Thanks to its history, Sicily is one of the most important places in the Mediterranean area. The most important historical sediments span from the Punic and Greek (VIII B.C.) era to the Roman domination followed by the Arab-Norman (800-1200) period, containing seven sites listed in the World Heritage List. Particularly, three of those sites, such as the Archaeological Area of Agrigento (listed in 1997), the Villa Romana del Casale (listed in 1997) and the Arab-Norman architectural itinerary in Palermo, Monreale (listed in 2015), are involved in the practical activity of the laboratory work. The program has its main base in Palermo, the regional capital, but throughout the program the students will visit many sites around the island under the guideance of archeologists and biologists involved in the preservation and restoration of archeological sites. This will include a short-stay upon arrival in Sicily in the Arab-Norman town of Cefalú that recently has been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Moreover, on Fridays students will participate in guided field trips, with the assistance of the Regional Ministry for Cultural Heritage, to visit the museums and the archeological excavations in Himera; the Greek temples of Selinunte and Agrigento; the Romanic Villa del Casale in Piazza Armerina; the Norman cathedrals of Cefalu’, Monreale and Palermo.
Palermo is the capital of the region of Sicily and has a population of about 700,000. It is located in the central north coast of Sicily and is connected with the mainland by boat and air, and its airport offers two direct flights per week to JFK airport, and multiple flights every day to Italian and European airports.
The small fisherman-town of Cefalú is a renowned summer resort located 40 miles from Palermo. It has a population of about 15,000 people and is divided between a picturesque medieval historic center, dominated by a rock and the 900 year old Norman Cathedral, and a more modern part of the town. It has a 2.5 km long beach as well as a popular musuem, Museo Mandralisca, which stores the “Ritratto di Ignoto” painted by Antonello da Messina and Greek and Roman artifacts and coins. The restored “Convento di San Giacomo” contains classrooms and laboratories dedicated to artifact restoration and conservation.
Housing and meals
In Cefalú, students are hosted in a modern bed and breakfast located in the medieval part of the town, which is within walking distance from the Normal Cathedral, restaurants and shops, as well as the restored “Convento di San Domenico” and the Museum Mandralisca, where the classroom will be located.
In Palermo, students may stay in student housing at the University of Palermo or in a centrally located bed and breakfast. The student housing would be organized by Palermo ERSU (Ente Regionale per il Diritto allo Studio Universitario), a Regional Law Enforcement Body of the University of Palermo. Palermo ERSU provides housing services through a number of residential facilities, managed directly by the body and located in the city of Palermo; students would be placed at Casa del Goliardo or a comparable residence or bed and breakfast. Accepted students will be notified of their housing placement prior to departure.
Regardless of the specific facility, students will be housed in modern dormitory style rooms, consisting of mostly doubles, each with their own private bathroom and wi-fi internet access. Each room will come equipped with a mini-fridge and a small shared kitchen, and students will have access to a full-service, affordable University cafeteria which provides meals at a modest price. Meals are not included in the program; however, the program director will host occasional barbecues as well as organize a group meal upon arrival and departure. Several grocery stores are readily accessible from the housing. Cost of meals outside the university refectory are modest; for example, the cost of a brick-oven pizza is around €7. The cost of a meal at the University canteens for international students is about €3.5 for a four course meal.