Treasures of Western Civilization
A Nine Day Tour of Greece and Rome for Students
Days 1 & 2 – Arrival
Depart US, arrive Athens
Depart USA / Arrive Athens, Greece. Transfer to our hotel at the foot of the Acropolis, a short walk to the historic Plaka marketplace district. After a cultural orientation to Greece and an introductory language lesson, we enjoy dinner street-side at a local taverna.
Day 4 – Mycenae, Epidavros, Corinth
A morning bus ride takes us over the impressive Corinth Canal to the citadel of ancient Mycenae, traditional home of King Agamemnon of the Trojan War. We hike the grandiose remains of this Bronze Age palace as we trace the chronology of ancient Greece and read from Homer’s Illiad. Continuing to Epidavros, we marvel at the acoustically remarkable theater before discussing Greek belief in the supernatural as we tour the ancient healing site. We then continue to Corinth, an important ancient port city where the Apostle Paul ministered. Return to Athens for dinner and overnight.
Day 6 – Rome
In the morning we attend a Greek Orthodox worship service celebrating the Annunciation as students have the opportunity to experience one of the oldest branches of Christianity. Leaving Greece, a flight from Athens takes us to the Eternal City of Rome. After checking into our hotel located within the old city walls, we take a walking tour of many of the classic sites of the Eternal City, including Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps. We learn about the nearly 3,000 year history of Rome and enjoy an authentic Italian dinner out at a local trattoria.
Days 8 – Ostia Antica, Rome
In the morning we head to Ostia Antica, the ancient harbor of Rome. Much like Pompeii, this ancient port city was impressively preserved under layers of silt from the Tiber river. Now excavated, this sprawling city is a wonderful first hand examination into the everyday lives of the ancient Romans, from beautifully decorated bath houses to three story apartment complexes. After exploring the impressive ruins, we return to Rome and explore the grandiose remains of the Roman Forum where we discuss the similarities between Roman society and our own. Continuing to the world famous Coliseum, we marvel at the impressiveness of Roman architecture as we learn about the deadly games that once took place. In the evening, we head out for our final celebratory dinner.
Day 3 – Athens
The day begins as we explore the remains of the dramatic Palamidi Fortress perched high above Nafplio with stunning views. After learning about the 3,000 year history of the Greek people, we head to Mycenae, home to King Agamemnon of the Trojan War. Here we view the great golden remains of this once powerful civilization, hike the ancient citadel, descend into an ancient cistern, and explore the massive beehive tomb of Queen Clytemnestra. We then continue to the ancient healing Our walking tour of Athens begins at the new Acropolis Museum where we discuss the revolutionary nature of Athenian democracy before touring the museum and its magnificent Parthenon marbles. From there we make a stop in the Theater of Dionysus to learn the history of Greek drama in the theater where it was born. After visiting the Odeon of Herod Atticus, Propylaea, Temple of Athena Nike, and Erechtheion, we stand before the world famous Parthenon where we discuss the intricacies of Greek architecture. We then visit the Areopagus and discuss Paul’s sermon to the Athenians before venturing into the Athenian agora. After a tour of the museum, we discuss the philosophy of Plato in the very same place where his ideas were first presented over 2,000 years ago.
Day 5 – Delphi, Osios Loukas
We drive to one of the main religious centers of ancient Greece, the beautiful site of Delphi. After visiting the museum with its bronze charioteer, we hike the sacred way to the Oracle of Apollo where we learn about Greek polytheism. We then continue to the UNESCO World Heritage site of the monastery of Osios Loukas, built in the 10th century AD. Here we discover Greek Orthodoxy as we trace the end of paganism and the rise of Christianity in the western world.
Day 7 – Catacombs & The Vatican City
In the morning we explore the ancient Christian catacombs and their winding chambers as we discuss the Roman persecution of the Christians. We then take a subway ride to the Vatican City, home of the Catholic Church. We tour the world-class museum, admiring works from the ancient Greeks to Bernini, Raphael, Caravaggio, and the stunning Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo, before ending our tour at St. Peter’s Basilica.
Days 9 – Depart Rome, Arrive USA
We say arrivederci to Italy and return home with a deep understanding and love of Greece, Italy and the western tradition.