Program

Final Conference program will be available by August 2017.

The conference attendees will be able to enjoy the excursions to some fascinating and great of culture locations.

Tour Etna / Taormina - 20/09/2017

The tour will be dedicated to the visit of Etna and Taormina. At lunch, after the volcano hike, we will stop to enjoy our delicacies at a formerly renovated millstone in the Etna Park. After eating we will go to Taormina by bus.

Etna

The morning excursion on the Etna will take place on board of our off-road vehicles for short walks in the places of interest.

The first stop of our tour is Val Calanna, to admire the lava flows of 1991-93. During the night between December the 14th and the 15th 1991, in the western wall of the Valle del Bove, at an altitude of about 2,200 meters, an eruptive slot formed, with intense Strombolian activity and the release of massive lava flows. The lava began to go down quickly to the bottom of the valley. On December the 24th, the lava reached the Salto della Giumenta (1.400 m) and arrived into Val Calanna, which was gradually overtaken in the following days. In mid-January 1992, explosive activity began to decline and in March there was only the lava emission accompanied by degassing. The eruption, which lasted until March 1993, required the mobilization of all institutions, using various expedients, from explosives to the construction of barriers, to prevent it from overwhelming the inhabited centers.

From Val Calanna we will move to Valle del Bove. You can't really understand the spirit of Etna without having a look at the edges of this valley. The name "valley" does not fit it, it looks like a plateau, closed on three sides and with steep walls that at some points touch 1,200 m. On the western side it is bordered by a majestic ridge made up of the remains of the Piano, Ellittico and Lione calderas, while at noon and north its edges are represented by thin ridges which are generally called greenhouses. On the walls of these greenhouses strange lava bushes emerge that cut vertically and perpendicularly. These are dikes, which represent trace of radial cracks, filled by lava effluents that feed lateral eruptions and came out with selective erosion processes made by meteoric agents.

The next stage will be Grotta Cassone, a lava flow tunnel that we will explore with torches and helmets. These tunnels are the result of lava going down to the ground, in which the lava flows and keeps warm and fluid due to the high insulating power of the solidified lava walls that delimit the tunnel. Once the flow stops, the slope of the places downstream of the lava front, together with the temperature and viscosity of the lava, allows the drainage of the lava tube and the formation of very long cavities. Grotta Cassone is one of these tunnels that developed within the cast of 1792-93 that emerged from the Schiena dell'Asino and threatened the village of Zafferana Etnea.

Finally we will visit the Silvestri Craters. These are the mouths that formed after the eruption of 1892, along a radial fracture (buttonhole) on which 5 eruptive cones were set. Between the Upper Crater and the one below, called Lower Crater, there is the road that from Zafferana to Nicolosi arrives to Rifugio Sapienza, the destination of all visitors going to the south side of Mount Etna.

Taormina

Our visit to Taormina will start with a testimony of Ancient Sicily: the Greek Theater built by the Greeks (3rd century BC) who chose the scenic promontory as setting for their dramatic and musical performances. The Theater, in the 2nd century AD, was changed and expanded by the Romans who turned the scene and the orchestra into an arena where fights between gladiators and hunting shows took place. From the top of the vast cavea, the steps that follow the natural concavity of the hill, start from the bottom and rise to the summit, enjoying a magnificent view of the Calabrian coast and the Sicilian Ionian coast with the Etna in the background.

The second stage will be the Municipal Villa, a pleasant oasis of tranquility in the city center. The beautiful public gardens dedicated to the duke of Cesaro' were originally a private park created by the will of Lady Florence Trevelyan Cacciola, the Scottish noblewoman who lived in Taormina since 1884 and married the first citizen. Built as a typical English garden, the park was filled with a wide variety of flowers and plants from all over the world as well as strange exotic buildings used by Lady Florence, a passionate ornithologist, to observe the birds. The most characteristic building is the so-called "The Beehives", a strange pavilion that remembers, as the name suggests, a hive. Ideal for walking and enjoying the cool, the Communal Villa gardens also offer a wonderful view of Mount Etna and the coast.

Finally we will visit the charming Duomo Square with its Cathedral dedicated to St. Nicholas. It was built around 1400 on the remains of a 13th century church and underwent several renovations, as evidenced by the main portal of 1636 and the two lateral portals dating back to the 15th century (the one on the left) and the 16th century (the one on the right). Facing the Duomo you can admire the 17th century fountain of baroque style built on circular steps surrounded by four lovely fountains. To note, in the center of the fountain, the symbol of the city of Taormina, that is the crowned centaur that, in the left hand, holds the world and in the right one the scepter of the power.

Tour Siracusa - 21/09/2017

In the morning, guided visit of Noto and Siracusa historical centres. After lunch, guided visit of Siracusa's archeological park.

Noto is the capital of Sicilian Baroque. Its current appearance comes from the earthquake which occurred in 1693, during the Spanish domination. Thanks to the quantity of baroque churches and buildings, Noto was called 'the stone garden', and in 2002 it was placed by Unesco on its world heritage list and among the nine towns forming 'the nine late baroque towns of the Val di Noto'. Places that a visitor should never miss are the Royal Gate, the Church of SS. Salvatore, the Cathedral and the balconies of Nicolaci Building.

Siracusa is the second Greek colony after Naxos. It was founded in 734-733 B.C. because it was well-watered. It became politically and economically powerful, and after a long war (415-413 B.C.) it even succeeded in defeating Athens. A 32-km-long wall which was built by order of the tyrant Dionysus I, protected Siracusa from Carthaginian attacks. Visiting Ortigia Island, the old town, means to experience some 3000 years of history.
Apollo's temple, with its monolithic columns, is Siracusa's anciest monument. The Cathedral is an adaptation from the Greek temple of Athena. At a stone's throw from the Cathedral the Aretusa Spring surprises the visitor. It is located by the sea and high and green Papyrus plants (the same as in Nile river) make it nicer.

Siracusa's Archeological Park contains the most iconic monuments of the ancient/Greek town. The Ear of Dionysus deserves a visit, due to its unusual shape of an ear and echo effect. The Quarry of Paradise hosts a beautiful citrus garden, and still shows the remains of the pillars which bore the vault before it collapsed. Like 2500 years ago, the Greek Theater, two thirds of which are encarved in the Colle Temenite's white stone, still puts on classical plays, from May to July. Above the theater there is a cave with a waterfall, the nymphaion. The water that flows into the cave derives from an ancient acqueduct which was digged in the rock by Carthaginians slaves in 480 B.C. The Altar of Ieron II, the biggest sacrificial altar in the whole Greek world (200mt), witnesses Ieron II's megalomania.