Pitt in Sicily: Classics

The Pitt in Sicily: Classics program runs alongside the Pitt in Sicily: Italian program. Participants on this program will be combined with participants of the Pitt in Sicily: Italian track for excursions/tours and the cross-listed CLASS 1154/ITAL 1154 course.

This program is designed for students interested in the history and archaeology of the ancient Mediterranean. The rich cultural heritage and sweeping panoramas of Sicily provide the background to an unforgettable exploration of over 1,000 years of Greek and Roman history and culture. Though based in the southeastern coastal town of Syracuse, we leave no corner of Sicily unexplored. Come visit some of the best-preserved Greek temples and theaters in Europe; tour medieval towns, hidden caves, and lonely beaches; hike the slope of Mt. Etna. Pitt in Sicily makes the whole island your classroom!



What You'll Accomplish: 

As an engaged and active participant in this program, you will have the opportunity:

  • to study history and archaelogy of the ancient Mediterranean
  • to develop deeper appreciation of the ancient culture that is still relevant in modern days
  • to explore ancient temples and theaters, tour medieval towns, hike the slopes of Mt.Etna and beautiful beaches 

Syracuse is a historic city in Sicily, the capital of the province of Syracuse. The city is notable for its rich Greek history, culture, amphitheaters, architecture, and as the birthplace of the preeminent mathematician and engineer Archimedes. Syracuse is located in the southeast corner of the island of Sicily, by the Gulf of Syracuse next to the Ionian Sea.  Described by Cicero as "the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all”, this 2,700-year-old city played a key role in ancient times, when it was one of the major powers of the Mediterranean world.  Currently the city is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and has a population of around 125,000 people. 

Where You'll Live: 
Students will stay in shared housing facilities within walking distance of the school.  
You can expect your housing to have the following: 
  • 1-2 students in a room
  • Shared bathroom
  • Linens provided, will need to bring your own towels 
  • Wifi for general browsing 
  • Equipped kitchen (meals are not included in the program cost)   
We do our best to provide the most accurate information about housing and amenities but due to the nature of the locations in which we offer programs and limited availability, these items are subject to change.  Contact your program manager with any questions. 
What You'll Study: 

You will take two courses for a total of 6 credits. Both courses will be taught by Pitt faculty and will be comprised of lectures, guest speakers, city tours, and cultural activities.

If you are seeking to count these courses towards a major, minor or certificate, please meet with your academic advisor to discuss this program and what the courses will fulfill for you.

Greek Archaeology (CLASS1610)

This course introduces students to the archaeologist’s task of bringing lost societies back to light through the study of their physical remains and material culture. From the search by aristocrats and antiquarians for ancient sites known only in myth and legend, the practice of Archaeology has developed over the last 150 years into a rigorous academic discipline. By studying ancient Greek art, architecture, inscriptions, burials, and the many everyday objects that survive from antiquity, archaeologists are able to shine light on details of Greek society that are often totally inaccessible from the surviving literary and historiographical record: details of the ancient economy, for example, the political processes of individual city-states and their varying cults and religious rituals, as well as the everyday lives of ancient Greeks from all classes and backgrounds. For over a century, Classical Archaeologists have developed scientific methodsof identifying, studying, documenting, and preserving cultural heritage sites throughout the Mediterranean, and we have pioneered a variety of digital approaches including 3D scanning and printing, GIS and text-image mapping. The course begins with examination of the archaeology of the Bronze Age (ca. 3000-11o B.C.) and presents a survey of the Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic periods (1100-31 B.C.), as well as a history of the archaeological discipline itself from the nineteenth century to today.

Mediterranean Crossroads (CLASS1154)

This course takes a place-based, diachronic approach to the study of Mediterranean interconnectedness, from the perspective of the main Sicilian island and indeed the very notion of islandness. As Godfrey Baldacchino has written in the introduction to his seminal A World of Islands: “islands suggest themselves as terrae nullius, empty spaces, waiting, wanting, to be possessed: potential laboratories for any conceivable and uninhibited human project, in thought or in action...But: the small, remote and insular also suggests marginality, being on the edge, being out of sight and so out of mind, situations which can expose the weakness of mainstream ideas, orthodoxies, and received wisdoms, while fomenting alternatives to the status quo. Any dominant paradigm is supposedly weakest at its periphery.” Baldacchino’s insights invite us to think deeply about Sicily’s position with regard to the Mediterranean and its components, as a locus of exchange, commerce, conquest, mobility, and travel. Reflecting on Mediterranean islandness and the multicultural history of Sicily permits us to scrutinize the processes of transregional interconnectedness, mobility, and exchange that are hallmarks of historical globalization. Islands connect, but also divide; they are sites where identities are not only forged, but also blended and challenged; they offer a microcosm in which global issues may be observed and studied. 

Introductory readings, screenings, and discussions (Week 1) introduce students to the interpretive possibilities of islands, their inherent polyvalence and multiplicity of perspectives, as well as to the theme of the outsider’s approach and landing on the Sicilian island, in particular. In Week 2, texts and discussions focus on the island’s eastern coast, and shift to themes of colonialism and imperialism, both in the classical world and in the post-Italian unification era: readings depict the Mediterranean both as a place of adventure and as a path for escape, with emphasis on Sicily’s history of colonial occupation and performances of imperial power. Sicily’s connections to broad transregional institutions and networks (ancient economies and social networks, the Persian Empire, the Catholic Church, and Jesuit missions to the Americas) shape Week 3 readings, discussions, and field trips to the Baroque environments of the Val di Noto. The last week of the course is conducted on site through an extended tour of the interior and Western part of the island: readings and discussions emphasize the Mediterranean and its islands, especially Sicily, as nodes in long-running systems of cross-border movement and exchange.

Cross-listed with ITAL 1154

We run this program in cooperation with EXEDRA Mediterranean Center’s, whose mission is to foster international connections and understanding by hosting custom and faculty-led programs for universities from all over the world. The EXEDRA team has years of experience in organising study-abroad programs, workshops, conferences and cultural events and you can be sure you will have support and expertise with any questions you might have.

Your Pitt Study Abroad Contacts: 

Lauren Perri

Hi! I'm Lauren, Program Manager for Arts & Sciences students. As an undergraduate student, I studied abroad in Marburg, Germany. Since then, my career in international education has taken me to many locations around the world. Particularly, I have an affinity for Florence, Italy. There is nothing quite like the challenge of navigating a new city, country, and culture! Let's chat about global experiences.

Schedule an appointment

Schedule an appointment with me using Pathways! 

  • Schedule an appointment with me using my personal link.
  • Login to Pathways with your Pitt username and password
  • Select Find Available Time
  • Select the time you want to meet
  • Review the appointment and click the schedule button
  • You will see a graphic that confirms that you have made an appointment with me & receive a confirmation in your Pitt email 

Don't see a time that works for you? Just send me an email at lap140@pitt.edu

Your In-Country Contacts: 

Jacques Bromberg

Professor Jacques Bromberg is faculty co-director of Pitt in Sicily. He first visited the island as an undergraduate and like many other travelers to this ancient land, he has never been free from the nostalgia for it. Professor Bromberg studied Classics and Ancient History at Stanford and Penn, and taught Greek literature and history at Colby College and Duke University before joining the Classics faculty at Pitt in 2014. His research interests include Greek tragedy and its receptions, history and philosophy of sport, and historical globalization studies. He teaches a wide variety of courses at Pitt in the languages, literature, and cultural history of the ancient world. Professor Bromberg started Pitt in Sicily in 2016 as a way to introduce Pitt undergraduates to the archaeology and cultural heritage of ancient Greece, and he cannot think of a better place to spend four weeks in the Summer.


Items Billed by Pitt

  In-State Out-of-State
Program Fee $5,600.00 $5,800.00
Study Abroad Fee $300.00 $300.00
Total Billed by Pitt $5,900.00 $6,100.00

Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs

Airfare ~1,500
Meals and Personal Expenses $1000 - $1,200


Remember that your lifestyle and spending choices can greatly affect the amount of money you'll need while abroad. Visit our Budgeting page for more information.


What's Included: 

As a part of your program fee, the following are included:

  • Tuition for six Pitt credits
  • Survival Italian language lessons in country
  • Shared accommodations throughout the program
  • International travel health insurance throughout the dates of the program
  • Class related activities (site visits and museums; Greek theater performance)
  • Cultural activities (pasta making, pick-up soccer, movie nights)
  • Welcome and farewell dinners
  • Excursions to Catania and Mount Etna, Pantalica, Ferla and Palazzolo Acreide, Acireale, Giardini Naxos, Taormina, Noto, Villa del Tellaro, Scicli, Modica or Regusa, Morganitina, Aidone, Piazza Armerina, Licata, Agrigento, Selinunte, Mozia, Segesta and Palermo. Final list of excursions TBD. 


When You'll Go: 

The program will run from mid-June to mid-July. 

What Else You Need to Know: 

While it would be helpful, no prior Italian language is necessary for this program.  Both courses will be taught in English. 

Please note: Program activities require extensive walking/hiking. This program is heavily structured. As such, there would be very little possibility of independent travel during official program dates.