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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

Study tours

Croatia, Montenegro, Albania & the Ionian Shores of Italy and Greece

August 5-18, 2015

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This truly extraordinary voyage begins in Athens, where we will board the fifty-guest M/V Artemis and set forth on an itinerary that includes stunningly beautiful islands, port towns, and magnificent ancient sites in Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Italy's Basilicata and Puglia regions, and Greece's western shores. Along the way we'll stop at places that are beyond the reach of big cruise ships and mass tourism.

From (the other) Ithaca, replete with Homeric sites, we'll sail north, first to visit the oldest oracular site in Greece at Dodoni and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Butrint. We'll travel on to the once mighty Spartan city of Taranto; the Baroque town of Lecce; the medieval city of Korcula; the Palace of Diocletian in Split; beautifully preserved Dubrovnik; and many more magnificent sites.

Enhancing our experience will be CAU faculty leader Scott MacDonald, who will enlighten us about the philosophical and religious cultures of the ancient and medieval world, and Yale's Kirk Freudenburg, who will lecture on classical history and mythology.

This exciting journey of discovery is being offered at a special low rate ($2,000 per person less than usual) and includes a night in Athens and a day of sightseeing there free of charge.

Scott MacDonald is senior associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, a professor of philosophy, and the Norma K. Regan Professor in Christian Studies at Cornell University. He holds advanced degrees from the University of St. Andrews and Cornell.

Program notes

  • Double occupancy starting at: $6,990 per person
  • Single cabin: $9,990
  • See What's included?
  • See Travel links and resources.
  • Fitness scale: Slightly strenuous. May require extended walking over uneven ground as well as the ability to climb stairs and to stand for considerable periods of time.


Thursday, August 6: Athens, Greece

Arrive in Athens and check into the Athens Plaza hotel, located on Constitution Square, the center of the city.

Friday, August 7: Athens/Piraeus/Embark

Enjoy a morning tour of the Acropolis, including the Acropolis Museum. In the afternoon, transfer to Piraeus to board Artemis. Shortly after sailing, the ship will navigate the scenic Corinth Canal. (B, D)

Saturday, August 8: Ithaca

Ithaca is a stunning island of pristine beaches and verdant forest. Visit the bay of Dexia, believed to be Homer's harbor of Phorkys. Admire the Cyclopean Walls, a ruined site known as Odysseus's Castle, and stand atop the Plateau of Marathia, where Odysseus's loyal servant Eumaeus kept his swine. (B, L, D)

Sunday, August 9: Igoumenitsa/Dodoni/Ioannina

Call at Igoumenitsa on Greece's west coast and travel to Dodoni, the oldest oracular site in Greece, perhaps dating to 1000 B.C. Beautifully situated in a valley below Mt. Tomaros, the site includes a superb theater, built during the reign of King Pyrrhus. With walls 65 feet high and a seating capacity of 20,000, it was the second largest theater in Greece. Continue to the charming old market town of Ioannina, beautifully built on the shores of a scenic lake. (B, L, D)

Monday, August 10: Saranda/Butrint/Saranda

rive to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Butrint. Inhabited since prehistoric times, the city was founded by the Trojans, or so claimed the poet Virgil. A gem of an archaeological site, its ruins span 2,500 years and include the remains of a Greek acropolis, Roman theater, sixth-century baptistery, and nineteenth-century fortress. (B, L, D)

Tuesday, August 11: Taranto/Metapontum/Matera

Located on the gulf that bears its name, Taranto was founded by Spartan settlers in 708 B.C., and became one of the most powerful cities in Magna Graecia. Drive to Metapontum, the remains of the ancient Greek city, founded in the seventh century B.C., which grew rich from agriculture and its position on the trade route with the cities of the Tyrrhenian coast. After exploring the site, continue to Matera, a breathtaking hilltop town designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Alternately, visit the National Museum in Taranto, which houses one of the largest archaeological collections in Italy. (B, L, D)

Wednesday, August 12: Otranto/Lecce

Built around an attractive bay in Italy's Puglia region, Otranto was the embarkation port of the Crusades and a leading trading center. Travel to the Baroque town of Lecce. Tour the Piazza del Duomo and Cathedral, Basilica di Santa Croce, and the Roman amphitheater in Piazza Oronzo. (B, L, D)

Thursday, August 13: Kotor

Sail the deep, fjord-like Bay of Kotor to reach the port town of the same name, located at the head of the bay beneath towering mountains. One of the most striking and best-preserved towns along the Adriatic coast, Kotor is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. A tour of this delightful town reveals its magnificent walls, palaces, and churches, including the twelfth-century St. Tryphon Cathedral and the Maritime Museum. (B, L, D)

Friday, August 14: Korcula Island, Croatia

As we dock in Korcula town, steps away from our ship stands the medieval city with its walls and guard towers still intact. Note the medieval town's unique layout: western streets run straight to funnel refreshing maestral breezes; eastern streets slightly curve to minimize bura winds. Visit St. Mark's Cathedral, the Bishop's Palace and its Treasury, the Church of All Saints, and the Icon Museum. Continue by bus to a local winery for a tasting. (B, L, D)

Saturday, August 15: Split

Originally a Greco-Illyrian settlement, Split is an ancient city centered around the formidable Palace of Diocletian, built in A.D. 295-305. Today it is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. An extensive structure, much of which is well preserved, the palace contains within its walls Split's medieval town, making it the only palace that has been continuously inhabited since Roman times. Our tour includes a visit to its underground cellars, the Mausoleum, Jupiter's Temple, the Peristyle, and the Northern Gate. Conclude the city tour with a visit to the gallery of famous Croatian sculptor, Ivan Mestrovic. (B, L, D)

Sunday, August 16: Hvar

Discover Hvar, a fertile island of pale stone houses surrounded by rosemary, lavender, and laurel. The architecture is unmistakably Venetian, and there are fine fortifications. Our tour of the island's principal town includes the seventeenth-century Municipal Theater, the Franciscan Monastery and its small gallery, the city's Loggia, and St. Stephen's Square. Continue by bus to the sixteenth-century fortress, at the top of the hill, for spectacular views of Hvar Town's red-tiled rooftops and harbor. (B, L, D)

Monday, August 17: Dubrovnik

Set on a rocky peninsula jutting into the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik is one of Europe's best-preserved medieval cities and a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. Its ancient walls enclose narrow cobblestoned streets and alleyways, palaces, and mansions. The city contains within its ramparts the Rector's Palace; the Franciscan Monastery, which houses a thirteenth-century pharmacy (the oldest in Europe); and the baroque Cathedral, with works by Renaissance painters Titian and Andrea del Sarto. Enjoy a guided tour of Dubrovnik and overnight aboard ship docked in Dubrovnik. (B, L, D)

Tuesday, August 18: Dubrovnik/Disembark/Fly home

Disembark and transfer to the airport for return flights. (B)