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Greece & Magna Graecia: A Journey of Learning through Athens, the Peloponnese and Southern Italy

Departure      October 8 – 19, 2019

Southern Italy was known in antiquity as Magna Graecia (“Greater Greece”), on account of the large number of cities founded by Greeks, starting in the 8th century BC. In all 22 major cities were established, some of which became wealthy and powerful as well as centers of culture and learning.

This journey combines parts of Greece and Italy that share a common history.

Why Travel with Thalassa Journeys

Thalassa Journeys was established by the principals and managers of Travel Dynamics, the company that 50 years ago pioneered the concept of educational travel for America’s educational and cultural institutions. The belief that travel is primarily a learning experience forms the core principle of Thalassa Journeys.

Each Thalassa Journey is constructed around a particular theme. Unlike most tours, each of our journeys are intimate, and led by lecturers who are truly subject-matter experts for each theme. Although many other companies claim to have expert lecturers, few truly have accomplished, renowned experts in their fields, like Thalassa.

Itinerary

Day 1 : Oct 8 - Depart the USA

Depart from the US for Athens, Greece.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 2 : Oct 9 - Tour ATHENS, Greece

Arrive in Athens and transfer to the Athens Plaza Hotel, located on Constitution Square, the center of the city. In the evening, enjoy a welcome dinner.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 3 : Oct 10 - Tour ATHENS

Athens’s ancient monuments attest to its glorious past. This is the birthplace of democracy and many other ideas and concepts that form the integral part of the Western tradition. In the morning visit the Acropolis and its celebrated monuments, including the incomparable Parthenon and other temples built in the 5th century BC. Visit also the Acropolis Museum, which houses an outstanding collection of sculptures and other artifacts. In the afternoon, explore the Agora, the heart of public life of ancient Athens.

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Meals Included

Day 4 : Oct 11 - Tour ATHENS/CORINTH/MYCENAE/NAFPLION

Leaving Athens in the morning for the Peloponnese, driving across the bridge over the steep banks of the Corinth Canal, the narrow water way that separates it from the Greek mainland. Stop at Old Corinth, one of the most prominent and powerful cities of ancient Greece. Visit the 6th-century BC Temple of Apollo and the museum. Continue to Mycenae, the most important center of the Mycenaean civilization that flourished in the second millennium BC, and home of Agamemnon. Walk through the monumental Lion Gate to explore the fabled citadel. End the day in nearby Nafplion and the Hotel Ippoliti.

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Meals Included

Day 5 : Oct 12 - Tour NAFPLION/EPIDAURUS/NAFPLION

Situated on the shores of a spacious bay and crowned with two fortresses, Nafplion is one of Greece’s most attractive towns. Spend the morning at leisure to discover the town’s narrow streets and graceful squares, lined with neoclassical buildings. In the afternoon drive to nearby Epidaurus, the shrine dedicated to Asclepius, the god of healing, famous for its incredible 4th-century BC theater, known for its perfect acoustics and harmonious proportions.

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Meals Included

Day 6 : Oct 13 - Tour NAFPLION/MISTRA/SPARTA

Drive through the heartland of the Peloponnese to Mistra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built on a conical hill that commands superlative views of the plain of ancient and modern Sparta, Mistra was one of the last flourishing centers of the Byzantine Empire. Today, it is an evocative medieval walled city, with several churches that contain luminous frescoes, palaces and houses from that period. After lunch, visit Sparta’s Museum of the Olive, housed in a restored olive warehouse. Overnight at the lovely new Mystras Palace Resort and Spa, located in the countryside near Sparta.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 7 : Oct 14 - Tour SPARTA/BASSAE/OLYMPIA

Leave Sparta in the morning driving through the pretty country of Laconia and Arcadia to Bassae. High on a mountain terrace stands the remote Temple of Apollo Epikourios (“protector”), considered to have been designed by Iktinos, the architect of the Parthenon, and built in the 5th century BC. The temple is one of the best preserved Classical monuments in Greece, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To protect it from deterioration, the temple is covered in a tent-like structure. Enjoy lunch at the traditional hill town of Andrtitsaina, and then continue to Olympia with overnight at the Olympion Asty Hotel.

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Meals Included

Day 8 : Oct 15 - Tour OLYMPIA/PATRAS/FERRY CROSSING TO ITALY

Olympia’s beautiful setting in a river valley covered with evergreen oaks, poplars, planes and pines, coupled with its importance throughout antiquity make it one of the most significant archaeological sites in Greece. A sacred precinct dedicated to Zeus, it was at Olympia that the Panhellenic games were held every four years from 776 BC to 393 AD, giving rise to the modern Olympics. Explore Olympia in the morning, including the stadium where the games were held. Also, visit the Archaeological Museum, which exhibits some of the best Classical and Roman sculptures in Greece. After lunch, drive to the port city of Patras to board the ferry for the overnight passage to Italy’s Puglia region.

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Meals Included

Day 9 : Oct 16 - Tour BARI/MONOPOLI, Puglia, Italy

Dock in the morning in Bari. Disembark and drive to the fishing port town of Monopoli, noted for its 12th-century cathedral, rebuilt during the Baroque period (18th century). Following a lunch of seafood and other local specialties, continue to our lovely boutique hotel, Masseria Torrepietra. The balance of the day is at leisure with dinner included this evening.

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Meals Included

Day 10 : Oct 17 - Tour METAPONTUM & TARANTO

Shortly after 800 BC Greeks began to settle in Italy’s southern shores. The cities they founded, (twenty two major settlements were established), grew in wealth and stature, becoming important centers of culture and learning. This part of Italy was known as Magna Graecia, “Greater Greece.” Leave the hotel in the morning to explore Metapontum, founded in the 7th century BC by settlers from Pylos in the western Peloponnese. The Doric temple known as the Tavole Palatine is one of the best preserved monuments of Magna Graecia. Continue to Taranto, the ancient Taras, founded by Spartans in 708 BC. Tour the town, including the National Archaeological Museum, which houses one of the largest collections of antiquities in Italy.

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Meals Included

Day 11 : Oct 18 - Tour ALBEROBELLO/EGNATHIA

We begin the day exploring the town of Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features over 1,500 trulli structures. These remarkable and curious white-washed structures have pyramidal, conical, or domed roofs built of corbelled local limestone without mortar, using a prehistoric building technique that has survived to this day. Lunch is at a traditional farmhouse that produces organic mozzarella and other Apulian cheese. We will be welcomed by the owner, Mariangela, who will show us how to make homemade mozzarella before we enjoy a meal of local specialties that she will prepare just for us. Continue to Egnathia, where we explore the remains of this Greek-Messapian town on the Adriatic coast. In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner.

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Meals Included

Day 12 : Oct 19 - Transfer BARI/USA

Transfer in the morning to Bari's airport for the return flight to the USA.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Tour Price

$ 5,980 per person, double occupancy

Single room supplement: $ 680

Inclusions

Expert Guest Lecturer

Geoffrey S. Sumi

Geoffrey S. Sumi

Geoffrey S. Sumi is professor of classics at Mount Holyoke College (South Hadley, MA). He teaches ancient Greek and Latin languages at all levels as well as courses in the history, literature, and culture of the ancient Mediterranean world, including “War and Imperialism in the Ancient World,” “Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World,” and “Bad Roman Emperors.” He is the author of Ceremony and Power: Performing Politics in Rome between Republic and Empire (Ann Arbor 2005) as well as articles on Greek and Roman history.  

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Phone : +1 866.633.3611