to explore or dine on your own in picturesque coastal towns. There will also be some time for geological “activity” with a cruise around Stromboli and a drive to Mt. Etna’s crater.
Please note: Princeton travelers will be joined on this Journey aboard the Clipper Odyssey by travelers from the Archaeological Institute of America, the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, and other like-minded travelers.
Pietro Frassica, the associate chair of the Department of French and Italian and former director of the interdisciplinary Program in Italian Studies, will serve as the Princeton Study Leader for this program.
A native of Sicily, Professor Frassica earned his Ph.D. in Italian literature from Boston College in 1976, the year in which he joined the Princeton faculty. During his tenure at Princeton, he has taught seminars on courtly literature of the Italian Renaissance, major authors of fiction in the 20th century, and on the theater of Pirandello. In recent years, he has extended the field of cultural studies to literary texts concerned with gastronomy in two wildly popular seminars, “The Literature of Gastronomy” and “Italy: The Land of Slow Food.” For his lifetime’s work in promoting the Italian culture, Professor Frassica was recently awarded the title of Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic" by the Italian government, the country’s highest-ranking honor.
On this Journey, Professor Frassica will lecture and lead preceptorial discussions when the group isn’t occupied by other gastronomic pursuits such as stopping at several vineyards for wine tastings, sampling olive oil straight from the press, visiting local outdoor markets, and savoring the wonderful Sicilian cuisine at traditional restaurants.