Chris Downing in Taormina (photograph by River Malcolm)

Chris Downing in Taormina (photograph by River Malcolm)


two spaces open

The Greeks in Sicily


christine downing

Two Weeks in Sicily
April 28-May 12, 2018

Siracusa – Ortygia – Enna – Agrigento – Selinunte
Segesta – Palermo – Monreale –  Mt. Etna – Taormina

Like Turkey, and much of Italy, Sicily was part of Magna Graecia, Greater Greece. Between the 8th and 6th centuries BCE the Greeks established colonies there, bringing with them their language, and religious and cultural traditions. The temples and theaters are more ancient and often in much better repair than those in Greece itself. Made of golden-tinted limestone, not marble, they are stunningly beautiful, especially at sunset. The museums are full of amazing sculptures, reliefs, mosaics, and gorgeous vases! 

Sicily also plays an important role in Greek mythology and history. The most venerated deities were Demeter and Persephone and there are evidences of that everywhere!  Typhon, the most monstrous of the giants was imprisoned under Mt. Etna, and it was there that Hephaestus (assisted by the Cyclops) had his forge. Polyphemus lived in a nearby cave. Heracles came to Sicily during the course of his battle with Geryon. Daedalus came to Sicily after the death of Icarus. Aeneas stopped in Sicily on his way to Italy after abandoning Dido and many of his company decided to stay. In historical times Empedocles, one of the most important pre-Socratic philosophers, who was born in Agrigento, in 433 jumped into the crater of Mt. Etna to prove he was a god. Aeschylus came to Siracusa to supervise the performance of several of his plays and supposedly died in Gela when an eagle dropped a tortoise that fell on his head and shattered his skull. Plato came to Siracusa in the illusory hope of bringing his vision of a city ruled by a philosopher king into actuality. 

During our tour Chris will have an opportunity to elaborate on these stories and also to retell the myths associated with the temples dedicated to Athena, Apollo, Hera, Olympian Zeus, and the Dioscuri, as well as the myths about Heracles, Actaeon, Perseus, and other Greek heroes represented on the friezes that once decorated those temples.   

Dr. Christine Downing has been teaching at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California since 1987, primarily in its Mythological Studies Program. Before that she taught in the Department of Religious Studies at San Diego State University and concurrently at the California School of Professional Psychology. Christine has also taught at the Jung Institute in Zürich and lectures frequently to Jungian groups internationally and at American and European universities. She has led five tours to Greece and one to classical sites in Turkey. Her many books include The Goddess, Women's Mysteries, Gods In Our Midst, and The Long Journey Home: Revisioning the Myth of Persephone and Demeter for Our Time.  

Cost Per Person

$4,000 based on double occupancy
$925 Single Supplement
$600 Economical Single Supplement

The Sicily Tour Includes

All lectures with Christine Downing; an English-speaking Sicily Tour Leader; entrance fees to all museums, archeological sites, and other venues; 14 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 7 dinners with two wine tastings of Sicilian wines; ticket to Greek tragedy in Siracusa; transportation to and from the Catania airport; air conditioned chartered bus service to all destinations; and 14 nights’ accommodations (double occupancy).  

The Sicily Tour Does Not Include

Air travel to and from the Catania-Fontanarossa Airport (CTA), travel insurance, some meals, optional activities, items of a personal nature and tips to hotel service staff. Tips to our tour leader and bus driver are welcomed.


There are currently two spaces open. If you wish to have further information, please contact Toni D’Anca at