L'isola di Sicilia
Once again, students were able to take a break from studying for midterms by focusing on the beauty, culture, and history of the incredible island of Sicily. They began their journey in Palermo arriving by either an overnight ferry from Naples or by flying into the coastal airport. The first stop of the trip was in the city of Monreale. While there, students were able to experience the Cathedral of Monreale built by King William II, it is one of the greatest examples of Norman architecture in the world. That afternoon students continued to see the beauty of the Sicilian landscape from the bus, as the cliffs gave way to rolling hills of farmland. Following a rain shower, students viewed the Archaeological Park of Selinunte and were able to view 7 temples built in the 6th to 4th century BC. As the group headed out for Agrigento, they were greeted with a spectacular double rainbow. To cap the first day off students enjoyed a true Sicilian meal complete with an antipasto dish of 9 different foods, a first course of risotto with shrimp, and finishing with fish smothered with potatoes and lemon.
Saturday began with a visit to the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento. In order students saw the Temple of Juno, Concordia, Heracles, and the Olympian Jove. For lunch students devoured a typical Sicilian street food called Arancine. These are stuffed rice balls coated in breadcrumbs, filled with ragu, tomato sauce, mozzarella, and/or peas, then fried. The next stop focused the students on the romans; together the group explored the Roman Villa del Casale. This palace showcases countless mosaics on floors and walls in nearly every room of the villa. Students then continued our journey to our last stop of the weekend, Taormina.
On Sunday, the sunshine gave the impression that it was summertime. Taormina gave the students a wonderful opportunity to explore on their own and also become acquainted with a Greek Theater that has Mt. Etna as its backdrop. While at the airport in Catania, students did not want to leave. Some JFRC students were, in fact, the very last to board the plane specifically because they were content with being left in the beauty and wonder of Sicily.