Terrae Fabulosae – Adventures in Tattle-Telling Landscapes

Directors: Gina Soter (University of Michigan) and Karla Herndon (Independent Scholar)

Dates: June 19 - June 30, 2022

The land tells the story. In this tour we will voyage to stunning, odd, and terrifying landscapes that, throughout the ages, have spoken provocatively to the artist in every one of us. Taking Vergil and Ovid as our guides, we will explore landscapes bucolic and epic and meet the mythical characters that inhabit them. A selection of relevant texts will be made available in both English and Latin. We begin in Sicily, an alluring land that has attracted an unbroken series of foreign powers seeking to tame it. We will spend a day exploring Palermo, which offers an architectural palimpsest of this fascinating history. Excursions to Mozia, the Archaeological Museum in Marsala, Cave di Cusa and Selinunte will fill in the picture of Phoenicians and Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans. The goddess Ceres/Demeter will guide us to the middle of the island: Enna, Lake Pergusa, Morgantina and Aidone, and from there to Syracuse/Ortygia. In the far east, the cyclops Polyphemus will direct us up the slopes of Etna and to the Riviera of the Cyclopes.

Arriving by ferry, the Bay of Naples will be our second port of call. There, in addition to exploring landmarks familiar to us from Book VI of The Aeneid, we will open our ears to the strains of an unbroken musical tradition that dates back beyond Vergil. Walking tours of the city will take us to the Archaeological Museum of Naples as well as a number of the hidden gems that engendered the famous expression, "See Naples and then die!" Open to all who are Latin Poetry curious. Cost for the tour is $2900. Single supplement: $400. Cost includes hotel stays, bus and ferry travel within and between Sicily and Naples, all entry fees, daily breakfasts, 7 dinners. An optional, 2-day, no-host extension to Rome is offered.

Scholarships are available.

Tour Application


Day 1 - June 19 (Sun.)
Arrivals in Palermo, transfer to Trapani
Welcome dinner
Lodging in Trapani

Day 2 - June 20 (Mon.)
Orientation to Sicily segment
Excursion: Erice
Lodging in Trapani

Day 3 - June 21 (Tues.)
Excursion: Marsala, Archaeological Museum
Mozia, Whitaker Museum and site
Lodging in Trapani

Domes and church, Palermo

Day 4 - June 22 (Wed.)
Excursion: Palermo walking tour
Lodging in Trapani

Day 5 - June 23 (Thurs.)
Transfer to Enna via:
Cave di Cusa (stone quarry)
Agrigento (overlook only)
Roman Villa at Piazza Armerina
Lodging in Enna

Day 6 - June 24 (Fri.)
Transfer to Syracuse via:
The Sanctuary of Demeter/Ceres, Enna
Lake Pergusa
Aidone Museum
Lodging in Syracuse

Day 7 - June 25 (Sat.)
Ortygia, Spring of Arethusa
Syracuse, Archaeological Park
Evening: Greek Tragedy at the Ancient Greek Theater (optional)
Lodging in Syracuse

Day 8 - June 26 (Sun.)
Transfer to the Port of Palermo via:
The slopes of Mt. Etna
Riviera of the Cyclopes
Lodging on overnight Ferry to Naples

Day 9 - June 27 (Mon.)
Transfer to the Villa Vergiliana
Orientation to Naples segment
Excursion: Cuma, citadel and Sibyl's cave
Lodging at the Villa Vergiliana

Day 10 - June 28 (Tues.)
Misenum, Lake Avernus, the Solfatara (overlooks)
Castel dell'Ovo (Castle of the Egg)
Walking tour of historic center of Naples
Charterhouse of San Martino
Lodging at the Villa Vergiliana

Day 11 - June 29 (Wed.)
Piscina Mirabilis
Archaeological Museum of Naples
Walking tour of Sanità region of Naples
The Tomb of Vergil
Lodging at the Villa Vergiliana

Day 12 - June 30 (Thurs.)

Day 12 - June 30 (Thurs.)
Evening overlook of the city from the Janiculum

Day 13 - July 1 (Fri.)
Roman Forum and Palatine
Capitoline and Imperial Fora
Villa Borghese

Day 14 - July 2 (Sat.)
Ara Pacis, Piazza Augusto Imperatore
Mussolini's Foro Italico
Farewell dinner (no host)