Treasures of Italy's Far South | May 2 - 14, 2020

The southernmost part of mainland Italy is rich in history and natural beauty, with ancient cities that feature glorious architecture, important archaeological sites, and bucolic villages virtually unchanged through the centuries. Explore of the regions of Puglia, Basilicata, and Calabria, perhaps the least “discovered” parts of Italy.

Known in antiquity as Magna Graecia (“Greater Greece”), this part of Italy, along with Sicily, is an area that attracted Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Normans, and others for its fertile land and the potential for trade. Begin your travels in Puglia, on the heel of Italy’s boot, and visit the beautiful city of Lecce, known for its baroque architecture and 1st century, BC Roman amphitheater. Visit the historic port city of Taranto, founded by Spartans in 760 BC, and once one of the most powerful cities of Magna Graecia. See the incredible village of Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage site that features over 1,500 ancient trulli buildings, and Otranto, the port that was the gateway to the Eastern Mediterranean for centuries.

Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Matera’s old town called the Sassi. Its labyrinth of cave houses includes frescoed churches and chapels carved out of limestone rock. Continue on to Calabria, in the toe of the Italian boot, with its ancient hilltop villages, such as Rossano and Santa Severina, which house treasures in their cathedral and monasteries revealing Calabria’s long rich history. Conclude your journey in Reggio di Calabria, which guards the Strait of Messina, the narrow waterway that separates mainland Italy from Sicily. Reggio’s superb museum exhibits the incredible Riace Bronzes, two outstanding bronze statues from the Greek Classical period (5th century BC).

Accompanying you on this journey is expert guest lecturer Dr. Helen C. Evans, one of the world’s foremost Byzantine scholars, an adjunct professor at Columbia University, and the Mary and Michael Jaharis Curator for Byzantine Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

We invite you to travel with alumni and friends as we discover the history, monuments, and art of Southern Italy. Please contact the Alumni Travel Study Program office at 866-325-8664 or travelstudy@columbia.edu for more information and to reserve your place today.