William Carey University: Study Travel and Excavation Program

STEP 2008 Italy

Magna Graecia, Campania, and Rome

31 Dec 2007-12 Jan 2008

Clicking on images below will allow viewing of larger versions.






Day 1
31 Dec

Departed Hattiesburg for Italy via Memphis; overnight flight to Amsterdam.

RIGHT: The group on the ancient Appian Way among tombs outside Rome

Day 2
1 Jan

Morning arrival in Amsterdam and flight to Rome.  After obtaining our rental vans, we stopped at the ancient Appian Way outside Rome to view the road itself, tombs, and an aqueduct; evening drive to Paestum, where we photographed Greek temples at night and then got much needed sleep.

AT LEFT : STEP group at an ancient aqueduct near the Via Appia

RIGHT: Paestum temples at night

Lido Ostia

Day 3
2 Jan

Morning visit to Paestum (Greek Poseidonia), originally a Greek colony and later a Roman city, with very well-preserved temples, followed by a drive south to the "toe" of Italy and a short ferry transfer across the Straits of Messina to Sicily and on to our hotel in Syracuse for overnight.

AT LEFT: the STEP group in front of Greek temples at Paestum

AT RIGHT: Georganna, Rachel, Stewart, and West with another Greek temple at Paestum


Day 4

3 Jan

Early morning walk through the most ancient part of Syracuse to see the Temple of Athena which became the Christian Duomo was followed by a visit to one of Syracuse's huge rock-cut theater, old city, and catacombs; then we continued to Agrigento, a dramatic city with impressive and picturesque temples for overnight.

AT LEFT: Georganna, Sarah, and Russell check out the Doric columns of the Temple of Athena, now part of the wall of the Duomo in Syracuse

AT RIGHT:  Travis contemplates the large rock-cut theater at Syracuse



Day 5
4 Jan

In the morning daylight, concluded visit at Agrigento by walking among a string of well-preserved temples and then continued to Selinunte, ancient Greek Selinus, for even more Greek temples in various states of preservation; following this, we made a bonus stop at Segesta and continued to Palermo and boarded an overnight ferry to Naples.

AT LEFT above: Sarah and Russell check out the "Temple of Concord" at Agrigento

LEFT, below: STEP visits a temple at Selinus/Selinunte

AT RIGHT: Felicia holds up a temple at Segesta in Sicily

Day 6
5 Jan

 An early arrival in the Bay of Naples permitted an early ascent up Mt. Vesuvius, the volcano that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, with breathtaking (it may have been the climb that took our breath) views of the whole Bay area; following this, we made an extensive exploration of Pompeii, the famous city covered by Vesuvius' eruption in AD 79; overnight at Pompeii.

AT LEFT; ABOVE: Sarah looks toward Pompeii from the caldera crater of Mt. Vesuvius;
    BELOW: the view back to Mt. Vesuvius from the forum at Pompeii

AT RIGHT; ABOVE: Travis contemplates the Amphitheater at Pompeii;
    BELOW: in the streets of Pompeii

Day 7
6 Jan

Rain somewhat dampened our exploration of the Campi Flegri (“burning fields”), where the landscape has been determined by volcanic activity; we explored the crater lake Avernus, the ruins of Cumae, where ancients consulted the prophetic Sibyl--perhaps in the odd grotto there--and Baia, where we made an unauthorized drop into the beginning of a LONG underground tunnel alleged to have served as an oracle of the dead--that is, a tunnel to Hades--in ancient times; in the afternoon we checked out the active volcanic steam vents of the Solfatara before returning for overnight at Pompeii.

AT LEFT:  Stewart in the "tunnel to Hell" at Baia

AT RIGHT: Sarah and DCB near volcanic vents at the Solfatara; hot!

Day 8
7 Jan

This day began with a rainy visit to Herculaneum, Pompeii's twin in destruction; then we visited Opontis, a spectacular Roman villa (once owned by Nero's wife) and two other sites, all victims of and preserved by Vesuvius; then we drove to Rome via the autostrada, having a laudromat session and a surprise birthday party for Sarah on arrival; overnight in Rome. 

AT LEFT:  the group takes shelter from the rain . . . in the baths at Herculaneum

AT RIGHT: Sarah checks a wall decoration at
Oplontis; the villa of Nero's wife, buried by Vesuvius


Day 9
8 Jan
A full day in Rome: the Colosseum, the Palatine Hill, Roman Forum, The Capitoline, Imperial Fora, Nero's Golden House, St. Peter in Chains, Nero's Golden House, and the Trevi Fountain! 

AT LEFT, ABOVE: Stewart, Rachel, and West in the Colosseum;
BELOW: Rachel on the Palatine Hill above the Roman Forum

AT RIGHT, ABOVE: Georganna and Felicia at the Arch of Titus leading into the Roman Forum;
BELOW: Ame', Georganna, and Travis at the Trevi Fountain.

Day 10
9 Jan

On this day, we went out to the environs of Rome, starting with the Etruscan cemetery site of Cerveteri, followed by Ostia, a port of Rome with impressive remains, and an afternoon descent to a catacomb; then, back to Rome for night exploration and overnight.

AT LEFT: Sarah and Russell at an Etruscan tomb at Cerveteri

AT RIGHT: West, Rachel and Stewart in front of the Colosseum

Day 11
10 Jan

 This day we made a lengthy visit to the Vatican Museum, seeing the Sistine Chapel, and taking a special tour through the excavations under St. Peter's where a fist century cemetery may contain the actual tomb of Peter; then, a visit to St. Peter's basilica itself; in the afternoon, we trekked out to St. Paul's Outside the Walls, where an ancient church marked the original grave of Paul; the evening was spent in the area of the Pantheon and Piazza Navona; overnight in Rome.

AT LEFT: in the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls

AT RIGHT; ABOVE: Felicia and Georganna at the Pantheon, built by the Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century

Day 12
11 Jan

Everyone had a free day in Rome for shopping, seeing other stuff, eating, strolling, or whatever; there is so much to see and do in Rome!

AT LEFT: Stewart in the Mamertine Prison with an altar dedicated to St. Peter

AT RIGHT: Sarah and Russell visit with Constantine the Great (or is it "large?")

Day 13
12 Jan

Return flight to the USA

AT LEFT: Our Northwest DC-10 ready to leave from Amsterdam in 2005; happily, the old DC-10s have been retired and newer planes put in service on the route.

all photos by Daniel C Browning, Jr


Updated: 3 December 2009