From Sam Savage, June 11, 2013 –
Right now the students are enjoying some hard-earned relaxation at the beach in Taormina. We visited an unbelievably picturesque Greek theater this morning after making the 90 minute drive from the island of Ortigia in Siracuse where we spent the last two nights. Idyllic Mediterranean beach scenes aside, we have been making our way through this challenging itinerary quite well. We have certainly had some adventures along the way, and I am extremely pleased with how the trip has been going. We got an up close look at Etruscan civilization in northern Lazio, and we are wrapping up our exploration of Greek and Carthaginian influences in southern Italy and Sicily. All the while we have been exploring Italian culture and the subtle and not-so-subtle regional differences we have encountered in our travels. The students have expressed genuine curiosity about everything we are seeing. It’s been a whirlwind tour thus far, but I am confident that we are adding real depth to our understanding of the ancient world as well as experiencing the benefits of seeing and participating in another culture.
We have done a lot of driving, and we are both excited and nostalgic about leaving the cars in Catania this evening before we board the ferry to Naples. Our time on the road has given us a unique view of the land and people of Italy. All of our drives have provided breathtaking scenery as well as real insight into daily life here.
Tomorrow morning we will visit Herculaenum and then Pompeii, two Roman towns destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D. We will continue on to our hotel in Sorrento, which offers a majestic view of the entire Bay of Naples. On Wednesday morning we will visit Naples one last time to see the Museo Archeologico which contains the lion’s share of the treasures found in the two settlements destroyed by the eruption. A quick bite of pizza margherita will send us off to Rome where we will spend the rest of the trip.
Today marks the passing of the halfway mark of the trip. I’m eager to show the students the wonders that lie ahead. Italy has such an incredibly wealth of culture on display. I am sincerely enjoying the opportunity to share these experiences with your children.
p.s. Please remember that we will be without phones this evening as we make the ferry crossing from Catania to Naples.