I’ve recently returned from my midterm break trip to Sicily, and Autumn in Rome can definitely be felt. It’s getting colder and colder, and I’m almost missing the hot summer days already. My trip to Sicily was full of great moments, and I learned a lot. I went with my Magna Gracie class, where we visited several monuments.
The first day, we explored the island of Ortigia, where we stayed. The harbor, the Spring of Arethusa, and the Temples of Apollo and Athena were sites full of history and beauty. The Spring of Arethusa and the Temples of Apollo and Athena specifically had remarkable importance in the Ancient Greek world. We also had the chance to visit underground Jewish baths that had been hidden until 28 years ago. The baths were 16-18 meters underground, and were sacred for rituals.
On day two, we went to an Archaeological Museum in Syracuse, where we saw plenty of ancient materials from the land of Sicily. The museum had a lot of pottery, and thankfully, a lot of information about past civilizations can be verified and introduced from pottery remains. Also, on the second day we visited the Altar of Hieron, where the foundation is the only part of the altar that’s still intact. It’s not too far from the largest Sicilian theatre of Syracuse.
On day three, we travelled to Agrigento, which was only about two and half hours away from Ortigia. We visited another Archaeological Museum in Agrigento. We saw the ruined Temples of Zeus, Herakles, Concord, and Hera. It felt unreal to be walking in such important locales in the Greek world.
Day four, we travelled to Morgantina and Piazza Armerina, and we almost didn’t make it in on time. Morgantina was about an hour away from Ortigia and it had gorgeous countryside views. Talk about rolling hills! I was really interested in a theatre at one of the archaeological sites in Morgantina. I had never seen a theatre structured like it and I could only imagine all of the powerful ways to play and work in the space.
Days five and six were spent in Taormina. Climbing up Mt. Etna was terrifying. The winds were very strong, and it felt like I could’ve been pushed off the edge just like that. We didn’t climb the entire active volcano–the portion that we did climb was more than enough for me. I was really surprised by how terrified I was about the climb, given that I’m from Colorado and tend to hike a lot. I’m really proud of myself that I did it!
On the trip, each of us had to present on a specific site and my topic was the Theatre in Taormina. Taormina is a small town on the east coast of Sicily about an hour away from Mt. Etna. I gave my presentation on the ancient stairs of the theatre and it was a really cool experience. The theatre in Taormina specifically provides audiences with beautiful panoramic views, as it sits on the side of the mountain and overlooks the sea. I was so gracious and glad I was able to experience Sicily in this way, and that I had the opportunity to learn as much as I did. Much thanks to my Magna Graecia class professor who guided us throughout the week.
I’m glad to be back in Rome.
Until next time,