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Italian studies in Sicily

Why Study in Sicily - Italian programs in Sicily

Sicily is the ideal location for Italian Studies students to explore the roots of Italian culture. Boasting beige pebble and sandy beaches, warm turquoise water, snow-capped volcano Mount Etna, and rich agricultural land. Consequently, every major European dynasty claimed Sicily leaving a trail of historic artistic, architectural and cultural remains visible on every corner in every town on this Mediterranean island earning Sicily the nickname "Crossroads of Civilizations". Students who choose to study abroad in Italy in Taormina, Sicily enjoy the unique opportunity of immersing in the rich and varied cultural roots of Italy.

"Without Sicily, Italy cannot be fully understood. It is here one finds the key to all things" J.W. Goethe, "Italienische Reise" (Flight to Italy), 1786.


Many do not realize how much Sicily has to offer. With its sun, its beaches, its warm aqua blue water, its snow-topped volcano Mount Etna, its forests and rolling golden hills, Sicily has always been at the center of the Mediterranean Sea, and therefore, it has always been at the center of Mediterranean history.


Every major civilization that sought to have power in Europe and over the Mediterranean Sea "had" to own Sicily. And through the last almost 3,000 years of history, every major Mediterranean civilization has left its mark on Sicily! Outstanding artistic, architectural, and cultural remains are visible in virtually every town and in virtually every corner of this island nicknamed the Pearl of the Mediterranean.


Take a virtual tour of Sicily and learn more about the history, the monuments and the views of our region.



Discover the historical treasures in Taormina, Palermo, Syracuse, Monreale, Cefalù, Agrigento, Piazza Armerina, Caltagirone, Noto, Ragusa, Modica, Segesta, Selinunte, Erice, Eolian Islands. Study Italian and discover Sicily!


A quick look into the history of Sicily will help understand why. Syracuse ruled over the Mediterranean Sea and over Italy up to Tuscany, influencing first the Etruscans and then the Roman culture. It was so powerful in the Mediterranean Sea that Athens was obliged to defend its supremacy in the Greek world in many different wars. Many of the legends described in Homer's Odyssey take place in Sicily, between the Aeolian Islands and the volcano, Mount Etna. Agrigento, with its magnificent temples, was described by Pyndar as "The most beautiful town for mortals". From among many cities: Catania gave birth to Caronda, the first man in the world who understood the importance of having law in a written form to guarantee democracy; Palermo, where the Arabs left beautiful traces of their vast knowledge in science and architecture and where the Arab culture mixed with the German culture of the court of Frederick II of Swabia leaving beautiful palaces, churches and chapels with breathtaking mosaics and columns.

In Fine Arts Sicily's contribution has been enormous. During the Middle Ages, the language and the poetry of the court of Federico II was headed toward becoming the national language, before Dante and his Divine Comedy put an end to the controversy. Sicily has contributed 2 Nobel prizes in literature: Quasimodo and Pirandello. Most of the school of literary realism was Sicilian: Verga, Capuana, Rosso di San Secondo. And in the contemporary literary scene Sciascia, Bufalino, Consolo, and Camilleri are best sellers.


In music, from the old cantastorie travelling around the island singing the stories of French paladins to the 19th century when Vincenzo Bellini delighted European royal courts with his opera Norma Sicilian musicians have left their mark. In the contemporary pop music scene, Franco Battiato and Carmen Consoli, Mario Venuti and Denovo are international favorites. In paintings and sculpture, from Antonello di Messina to Renato Guttuso and in fashion, from Mariella Ferrera to Dolce Gabbana Sicily has made significant contributions. And in cuisine, pasta alle sarde, caponatina, cannoli, pasta reale, along with Marsala and Malvasia wines, Sicily's traditional food and wine stand out..

Don’t be misled by the question of dialect

Every region in Italy has its own unique dialect making all Italians virtually “bilingual”. The "Italian" taught at Babilonia - Center for Italian Language and Culture is the National language spoken all over the country in every region from the North to Sicily.

More about Sicily

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Syllabi for programs are available for faculty members to review prior to approval of academic credits for study abroad in Sicily courses.
Students may directly transfer credits into their home university or earn US university credits through Auburn University.



For more specific details on study abroad programs, please contact:

Donnamarie Kelly Pignone

Kelly Pignone

U.S. Academic Advisor

tel/fax: (+1) 603-894-5552
Cell (+1) 978-828-3228


Italian Studies Courses

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