32 Days · 53 Moments · May 2018

May the Sicilians Dance


3 June 2018

Just an additional reaction of the eerie nature of the Piazza which we are all to familiar with in its bustling glory. I can not describe to you the alternative states of activity of the Piazza at different times of day and night. Off to the airport to begin our journeys home.

2 June 2018

After our farewell dinner sponsored by SCIE (where I’ve been staying for the last month) we return to pack and the conclusion of the trip really hits us hard. After a few games of contemplative chess, we decide to spend some more time together, and a group of us take a rather long walk around with no destination in mind particularly, but more so to enjoy our final hours walking the streets of our dear home for the last month. Stopping along outcroppings overlooking the sea, blackened by night save for Luna’s glimmering reflection on the Med, we point out constellations and reminisce together on the good times we’ve shared during the last month. Arriving back at the center, we finish packing and I steal a final glance of Piazza Duomo which is eerily deserted at 3:00 in the morning in between period 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Vegas Knights and The Washington Capitals. #letsgoknights
Our boat tour of the great harbor was absolutely breathtaking.... Gliding over the waters of the Ionian Sea, imagine hundreds of Athenian trireme warships ready for battle and expecting victory only to be obliterated resulting in one of the most devastating losses on the Athenian side during the Sicilian Expedition of the Peloponnesian War. The amount of historical and visual context I have experienced on this amazing adventure has not only augmented my appreciation of history but also the extent of my temporal awareness. In addition to the stunning vistas witnessed on the expedition, the company of our group really made it worthwhile. I have repeatedly said throughout our trip that we really lucked out with how well our group got along and connected with one another. As our last main treat of the trip we are all deeply saddened to say farewell to each other and Ortigia, however we know that this is not arrivederci (goodbye), but instead rivedersi (to see each other again)
A day beginning with many “lasts.” A farewell to the kittens, one last drink at the marina at our favorite seaside bar (and a cigar), one last dip in the Mediterranean, and a final Cipollini e Coca-Cola Classic (my favorite snack from the trip). Excited for our boat tour around the great harbor above a sunken Athenian fleet from the Peloponnesian War and hopefully some Bene vistas to share!!!!

1 June 2018

What an absolute treat!!! Tonight we had the wonderful pleasure of watching Euripides’ tragedy of Eracle (Hercules) at the gorgeous Greek theatre of Syracuse!! It was pretty packed and having previously presented on the subject of Greek theatre in the marvelous monument, I stretched my imagination to the absolutely monumental scale of the theatre in all its glory! Designed in part by Archimedes himself, the acoustics of the structure in its heyday required little amplification. The performance was completely in Italian and presented by an almost completely female cast (ironically in Ancient Greece, women were forbidden to perform or take part in theatre). Having read the play in our literature class I was familiar with the plot and just for good measure pulled up a translation on my phone to follow along for a majority of the spectacle. It was awesome to see the theatrics and dramatic manner in which the play was presented. Especially given the classical nature of the event!!!
After the sunrise, we retire to bed for another couple hours. Upon awakening once more, I enjoy an Americano con Latte before we leave to walk over to the Paolo Orsi Museum to give our last presentations and upon conclusion, complete our courses for the program. After the walk back to Ortigia, we grab lunch at the market where “Sandwich Jedi” Mario performs his magic and our tastebuds reverberate with the masterfully combined sensational flavors of Sicily. Upon finishing our incredible lunches we hang back at the apartment and relax before our trip to the Greek Theatre of Syracuse for a performance of Euripides’ tragedy Eracle (Hercules)!!
Two days before the end of our adventure, a few of us decided to put in the effort to wake up early and catch the sunrise. Peeling ourselves from our linens, we venture down to a castle-like structure facing East and overlooking the sea. For about 30 minutes we stayed up there chatting and enjoying the view. For Shannon, it was particularly a treat for her birthday today!! (Happy Birthday Shannon) Watching the fishing boats out for their morning catch and witnessing the sky change color as the sun magnified over the horizon was really a great way to start the day. Glad we rolled out of bed to witness 🌅

30 May 2018

Today we decided to use our free time after classes ended to board a sea-cave excursion for two hours. The 15 of us had an absolute blast; first visiting the caves and then mooring in a harbor to swim in the beautiful waters. Always seeking an opportunity to jump off a boat into the sea, we spent about 30 minutes frolicking and swimming around before heading back to our island home. Upon our return we poured libations and made merry until we decided to call it a night and sleep before class tomorrow. What an absolute blast!!! So glad we all got together and had such a great time!!

29 May 2018

From Noto, we drive through the Roman Town of Palazzolo Acreide to the Ancient Greek site of Akrai where the Greek theatre is still utilized (there was a dress rehearsal underway when we got there). The Ancient Greek Town of Akrai was founded around 664 BC; significant due to its location between the towns of Southern Sicily and the communication permitted by these routes. Thucydides tells us (picture 9 where we held literature class sitting in the ancient bouleuterion) that this is the location where the Syracusan forces defeated the Athenians forcing their retreat during the Sicilian Expedition in 413 BC. The site is also home to some spectacular catacomb necropoles that we had much fun meandering and climbing through (as you can see in photo 3). The last stop of the site was the Ancient Greek theatre that holds a capacity of around 600. As you can see, the theatre is still in use today and hosts productions during the summer. All in all, the site is quite fun and well-kept.
Our first stop on our final excursion of the trip is Noto; notorious for their masonry as well as almonds and mandarin oranges, there are spectacular sights and tastes to be experience here. In the 1990s, the Coppola of the Duomo collapsed due to a mixture of water damage and concrete weight. Thankfully nobody was hurt in the collapse save for a man in his casket ready to be buried the next day. Taking this opportunity to rebuild and implement lavish decoration, the frescoes seemingly move and jump out at the viewer. A testament to the limestone masonry can be seen in the struts under the balconies in photo 4. Next stop was another church where I recognized some writing behind the altar. We snacked at a world famous pastry shop where I got an Almond Granite (Italian ice) and a Trancio Imperiale pastry that was mouthwatering. After one more church, we exit the city via the arch adorned with a turret for strength, a pelican for self sacrifice, and a dog for loyalty.

28 May 2018

Today was rather uneventful and we were able to relax after our classes had concluded. We chilled in the apartment and played cards until the sunset showed up. We hung out for quite a while on the roof and I was able to play around with my camera. I was able to successfully capture the moon after playing around with aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. However, Venus was a little evasive as you can see. (Aphrodite seems to be out for lunch with someone else) Had a little fun with trick photography and a chimney with a cameo of Jupiter. (Zeus makes an appearance) We decided to call it a night watching the timeless classic “Scott Pilgrim VS. The World” before our final excursion tomorrow!! (Updates to follow tomorrow)

27 May 2018

Ahhhh Arenella ☺️ On our free day Sunday, we decide to make the day one of relaxation by the Ionian Sea at the gorgeous Lido Arenella. After a scenic 4 mile taxi ride, we round a corner and are welcomed by a buzzing beach filled with people of all ages soaking up the sun and frolicking in the cool and refreshing waters. After getting settled we traverse the rocks until we reach the 20 foot high cliffs overlooking the incredible azure waters. For about a couple hours, we take turns jumping, diving, and doing tricks off of the cliff face. Amongst midst the images of me in mid-air, image 4 shows me performing a flip off of the cliff into the waters below. The caves were also fun to explore underneath the cliffs and perfect for some silhouette photography. Shannon and I, equipped with underwater camera gear, led the photo and video shoot of the group taking turns leaping from the rocks. After 5 hours in the sun, we return to Ortigia What a wonderful way to spend a lazy Sunday

26 May 2018

Although unfortunately you aren’t allowed to take your own pictures inside the museum of Leonardo da Vinci and Archimedes due to marketing, I politely asked our tour guide to snap one of me in front of my favorite Leonardo da Vinci machine and then we collected a group photo at the end of the visit ☺️ This museum was so much fun!! With working recreations of inventions of Da Vinci and Archimedes, we spent about half an hour playing and learning about the different innovative machines compiled by these great intellectual minds. I am 100% positive that if I had been there with my father, we could have easily spent 2 hours there playing with the machines, discussing the methods and reasoning behind them, and telling the stories and the histories involving both historical figures. Such a great time!!! I definitely recommend visiting this museum if you’re planning on coming to either Syracuse or Ortigia.
After our tour of the cathedral we exit and right next to the structure, we descend into the Hypogeum of Piazza Duomo. Located next to the walls of the Archbishop’s gardens, the path consists of one main subterranean tunnel with other chambers and tunnels that extend from it. Dating back to the Greek period as a system of aqueducts, the underground feature was also used as a bomb shelter during WW2. In addition to the present tomb dedicated to the Patron St. Lucia where she was entombed and her tomb was renovated in order to protect her relics and cult statue. The tunnel ends at the bay and of you hike a left and walk about 2 minutes, you arrive at the Fountain of Arethusa. According to Greek mythology, the fresh water fountain is the place where the nymph Arethusa, the patron figure of ancient Syracuse, returned to earth's surface after escaping from her undersea home in Arcadia. It is very interesting to see how close the fresh-water spring is to the salty Mediterranean Sea.
Since the beginning of the program I have been walking past and sitting on the steps of the Duomo di Siracusa marveling at its ornate baroque facade. Today we had the opportunity to take a tour of the ancient building. The origins of a Temple on this site date back to prehistory. In the 5th century BC, it was a Temple dedicated to Greek Athena but there are remains of foundations underneath even those dating to the archaic and pre-Hellenic ages. The weather worn Doric columns of the Temple of Athena are still incorporated into the structure today. The present cathedral was constructed by St. Bishop Zosimo of Syracuse in the 7th century CE. In 878 CE, the building was converted into a mosque during the Arabian invasion and then reverted back when Norman Roger I of Sicily retook the city in 1085. The current version was the one that was rebuilt after the 1693 Sicily earthquake. The cathedral stands as a central core of Syracuse and is rich in both its history and beauty.

25 May 2018

Our next stop was a walk through the Santurio Madonna delle Lacrime (The Sanctuary of our lady of tears) In one of the more famous examples of “weeping Madonnas” the church is designed in the Brutalist architectural style in the shape of a teardrop representing the tears shed by the weeping Madonna The case has since been debunked as it is possible to create a semi-hollow plaster with an impermeable finish and then apply tiny scratches where the tear ducts would be, thereby simulating a “weeping” sculpture Quite a structure and I’ve been told that the lighting at different times of day is quite exquisite Right outside the massive church rests the remains of an ancient Hellenistic settlement that include Piazza della Vittoria (Victory Square) and a sanctuary to Demeter (the goddess of the harvest among other things) and Persephone, wife of the god of the underworld: Hades Like in Catania, the artificial stratification of time periods through history continues to astound me.
The Chiesa di San Giovanni still, to this day, remains active with weddings and other Christian holidays. Got super lucky with the beautiful blue-beige contrast of the limestone on the sky. Underneath the Chiesa, rests the tomb of San Giovanni which is connected to the catacombs that we had recently emerged from.
The catacombs of San Giovanni. Unfortunately photography was not allowed but I managed to snag a few pictures. Carved out from an out-of-use Greek aqueduct, the catacombs houses more than 10,000 burials. Some more elaborately decorates than others, you can see some frescoes. They are quite expansive and maintain a rich history and multiple persons of importance including Saint Marcian - the first bishop of Syracuse.
We started our walk around Syracuse today with our second visit to the Paolo Orsi Museum. Today’s activity and mission is to choose a category (religious life, domestic life, warfare, etc.) and find 4 artifacts to compare and contrast. We will give a 5 minute presentation on one of them. I chose warfare and set out hunting down pottery depicting warfare. Each one I found was in a burial context and all had their similarities and differences. I had much fun exploring for the scavenger hunt and am definitely looking forward to our next stop which is the catacombs 😏

24 May 2018

23 May 2018

Yesterday we didn’t do much of anything so I knew that today after classes ended and all my work was done I wanted to do something fun. First my buddy Elliott and I went down to his favorite takeout pizza place by the water and after loading it with fresh Parmesan and spices I washed it down with a beer. Then some of the girls came over to chill with us playing cards and making lemonade (Sammy makes a great fresh lemonade). After a bit I decided to go up to the roof to see what the sun was doing and man am I glad I made that decision. The pictures I took were just with my phone. I can’t wait to see what I can do with a tripod and an actual camera. Hopefully I can post the amazing results up on here for everyone to see ☺️🌄🌅 Buonasera from beautiful Ortigia!!

21 May 2018

Oh. And the wine is fantastic. Grown in the nutritious and fertile volcanic soil of the mountain, it surely was a treat full of new tastes, sights, behaviors, and of course, photo opportunities 🍷😏😍
Etna: Words simply cannot convey the might and magnificence of this mountain. Pindar does a great job though in Pythian I for Hieron of Aetna, winner of the chariot race: “And the one that lives in dreadful Tartarus, hundred headed Typhos, enemy of the gods, nurtured once by the far-famed cave of Cilicia, but now sea-fronting cliffs over Cumae press down on his shaggy breast, and the pillar of snow-covered Aetna, rearing to heaven, year-long nurse of freezing snow, pins him down. From its depths spew sacred founts of fire that cannot be approached; by day rivers pour forth lurid streaks of smoke, and by night a crimson rolling flame sweeps down rocks, which crash into the sea’s broad expanse. The monster spouts forth terrifying torrents of Hephaestus’ fire—a prodigious portent to behold, and a wonder for visitors to hear. Such a thing is imprisoned between Aetna’s dark-wooded peaks and its plain, and the bed he lies on gouges and galls the whole length of his back.” - Pindar
We continue our tour of Catania, walking past the mostly covered ruins of the Roman amphitheater and then proceed along to the Greco-Roman theatre. It’s mind blowing how 3 layers of history have been built atop one another!! The ancient layer on the bottom, the medieval to baroque layers in the middle, and then our modern construction above it all. In the fourth picture you can clearly see private residences directly next to and above the Ancient performance space. The last few images are of Castillo Ursino. Constructed between 1239 and 1250, this well-preserved castle is now a museum. It was built as one of the royal castles of Emperor Frederick II, King of Sicily in order to stress royal power as well as for defense of the capital and was considered impregnable at the time. In the 8th picture, the base of the castle can be seen in contrast with a lava flow that ruined the defensive capabilities of the castle. 9&10 contain signatures of the builders. See if you can find them ☺️
Catania is a rather bustling city located quite close to Mt. Etna. Today we are taking a short but scenic historical tour of some of the sites. As a city close to an active volcano, it has been destroyed and rebuilt a few times throughout its history. The first picture shows La Fontana dell’Elefante that was assembled by Giovanni Vaccarini in 1736. It portrays an ancient lavic stone elephant topped by an Egyptian obelisk from Syene. It has and continued to be the symbol of Catania to this day. The rest of the photos are of the impressive Duomo di Catania dedicated to St. Agatha and now is home to the archbishops of Catania. Like the city it resides in, the cathedral has been destroyed and rebuilt several times due to seismic activity of Mt. Etna. The version we see today is of Baroque style built after the catastrophic earthquake of 1693. You can see evidence of this in the last couple of pictures where the apsidal arch in the back is Norman and the one in front is Roman

20 May 2018

Nothing like a little slice of home halfway into the trip!! Il Quarto Steak House gets rowdy with a good ole football game on!! On the menu: Chicken wings and a Habanero (pulled pork with cheese, mushrooms, carmelized onions, fries, tomato, lettuce, and some BBQ sauce + Heinz Ketchup for good measure). All washed down with a prime Lager Draught. I have a rule on this trip that everyone knows: if you put food in front of me, I will eat it. Tonight I hit a wall. Tonight is also Ethan’s birthday so a very happy 21st to you my sir!! (So jealous he gets to spend it on the slopes of Etna tomorrow at a wine tasting). Gelato always makes a great dessert 🤤 Tomorrow: A walk around Catania and then off to Etna!!

19 May 2018

Well the 3 day excursion has concluded and as we make our way back home to Ortigia, we reflect on the last few days of all we have experienced, traversed, studied, and learned. On the way back we marvel yet again at awesome Mt. Etna and excitement rises for our day-trip there Monday. Upon our arrival back to our little island, we agree that a night of libation and merriment for the gods is due and we prepare to hit the town to experience the nightlife. At Birra Mascudera, the rivers IPA and Lager flow steady and Led Zeppelin emanates from the speakers. (My kind of place 😏🍺🍻) On the walk back to our respective abodes, we pass through the square of Archimedes where the fountain is beautifully lit-up. A final quiet glance at the Piazza before we turn in for the night and enjoy sleeping in for the first time in 13 days. What a marvelous adventure!! Buonanotte from Ortigia 😴😴😴
Segesta!! After Selinunte, we drive for a bit until we reach the ancient site of Segesta! One of the major Elymian cities, the Hellenization of Segesta occurred very early and had a profound effect on the people who resided there. First we hit the main area for a snack and then take a bus up to the top of the hill and are greeted with an astounding view! We walk a bit until we reach the theatre there and are awestruck by the view we find. After a presentation, we take a bus back down and make our way over to the still standing Doric Temple. Unusually well preserved, the Temple is thought to have been built in the 420s by an Athenian architect. It’s columns are 6x14 and measures 21x56 meters resting on a platform of 3 steps. Appearing to be unfinished, the columns are unfluted as is a primary character of the Doric order. Also, there are still tabs present from the construction process. It also lacks a cella and was never roofed over. Enjoy the beautiful views and monuments!
Thucydides tells us that Selinunte was founded by the Sicilian colony Megara Hyblaea around the mid 7th century BC. Both colonies were related to their mother-City Megara back in Greece The name is supposed to have been derived from the area’s abundant celery (selinon) The Sicilian Expedition led by the Athenians in 416 BC is quite a significant moment in Greek history caused by the renewal of an earlier dispute between Selinunte and Segesta. The Selinuntines called on Syracuse for assistance and were able to blockade the Segestans In 615 BC when the conflict began, General Nicias proposed that the Athenians should proceed to Selinunte and proffer a surrender on moderate terms. This never happened and the expedition sailed against Syracuse instead Selinunte was also captured by Carthage in the spring of 409 BC when the Carthaginians sent a huge force of 100,000 men. Selinunte fell easily to this force Due to military operations the city was destroyed during the First Punic War

18 May 2018

After an intense day of viewing artifacts at a lovely museum and gawking at stunning temples, we decide to take a load off by the beach in front of our hotel (literally down the stairs). We pour libations, make merry, and make a friend. Post-dip in the Mediterranean Sea, we grab dinner and go out for a bit before deciding to call it a night. Tomorrow we explore more monumental architecture and prepare to be awed once again!
On the other ridge of the Valley of the Temples we approach the ancient Doric structures with awe. The current remains of the Temple of Hera, which can be seen in the first two pictures, consist of the front colonnade with parts of the architrave and of the frieze The third image is of the Sacred Way. The path of procession the ancients walked in ceremony Photos 4&5 reveal the best preserved temple on-site dedicated to Concordia. Surmounted by an architrave of triglyphs and metopes, the Temple remains today The 6th photo shows a late-Roman and Byzantine necropolis that have been used since ancient times (but obviously are not in use today) The 7th is the Temple of Heracles dedicated to the classical hero. It is the first example of pylons inserted between the pronaos and cella Number 9 shows the Olympeion field where the remains of the Temple of Zeus once were The final image is of the Re-assembled remains of the Temples of “Castor and Pollux” and is now the symbol of Agrigento
Due to weather (morning drizzle and overcast) we decided to begin the day with the archaeological museum of Agrigento in the Valley of the Temples. In the first few pictures, you can see remains of the lower Agora of Akragas that rest on a hill next to the museum. Included are The Oratory if Phalaris that was built in the 1st century BC and was dedicated to the Phrygian Goddess of Nature, Cybele who was worshipped by the Romans as the “Great Mother of the Gods.” Also a part of the agora are the remains of the Ekklesiasterion - the Greek Chamber of Deputies dating to the 4th century BC. Pictures 7 and 8 are of the giant 25’ telemon (It didn’t even come halfway up its column on the Temple of Zeus to give you a sense of scale). The heads in the cases belong to more telemons that help decorate and support the mammoth structures. One of the faces is of Atlas who holds the weight of the world on his shoulders. Standby for some pictures of some absolutely stunning Greek Temples!!

17 May 2018

After leaving the Aidone museum, we continue our 3 day field trip along the southern coast of Sicily. On our way to our accommodation to Agrigento, we conduct literature class on the bus and discuss Pindar’s odes together. After, we arrive at the Gela museum that sports a hefty collection of Artifacts from Gela, another colony founded on Sicily. The first Rhodium-Cretan colony according to Thucydides that was founded in 689 BC. The museum has a huge collection of ceramic, bronze, and numismatic (relating to or consisting of coins and medals) artifacts. The span of artifacts range from the prehistoric age to the medieval. The museum holds some of the finest examples of red and black figure pottery that I have ever seen. Each vase has its own elaborate decoration and purpose and it was quite a joy to meander around looking and attempting to decipher the images and representations from mythological scenes to domestic life. Off to Agrigento!!
After our excursion to Morgantina, we went to visit the museum at Aidone that holds artifacts from different areas of occupation of Morgantina including the treasure Eupolemos and the 2.2 meter statue of the goddess of Morgantina. There is much controversy surrounding the treasure due to the elaborate history regarding the artifacts. Beginning with the illicit removal of the artifacts from the site to the private collectors, to museums and finally to their rightful place in their museum at Aidone, the treasure was truly spectacular. Notice the elaborate detail of drapery on the Goddess of Morgantina. It is truly exquisite as well as impressive. Although the true identity of the representation is widely debated, I believe that it’s Hera, as she is often depicted wearing the same three-part garb that this woman is. Other artifacts include the head of Hades which is rare in its depiction and two sacred figures with their “archaic smile” that’s symbolic of vitality and well-being.
The first stop on our multi-day field trip is to beautiful Morgantina. Discovered in the early 20th century, Morgantina is an archaeological site 60 km from the coast of the Ionian Sea. Having several periods of habitation, the earliest, Cittadella, was established around 1000 BC and lasted until about 450 BC. The second settlement was located on Serra Orlando and existed from about 450 BC until 50 CE. Thucydides lists Morgantina as part of terms in a truce during a war between the Syracuse and Dorian cities on one side and Kamarina, the Khalkidian cities of Sicily, the Sikels, and Athens on the other in 427-424 BC. The site is also host to a bouleuterion. A meeting and assembly space of representatives of the public randomly selected each year. Pictures 1 & 2: Etna utterly dominates the landscape Pic 3: An absolutely gigantic furnace for firing pottery Pic 4:The theatre to the left, the bouleuterion in the middle *notice the cocciopesto tile on the floor made of terra-cotta

16 May 2018

After a long and arduous day of schoolwork the guys and I decided to take it easy for a bit. First we live streamed the bucs game #letsgobucs! Found a roof spot above our apartment that faces west over the marina. (Prepare for some stunning sunset photos) Then we decided to grab dinner from a food truck and my my was it scrumptious!! I then decided to go for a haircut 😏 We’re all ready and packed for our three day field trip tomorrow!! 😁☺️

13 May 2018

NAXOS!! We began our day today with a tour of the Naxos archaeological park and museum. Naxos has been agreed to be the oldest Greek colony established in Sicily a year before Siracusa in 734 BC. Built by Chalcidean colonists, Naxos flourished in the archaic and classical periods of Ancient Greece until its eventual abandonment after the foundation of Tauromenium in 358 BC. Herodotus tells us that it was one of the cities besieged and taken by Hippocrates, despot of Gela between 498 and 491 BC who greatly subjugated the settlement. The altar and shrine of Apollo Archegetes that mark all Greek colonies as a metaphor of colonization (similar to planting a flag) continue to mark the spot where the settlement had stood. In the first picture: stratus rays coming off of Mt. Etna over the ruins of Naxos After the park and museum, we were free to explore and go to the beach (sandy this time). Some of our group and myself pose for a photo op under an arch that reads “Naxos” in Greek

12 May 2018

After our full day at Taormina, we arrive in Naxos and are greeted by an absolutely stunning sunset. After settling in our hotel we went off to enjoy a dinner sponsored by Pitt Study Abroad. With no limit, I proceeded to order and devour 2 and a half dinners (as I would never pass up an opportunity for free seafood in Italy). On the menu: Prosciutto e melone, Frutti di mare fritti, and of course, my favorite, Frutti di mare pizza 🤤 On the way back, I took the opportunity to capture the lights on the bay. So pretty!!
Today we arrived in Taormina and after taking the cable car up to the archaeological site we were welcomed with the most bona of vistas. After exploring the Greek theatre on the mountain top, I finished Homer’s Odyssey and gave a 15 minute presentation on Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey” and it’s relation to the epic poem. The best thing about this presentation was that when I was discussing the trials of Odysseus and Scylla and Charybdis, the mythical rocks can actually be seen on a clear day from the view that I was presenting from. That is a moment that will stay with me for the rest of my life. After our classes at the theatre and viewpoint we’re concluded, we were free to explore and go to the beach (a rock beach). The selfie at the end of this post has a story of adventure and blood as the rock it was taken atop of was actually coral to the chagrin of my peers. Thankfully, due to my experience of climbing on coral, I was the only one to escape unscathed. Next: Naxos!!
On our way to Taormina and Naxos to view the Archaeological Museum and Park. On the way, we pass Mt. Etna enshrouded in its clouds. Fun facts: - Mt. Etna is so large (with a circumference of 93 miles) that it has its own micro-climate - The Greek word Aitne (I burn) is where the name of the volcano originated. In Greek mythology, Aitne was the daughter of Ouranos (heaven) and Ge (Earth) and was the goddess of the volcano. Also in Greek mythology it is believed that Zeus buried a 100 headed monster named Typhon underneath it, and his restlessness causes the seismic activity of the volcano. - It is thought that the Roman god of fire (Vulcan) is thought to have lived there. The myth goes that Jupiter promised Venus to Vulcan. He built a blacksmiths at the base of Etna as he was considered the manufacturer of art, arms, iron and armor in addition to other things. Every time he found out that Venus had been unfaithful, he would hammer red-hot metal causing an eruption. More to follow

11 May 2018

Syracuse - The Greek Theatre, The Ear of Dionysus, the Roman Amphitheater, cats, and a beautiful nightlife scene. Presenting the history of Greek theatre and the one that sits in Siracusa, IN THE GREEK THEATRE OF SIRACUSA was truly an amazing experience. It’s the biggest Greek Theatre in Sicily and it’s absolutely gorgeous. The Ear of Dionysus is a part of the giant quarry used in the construction of the Greek Theatre. The myth goes that Dionysus held prisoners within the cavern and the resonance effect in within the cave allowed Dionysus to overhear plots of escape. The Roman amphitheater was added later for gladiatorial matches and other forms of entertainment for the Romans. The cat’s name is Ash and each of my roommates chose a cat that wonders the premises as our favorite. This is mine. (He’s named after the Ash vs The Evil Dead character because he’s a badass little miscreant) 😏 The final picture is of the beautiful scene I have the pleasure of witnessing every evening.

10 May 2018

A day in Pantalica is beautiful!! The scenery is absolutely stunning and the history is fascinating. A site of settlement as far back as the Neolithic era, Pantalica has quite an interesting as well as mysterious history. The function of the town is unknown as it was most likely abandoned due to invasion in the 8th century BC. Thousands of caves and tombs have been cut directly into the bedrock (you can see me crouched next to one in one of the pictures). However, there are few artifacts from the site due to looting and vandalism. From what we do know of the beautiful outpost, Pantalica emerges as a cultural part of Sicily’s as well as humanity’s history. Enjoy the pictures and ask me questions about them please!

8 May 2018

What a day....I absolutely love it here
Nothing like a Cafe Americano to start off the day ☺️

6 May 2018

Afternoon walk with the boys for some lunch and exercise around Ortigia
A festival just for us!! The festival of Santa Lucia graced us this afternoon. Quite the spectacle ☺️
View for my morning coffee for a month 😍

4 May 2018

On a final note before I leave for an 8 hour international flight. I do not, nor have I ever gotten. This. Lucky. 😁😍
Waving to Boston as I head across the pond for a month of intensive research of Italian culture 🇮🇹
My last American meal for a month!!! 🤤 ShakeShack ftw!!

3 May 2018

One of my favorite places in New York City!! (And especially refreshing after a 10 hour bus ride with Greyhound.....) Shout out to Uncle Ken for letting me crash at his place before the adventure really begins. Sicily here I come!!!
About to depart on this wonderful adventure to study abroad in Sicily!! (Such a goofy picture 😂)