~ Palermo ~ Burgio ~ Agrigento ~ Ragusa ~
~ Siracusa ~ Taormina ~ Reggio Calabria ~ Naples ~ Pompeii ~
June 2 – 14, 2024
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Anatomia Italiana del Sud (of the South) invites you to explore Sicily, a Mediterranean island at the crossroads of cultures for 3,000 years, as well as unparalleled Southern Italy. Examine ancient Greco-Roman depictions of the human form in sculpture, painting, and mosaic – including the body as a vehicle for religious expression in three Capuchin Crypts. Visit university anatomy museums in Palermo and Naples, as well as the ruins of Pompeii, a Roman city covered with volcanic ash 2,000 years ago.
Our program starts in Palermo, Sicily with a three-night stay. Private transfers from the airport to our historic hotel, located in the heart of Palermo, will be provided. Our program begins on the first evening with a Welcome Drink and introductions, followed by a Welcome Dinner in a local Sicilian restaurant.
During our time in Palermo, the capital of Sicily, we’ll enjoy a private guided walking tour of the city. Palermo is a 2,700 year-old city rich with history, art, architecture, and cuisine.
Highlights include the famous Piazza Pretoria with its iconic fountain of nymphs, as well as the Royal Palace of Palermo and the golden mosaics of its Palatine Chapel. We’ll also visit the Cathedral of Palermo, a stunning structure embracing Norman and Baroque styles.
While in Palermo, we’ll visit the Department of Human Anatomy at the University of Palermo. You’ll have the opportunity to mingle with medical students and professors, and attend a special lecture presented by Dr. Petti in an ancient dissection theater. We’ll also visit the library’s archives, which house a collection of historic anatomical texts, as well as its anatomical collection.
We’ll then visit the amazing Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo where art, religion, and the human form are uniquely intertwined. In this crypt, over 2,000 bodies are displayed in vertical and horizontal niches sorted by age, sex, and profession. Its most famous resident, Rosalia Lombardo, who died over 100 years ago at the tender age of two years-old, is displayed in a glass covered coffin. She is so incredibly well preserved she appears to still be alive, which is why she is affectionately known as The Sicilian Sleeping Beauty.
Agrigento and Ragusa, Sicily
We’ll depart for Agrigento by private bus and our first stop will be at the majestic hilltop town of Monreale. Here we’ll have a guided tour of the beautiful Monreale Cathedral, one of the greatest extant examples of Norman architecture in the world. We’ll also have some time to walk around this picturesque town on our own.
We’ll then drive to the quaint village of Burgio for a short stop and tour of their Museum of the Mummies. This venue is the second Capuchin Crypt of the Anatomia Italiana del Sud program and is also an unusual combination of religion, culture, and anatomy.
We’ll continue our drive to Agrigento and arrive in the late afternoon at our countryside boutique hotel for a one-night stay. You’ll have some time to relax on your own at this charming property and in the evening, we’ll meet for a special group dinner in this picturesque setting.
The following day, we’ll depart for Ragusa by private bus. Our first stop will be at the Valley of the Temples, an archeological site in Agrigento that is one of the world’s most outstanding examples of Magna Graecia, the name given by the Romans to the Greek-speaking coastal areas of Southern Italy. This National Monument of Italy and UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts the remains of seven, incredibly preserved temples from the 5th century BCE.
We’ll continue through the countryside and stop at a family-run vineyard and winery to enjoy a relaxing wine pairing experience with traditional, local Sicilian products in a beautiful, relaxed setting. Afterward, we’ll continue our journey to the captivating town of Ragusa, where we will find our charming boutique hotel for a two-night stay.
During our time in Ragusa, we’ll enjoy a private guided walking tour of this historic medieval town with its amazing Baroque churches, palaces and convents built with typical local limestone. We’ll head back to the beautiful countryside to enjoy a special lunch with local products at a traditional agriturismo (farmhouse) where the family has been producing its own olive oil for centuries!
Afterward we’ll drive to the village of Comiso, where we’ll find the Mummies of Comiso, the third Capuchin Crypt of Anatomia Italiana del Sud as we further contemplate the body as a vehicle for religious expression. The burials date from the medieval period, through the Renaissance and up to modern times. We’ll have a guided tour of the site as well as the historic center.
After two nights in Ragusa, we’ll make our way to Taormina by private bus. On the way, we’ll stop at the charming town of Noto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its well-preserved Sicilian Baroque style architecture. We’ll have a short, guided walking tour of the city highlights followed by time to walk around on our own. We’ll then make our way to the Neapolis Archeological Park of Siracusa. Within this vast ancient location, also designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, we’ll find the Greek Theater (Teatro Greco), originally constructed in the 5th century BCE, and the 2nd-century Roman Amphitheater. After our guided tour, we’ll continue our journey to the enchanting city of Taormina, where our hotel is located on the Sicilian coast with panoramic views of the Mediterranean.
The three-night stay in Taormina includes plenty of time for personal exploration and relaxation. One of the highlights of our stay will be a special excursion to the incomparable Mount Etna, Europe’s highest active volcano. We’ll have a guided tour, explore a typical lava cave formed from past eruptions, and observe the whole Ionian coastline from the clouds! Afterward, we’ll enjoy a light lunch at a local winery with products grown nearby in Etna’s fertile volcanic soil. Our stay in Taormina also includes a guided tour of the city center and the ancient Greek Theater of Taormina.
We’ll depart the Sicilian Island and travel to Reggio Calabria via private bus and ferry across the Strait of Messina to mainland Italy. We stop to visit the Archeological Museum of Magna Graecia, one of Italy’s most important museums containing relics from the 8th century BCE as well as prehistoric times. Most importantly perhaps are the two stunning, full-sized ancient Greek sculptures known as the Riace Bronzes. These marvels demonstrate amazingly accurate anatomy and date back to the 4th century BCE. They were discovered off the nearby coast in 1972 by a snorkeler’s stroke of luck, and are yet another example of the Connection Between Art and Anatomy in Southern Italy!
Naples and Pompeii
Relax and enjoy stunning views of the Southern Italian countryside as we travel via high-speed train from Reggio-Calabria to Naples. Our three-night stay in Naples includes a visit to the Anatomical Museum at the University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli. This stunning museum is perhaps Italy’s largest and most impressive collection of historic anatomical artifacts, including medical instruments from Pompeii and a humerus from a skeleton assembled by Vesalius. We will network with medical school professors as they provide a private tour of the facility.
During our stay in Naples we’ll enjoy an excursion to another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ruins of Pompeii, an ancient Roman city covered in volcanic ash by nearby Mount Vesuvius 2,000 years ago. Following Pompeii, we visit the Naples National Archeological Museum, considered the most important museum of its kind in Italy. This venue has an unparalleled collection of Greek, Roman, and Renaissance works including the most significant artifacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum.
The visit to Naples also encompasses a guided tour of the city center including Piazza del Plebiscito, as well as the Chapel of Sansevero with its wonderful statue of the Veiled Christ. In the underground chamber of the Sansevero Chapel are the famous 250 year-old Anatomical Machines, skeletons of a man and a woman with their arteriovenous system displayed. The Machines are a fascinating testimony to the Connection Between Art and Anatomy, as atop natural bone the vasculature is formed of metal wire, wax, and silk, but because of its richness of detail it was for centuries believed to be of natural origin.
Of course we will also enjoy Pizza Napoletana, a flavor that is globally renowned, as well as the culture and chaos that makes Naples unique in all the world!
Our program concludes with an Arrivederci Italia Dinner rich in local culture, cuisine, and wine!
Don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity to Connect Art and Anatomy in Southern Italy!
Registration Now Open!
Enjoy below a virtual tour of the Anatomical Museum, University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli!
Visit this fascinating venue with Anatomia Italiana del Sud 2024!