Tours

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odyssey-Gozo_73876701

Malta, Sardinia & Corsica: An Odyssey of Islands

Though near-neighbors this trio of sunlit central Mediterranean islands off the Italian coast are as chalk to cheese when it comes to their contrasting history, heritage and dramatic landscapes. All three share inter-connections and influences originating with the early peoples of the Aegean – yet today each has developed its own colorful and distinctive culture.

Apr 4 – 18 2019 (15 days)
Price $8,295 | SS $1,200
Deposit $500

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Tour Description

Why and how these contrasts evolved is the rich thread linking this interest-filled odyssey. Its investigative approach will reward you with a knowledge of the ancient civilizations that conquered these islands in turn – a story stretching from the seafaring Sherden and Phoenicians to Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Crusader knights and Turks and to latter-day colonization by the Spanish, Italians, French and British. You will also gain an enhanced understanding of the ways in which the occupiers left their own indelible legacy upon the great landmarks of the islands and their differing modern-day cultures.

Among the tour’s memorable archaeological locations visited will be Malta’s prehistoric megalithic temples at Ggantija (a UNESCO World Heritage site, dating from 3600 BCE); examples of the unique 7,000 tower-fortress nuraghes of Sardinia (mere youngsters from the second millennium BCE); and Corsica’s megalithic sites of Fontanaccia, Stantari and Renaghju, the island’s best-preserved dolmen.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Explore the fascinatingly contrasted archaeology, scenery and eclectic origins of the cultural and political histories of three very different islands
  • Discover the megalithic temples of Malta, the nuraghes of Sardinia and the open-air sanctuaries and cult sites of Corsica
  • Travel through spectacular unspoilt scenery beneath spring skies – and enjoy delicious local cuisine and wines in the heart of the Mediterranean

  • Visit the excellent Sartene Archaeological Museum, in the heart of Corsica’s most megalithic monument-rich region
  • Experience the true delights that Malta has to offer, from the crystal clear waters to the welcoming charm of the locals

WHAT TO EXPECT

LED BY

Professor Caroline Malone

2019 Itinerary

Thursday, April 4: ARRIVE IN VALLETTA
We arrive in Valletta, capital of Malta, and transfer to our first hotel. We take the rest of the day to relax after our flight, before enjoying our first dinner together as a group.
Dinner included.

Friday April 5: VALLETTA
This full day will begin at the National Museum of Archaeology, which displays a wonderful collection of prehistoric material from the island. We will then take a short walking tour in the old city, including a visit to St. John’s Cathedral, which houses Caravaggio’s The Beheading among its many other treasures. Our day concludes with a walking tour around the fortified city of Mdina. From antiquty to Medieval times, Mdina served at the island’s original capital. The historic streets and tiny plazas are now purely Maltese in character.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Saturday, April 6: VALLETTA
Our tour starts at Hagar Qim and Mnajdra, a megalithic temple complex occupying a marvelous site above the sea and looking out over the islet of Fifla. These temples are unusual for their beautifully dressed stones and variety of altars. Our touring this afternoon continues at the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, a vast rock-cut catacomb for multiple burials, and then the temples of Tarxien, which is a complex that is made up of four megalithic structures built at the height of the Temple Period.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Sunday, April 7: VALLETTA
We travel to the far end of the island and take a ferry to the tiny island of Gozo. Here, we will visit the prehistoric temples of Ggantija, which date from 3600 BC and are archetypal of this phase. These well-preserved temples have massive walls, some of which still rise to a height of 17 feet. They are as enigmatic today as they must have been in prehistory. From here, we pay a visit to the Archaeological Museum as well as the Citadel in the old Norman town of Victoria before returning to Valletta for the remainder of the evening.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Monday, April 8: VALLETTA – CAGLIARI
Today, we fly from Malta to Sardinia. We arrive in Cagliari in time for dinner as a group.
Breakfast & dinner included.

Tuesday, April 9: CAGLIARI
This morning, we discover Sardinia’s capital city, Cagliari. We then enjoy a walking tour of the old town, visiting a myriad of interesting sites, such as the impressive 13th century Romanesque Gothic Cathedral and Roman Amphitheater. There is an Italian feel to the palazzi, squares and domed churches that characterize Sardinia’s capital, which we will notice while wandering around here. This afternoon, we have free time to explore the city, time to spend shopping, further sightseeing, or simply relax in one of the many pavement cafés.
Breakfast included.

Wednesday, April 10: CAGLIARI
Today’s itinerary takes us to a variety of Phoenician sites, beginning with a scenic coastal drive to the ancient city of Nora. This area was founded almost 3,000 years ago and had many phases of occupation, from the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians, to the Romans. We visit the city’s Punic temple along with its Roman theater and baths, and then we make our way to Monte Sirai, touring a Phoenician mining town and visit several Nuragic towers.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Thursday, April 11: CAGLIARI – ORISTANO
Driving north this morning, we make our first stop at the megalithic cult center and cemetery of Pranu Muteddu, with its menhirs and tumuli. We then continue on to the largest nuraghic village in Sardinia, Su Nuraxi, which has 396 houses and a massive central structure. This is a UNESCO World Heritage and archaeological site, and the large Nuraghe here dominates the area – its purpose still widely debated by scholars. Our touring today will come to an end at the ancient Phoenician and Roman town of Tharros, which was also a former bishopric.
All meals included.

Friday, April 12: ORISTANO – ALGHERO
We begin at the Nuragic complex of Losa and the sanctuary of Santa Cristina. Here, we find a hole in the ground – a well – that was built as a sacred site for an ancient civilization. After our tour here, we spend time at the rock-cut necropolis of Sant’Andrea Priu, which is dated to between 3500-2900 BC. We explore the site, including one of the largest tombs in the Mediterranean, with no fewer than eighteen rock-cut rooms. We continue to Alghero, a lovely port city, which still retains its Catalan atmosphere.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Saturday, April 13: ALGHERO – ARZACHENA
A visit to the fascinating Neolithic site of Monte d’Accoddi, a huge megalithic altar set on a base of over ten meters, awaits our discovery this morning. The site was found by the Segni family back in 1954 and it makes for an interesting stop on our travels today. We will spend the rest of our morning in Sassari, a delightful medieval town nestled around its great cathedral. This is a vibrant location, which houses a university and boasts a charming historic center. We visit the fine prehistoric Punic and Roman collections at the National Museum and then drive to our next hotel in Arzachena.
All meals included.

Sunday, April 14: ARZACHENA – BONIFACIO
We travel through mountain villages and along winding coastal roads until we reach La Prisgiona. Upon our arrival, we find the giants’ tombs of Li Loghi and Coddu Vecchiu, as well as the prehistoric cemetery of Li Muri, which dates back to the fourth millennium BC. Unusual for the period, the dead here were buried in single tombs, complete with rich grave goods. After lunch, we take a short ferry trip across to the beautiful island of Corsica, where we spend the night in the lovely port of Bonifacio. This fortified town, perched atop the chalk cliffs, appears on the Corsican horizon as we approach. We can expect to find quaint streets, interesting sites of historic significance (such as the house where Napoleon spent several months on Rue des Deux-Empereurs), and an array of great restaurants and cafés in this area.  There will be time to relax before tomorrow’s adventures.
All meals included.

Monday, April 15: BONIFACIO
The hill village of Sartene is ours to discover this morning and we begin with an interesting walking tour of its center. Granite buildings, charming alleyways and great local wines make this a popular, yet still considerably little-visited, destination in France. Once we’ve seen all there is to see here, we drive on to Spina Cavallu for an afternoon visit. We return to Bonifacio for independent wandering, souvenir shopping or just relaxing among the glorious local surroundings.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Tuesday, April 16: BONIFACIO – PROPRIANO
This morning, we will view Bonifacio’s old buildings remaining from the Pisan and Genoese periods, as well as its fortifications, built in 830 CE by a Tuscan margrave in order to repel a Saracen attack. The city is famous for its towers and churches, as well as its characteristic red-roofed, white-walled buildings. Later, we drive into the scenic Tizzano Valley to tour the megalithic sites of Fontanaccia, Stantari and Renaghju, the most well-preserved dolmens in Corsica.
All meals included.

Wednesday, April 17: PROPRIANO – AJACCIO
Our final full day of touring begins with a visit to Corsica’s picturesque commune of Sainte Lucie de Tallano. This particular area is known for its olive oil and the village itself is perched high above the Rizzanese Valley in the Alta Rocca region. Then, we will continue our day with a visit to the Bronze Age settlements and archaeological sites of Cucuruzzu and Capula.
All meals included.

Thursday, April 18: AJACCIO/DEPART FROM NICE
Today we fly from Ajaccio to Nice as a group and connect to our individual flights home or onward travel.
Breakfast included.

 

Additional Information

Calendar Year

2019

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