Study the differences in cuisine and how important food is for the entire Sicilian way of life during this immersive study abroad experience. We will travel from Rome, to Palermo, followed by Taormina and Catania exploring food culture and important cultural sites along the way.
June 17 – 30, 2023
Dr. Jan Gasco, Professor of Anthropology
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Depart the United States on overnight flight to Rome
Arrive Rome mid to late afternoon
Check into hotel
Enjoy some of Rome’s site and then enjoy a Welcome Dinner at a traditional Italian trattoria.
This morning we get a chance to do a street food tour of Rome – this will be an excellent opportunity to compare and contrast the street food we experience from Rome to Sicily.
In the late afternoon, we will visit the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain.
Dinner will be at a traditional Roman pizzeria.
Today we will travel from Rome to Palermo. After we check into our hotel, this afternoon we get an in-depth tour led by the famed Dr. Anita Bestler. Dr. Bestler who is affectionately known as Ms. Sicily, will guide students and staff around Palermo and get everyone accustomed to the sights and sounds of this amazing city.
Later, we will have dinner together at one of the famous trattorias of Palermo.
Street Food Tour
Palermo is ranked amongst the best cities in the world for street food. During our walk we wander through carts and kiosks of street vendors, markets and local bakeries We will try local specialties arancin, panelle and sfincione. As we walk, the local guide will reveal some of the secrets of Sicilian street cuisine and explain the history of the city.
Today we have the chance to travel to the town of Trapani where we will learn about the famous salt pans located here. The Saline di Trapani produces one of the most famous types of salt in Italy. You will learn how salt is produced and harvested, then visit the salt museum and sample different types. The salt in Trapani has been produced since 200 B.C.
Later, we will take the cable car to the medieval village of Erice. Here you will have time to explore what is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Wander down the narrow streets stopping at shops along the way.
This morning we will visit an orphanage and work with youth at a social center called Centro Padre Nostro. This center, directed by Maurizio Artale, runs after school programs for youth, teaches illiterate individuals, works with summer camps, and has programsto teach and care for mistreated women and their children. Maurizio is locally considered a hero as he has stood up against the Mafia over the years and their mistreatment of local citizens and suppression of education.
This afternoon, we get to meet a very special individual in Palermo, Mr Vincenzo Argento. He is the foremost authority on the preservation of this ancient and important art. Students will get to learn about the importance of puppeteering in Sicily and the role it has played in politics over the centuries.
We bid farewell to Palermo and head to the east coast of the island, to the region of Syracuse and the island of Ortigia. Ortigia contains many historical landmarks including the Duomo. You will have a chance to explore the city. Later in the day, when it starts to cool down, we will enjoy a walking food tour of Ortigia and taste fresh fish, typical Sicilian appetizers and homemade Sicilian pastries. Eat and drink as locals do. During the tour you will learn about the history, culture and gastronomy of the area while passing the most important monuments of the town.
Lastly, we will have a chance to view the spectacular Duomo by night.
This morning we will have the chance to swim in the Mediterranean Sea off of one of Ortigia’s famous swim platforms. Watch cliff divers and enjoy some relaxing time.
We spend the afternoon at the UNESCO heritage town of spectacular Noto, one of Sicily’s most beautiful towns, flanked by grandeur baroque palazzi and churches.
Later we will do a chocolate tour and tasting of the famous chocolate in Modica. You will hear about steps of making chocolate as well the philosophy behind the selection of raw materials up to the final product (subject to change).
After breakfast we will travel to Taormina for a cooking class. We will visit of Taormina’s Food Market, where local farmers, fishermen and butchers sell their fresh goods. You will select products for your class and with personal guidance from your chef learn culinary secrets of cooking homemade bread, pasta, fish and vegetables dishes in a traditional Sicilian style.
Today we will travel to one of the famous wineries near Mt. Etna and learn about the local wine making process and more about the Sicilian wine industry. We will have a chance to sample local wines while enjoy the views of Mt. Etna.
We will check into our hotel in Catania this evening
After breakfast, we will be met by Anna Maria Mirabella. Anna’s family goes back generations in Catania. Students will learn why this city is very different from other parts of Sicily. We will visit the famous Pescheria, the colorful, loud fish market, which is one of the oldest and biggest in Italy. Held every morning except Sunday, this market is everything one expects an Italian market to be: following the local traditions, fishermen will try to attract buyers with their loud voices and lots of gesticulations. Nearby there are also fruit and vegetable stalls as well as other delicious local produce from the mountain villages around Etna.
Visit the Benedictine Monastery, Greek Theater, and Cathedral.
Fly back to Rome, where you will have the opportunity to shop for traditional treats to take home. We will then all enjoy a farewell dinner at a famous Italian eatery.
Enjoy one last glimpse of this amazing country as you enjoy breakfast then it is off to home with memories that will last a lifetime.
Payment can be made in full or following the payment schedule below.
Due: March 1, 2023
Due: May 1, 2023