Wednesday, July 21, 2010


This is Palermo's Cathedral in which we all visited (look in the bottom left). It is characterized by the presence of many different architecture styles. The cathedral was built in 1185, but alterations continued until the 18th century.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Our last week in Catania!!!!!!

On Sunday, July 18 we first went swimming off the rocks in Aci Castello. Then we had dinner with Alan, Ayrton and all the Italian families. Everybody came! We ate al fresco and it was a lovely -- although very warm -- evening. The families have been so welcoming and gracious to the Ellis girls during our stay here in Catania, and it was a real pleasure to dine with them.

Here are the pictures of the Ellis girls with their Italian families.

Here is a picture of Marina L. with Irene S., her parents and her little brother.

The next picture is of Nina N. with her Italian sister, Loriana, and her parents.

Bridget K. with her sister, Elisabetta D. and Elisabetta's mom.

The next picture shows Zoe M. with her sister Frederica F., and Frederica's parents.

The final picture shows Hannah M. with her sister Giorgia and Giorgia's brother.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

This picture is from when we went to Aggrigento. We marveled at the string of Greek temples and walked along to each one. This particular temple is dedicated to the Goddess Hera. It is the most preserved out of all of the ones that we visited.

This is one our favorite pictures that we have taken so far. (Well other than Hannah.) This is also taken in Aggrigento from when we were intensely rock climbing, as you can see from Hannah's expression. One of our favorite parts of traveling to Aggrigento was climbing on the massive rocks that were the remains of the Greek temples.

Before almost having our heads chopped off for not posing for this picture, we climbed the treacherous and gigantic rock in which we are standing on. As you can see in the background, there is the remains of a column from one of the Greek temples. It was extremely large showing that the temple was great, this particular one being about the size of a football field.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


The center-point of Enna is the majestic Castello di Lombardia. The walls of this castle were the basis of the city's defenses, and all of the principal sites of religious and civic power were constructed on what is now Via Roma. This castle is one of the grandest in Sicily, built by the Hohenstaufens.

We climbed to the highest point in the castle, and admired the beautiful view.

-Hannah and Zoe

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


This is the fortress that we visited yesterday in Acicastello. Castello is the Italian word for castle- and this was the castle that the Normans (from France) built in 1076 from black lava when they invaded Sicily. Parts of the castle was destroyed by Frederick II of Aragon. It had beautiful views (see picture 1) overlooking the town of Acicastello and its beach.

These locks are a little quirk that we found and later asked our Italian sisters about. Apparently, when a couple is about to be married they bring a lock and key and throw the key away in the ocean forever locking in their love. We all thought it was such an adorable tradition!

-Marina and Bridget

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Ellis School in Catania, summer 2010

Hi everybody! We have been in Sicily just over a week. We are having a wonderful time. Classes are going well -- and everybody is learning a lot of Italian! This past weekend we visited Ragusa and Noto -- jewels of Sicilian baroque art and architecture. We also went to Taormina and visited the Greek amphitheater there. Finally, we spent some time at the beautiful beach on Giardini Naxos. Everybody will be begin more blogging soon.

Vicky Jordan

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Excursion on Mt. Etna

By program participant Kayla Kramer - Beloit College

On Saturday all 11 of us climbed Mt Etna, along with our wonderful professors and a Geologist. Apparently it is the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps, and the biggest volcano in Europe. To the Ancient Greeks, it helped to pin down the Greek monster Typhon (along with the rest of Sicily). There was so much basalt rock and black sand and soil, but no animals. The savvy Romans accidentally hunted them to extinction. Etna is now covered with bands of wandering goats, and the occasional fox. There was still snow on some parts of the mountain and at the end of the day some of us followed a stream of snow runoff as high up as Etna and as time would allow.

Program participant Kristin Hebért of Tulane University takes in Mt. Etna.

Spring runoff cascading down smooth basalt stone.

Taking a break and munching on Juniper berries.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cook Class with Tommaso

We had a cooking class at 5pm today with our director and everyone on the program. It was held at a little restaurant right next to the place where our classes are. We each got to take turns making a type of eggplant parmigiana and pasta alla norma, which is eggplant in a red sauce with home made pasta. It was so fresh and SO DELICIOUS! Also fun to cook, but I am way too spazzy to deal with vats of hot oil. After the cooking class we walked around and went shopping for a bit. The city is going crazy right now in preparation for the St. Agatha festival that's coming up, with vendors all over the piazze and people bustling everywhere. ALSO, there are incredible sales going on all over the place. I got a skirt today for 20 euros, marked down from I think 69, some cute earrings, and the most insanely adorable stickers I have ever seen in my life. That's all for now!!