“Without Sicily, Italy cannot be fully understood. It is here one finds the key to all things”J.W. Goethe, “Italienische Reise” (Flight to Italy), 1786
Most people do not seem to realize how much Sicily has to offer. With its sun, its beige pebble and sandy beaches, its warm aqua blue water, its snow-topped volcano Mount Etna, its forests and rolling golden hills, Sicily has always been at the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, and therefore, it has always been at the centre of Mediterranean history.
Sicily is at the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea as been has been the center of western civilisation 3,000 years. Every major civilisation that wanted to have power in Europe and over the Mediterranean Sea “had” to own Sicily. And down through the last almost 3,000 years of history, every major Mediterranean civilisation has left its mark on Sicily! Important artistic, architectural, and cultural remains are visible in virtually every town at virtually every corner of this island in the hearth of the Mediterranean Sea.
Take a virtual tour of Sicily and learn more about the history, the monuments and the views of our region.
Learn about art and history of Sicily
Sicily has an amazing heritage in history, art and art history, and it is here where the roots of the whole Italian culture can be found. Discover the historical treasures in Taormina, Palermo, Syracuse, Monreale, Cefalù, Agrigento, Piazza Armerina, Caltagirone, Noto, Ragusa, Modica, Segesta, Selinunte, Erice, Eolian Islands. Study Italian and discover Sicily!
In, 1786, J.W. Goethe, in his “Italienische Reise” (Flight to Italy), wrote “Without Sicily, Italy cannot be fully understood. It is here one finds the key to all things“
A quick look into the history of Sicily will help us understand why. Syracuse ruled over the Mediterranean Sea and over Italy up to Tuscany, influencing first the Etruscans and then the Roman culture. It was so powerful in the Mediterranean Sea that Athens was obliged to defend its supremacy in the Greek world in many different wars. Many of the legends described in Homer’s Odyssey take place in Sicily, between the Aeolian Islands and the volcano, Mount Etna. Agrigento, with its magnificent temples, was described by Pyndar as “The most beautiful town for mortals”. From among many cities: Catania gave birth to Caronda, the first man in the world who understood the importance of having law in a written form to guarantee democracy; Palermo, where the Arabs left beautiful traces of their vast knowledge in science and architecture and where the Arab culture mixed with the German culture of the court of Frederick II of Swabia leaving beautiful palaces, churches and chapels with breathtaking mosaics and columns.
In the Fine Arts Sicily’s contribution has been enormous. Since the Middle Ages, when the language and the poetry of the court of Federico II was about to become the national language, before Dante and his magnificent Comedy put an end to the controversy. Sicily has contributed 2 Nobel prizes in literature: Quasimodo and Pirandello. Most of the school of literary realism was Sicilian: Verga, Capuana, Rosso di San Secondo. And still in the contemporary scenario Sciascia, Bufalino, Consolo, and Camilleri are best sellers
In music, from the old cantastorie travelling around the island singing the stories of French paladins to XIX century when Vincenzo Bellini delighted European royal courts with his Norma. And in pop music nowadays with Franco Battiato and Carmen Consoli, Mario Venuti and Denovo. In paintings and sculpture, from Antonello di Messina to Renato Guttuso. In fashion, from Mariella Ferrera to Dolce & Gabbana.
And incooking & wine: from pasta alle sarde to caponatina, from cannoli to pasta reale, from Marsala to Malvasia. Sicily is known worldwide for its traditional food and its wine.
With the aim of offering to you a deeper cultural experience during your stay in Taormina and in Sicily, and having you experiencing all of this personally, our Centre for Italian Studies offers a variety of “Italian plus…” programs, including:
Our italian language plus programs
- ITALIAN plus COOKING
- ITALIAN plus SICILIAN FOOD & WINE
- ITALIAN plus SICILIAN POTTERY
- ITALIAN plus DIVING IN SICILY
- ITALIAN plus HIKING IN SICILY
Taormina can be the base for a more expansive tour of Sicily. Follow this link to know more about Taormina.
Taormina is perfectly situated to offer Italian language students easy access to the beauties and historically huge cultural heritage of Sicily: the right place for combining study and holidays. We would love to welcome you soon and help you have an unforgettable personal, cultural and educational experience with us in Taormina, in Sicily!
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