Sicily - The Heart of The Mediterranean - http://sicily.co.uk Sicily is the heart of the Mediterranean Sea and has been the cradle of culture for the most important western civilisations over the past 3000 years. Its wonderful variety of ashes, traditions and cultures, transform Sicily into the impressive and magnificent island it is now. Greeks, Romans, Goths, Byzantines and Arabs are just a few of the civilisations whose influences are still visible as you walk across the evocative corners of the Island. Ruins and masterpieces will enchant, taking you back to a time of dining with Romans and debating with Greek philosophers in the “for”. To find out more about Sicily, visit http://www.sicily.co.uk/destinations/sicily/
At the western tip of Sicily, Erice’s church is stony on the outside, lacy on the inside. While the Romantic, uber-Gothic interior only dates from the late 1800s, the church itself is clearly much older. Exploring the church, I find a plaque listing the handful of times in the last 500 years when impending disasters merited taking the town’s top relic down from the altar and parading it through town to gain God’s favor and be spared the ravages of drought, pestilence, and war. _ This is Day 9 of my A Hundred Days in Europe series. As I lead tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences in Sicily, Naples and the Amalfi Coast, Rome, Portugal, Paris, Ireland, the heart of England, Scotland, Germany’s Black Forest, Alsace, the great cities of Switzerland, and more. I never know exactly what’s next...but it’s always fascinating and inspiring. Follow along at http://www.ricksteves.com/blog.
Atlantis, a likely mythical island nation mentioned in Plato’s dialogues “Timaeus” and “Critias,” has been an object of fascination among western philosophers and historians for nearly 2,400 years. Plato (c.424–328 B.C.) describes it as a powerful and advanced kingdom that sank, in a night and a day, into the ocean around 9,600 B.C. The ancient Greeks were divided as to whether Plato’s story was to be taken as history or mere metaphor. Since the 19th century there has been renewed interest in linking Plato’s Atlantis to historical locations, most commonly the Greek island of Santorini, which was destroyed by a volcanic eruption around 1,600 B.C. Plato’s Critias says he heard the story of Atlantis from his grandfather, who had heard it from the Athenian statesman Solon (300 years before Plato’s time), who had learned it from an Egyptian priest, who said it had happened 9,000 years before that. Whether or not Plato believed his own story, his intent in telling it seems to have been to boost his ideas of an ideal society, using stories of ancient victory and calamity to call to mind more recent events such as the Trojan War or Athens’ disastrous invasion of Sicily in 413 B.C. The historicity of Plato’s tale was controversial in ancient times—his follower Crantor is said to have believed it, while Strabo (writing a few centuries later) records Aristotle’s joke about Plato’s ability to conjure nations out of thin air and then destroy them. Atlantis Reemerges In the first centuries of the Christian era, Aristotle was taken at his word and Atlantis was little discussed. In 1627, the English philosopher and scientist Francis Bacon published a utopian novel titled “The New Atlantis,” depicting, like Plato before him, a politically and scientifically advanced society on a previously unknown oceanic island. In 1882, former U.S. Congressman Ignatious L. Donnelly published “Atlantis: The Antediluvian World,” which touched off a frenzy of works attempting to locate and learn from a historical Atlantis. Donnelly hypothesized an advanced civilization whose immigrants had populated much of ancient Europe, Africa and the Americas, and whose heroes had inspired Greek, Hindu and Scandinavian mythology. Donnelley’s theories were popularized and elaborated by turn-of-the-20th-century theosophists and are often incorporated into contemporary New Age beliefs. From time to time, archaeologists and historians locate evidence—a swampy, prehistoric city in coastal Spain; a suspicious undersea rock formation in the Bahamas—that might be a source of the Atlantis story. Of these, the site with the widest acceptance is the Greek island of Santorini (ancient Thera), a half-submerged caldera created by the massive second-millennium-B.C. volcanic eruption whose tsunami may have hastened the collapse of the Minoan civilization on Crete.
© 2000 Rick Steves' Europe | After going fishing for anchovies off Cefalù, we land in rough-and-tumble Palermo. Marveling at the eerie skeletons in a Capuchin crypt, airy mosaics of Monreale, enchanting ruins of Segesta, and fiery rim of Mount Etna, we enjoy the best of Sicily.
10 days on the wonderfull island Sicily in Italy. Unscripted and raw. Thanks to all sicilian people for the warmth hospitality, for the by far best food in the world and for the spectacular unique nature! All of Sicily is a dimension of the imagination. Grazie per tutto! Many years ago Federico II di Svevia said: “I do not envy God’s paradise because I am so satisfied to live in Sicily.” Film & Edit: Maurizio Leonardi Music: Alessia Tondo, Enza Pagliara, Ludovico Einaudi Ensemble
Video related to Polimi Open Knowledge (POK) http://www.pok.polimi.it
The Hospitaller knight from KoH (played by David Thewlis http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000667/)
Ferries to Sicily: http://ferriessicily.com/ Mount Etna is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, close to Messina and Catania. Its Arabic name was Jebel Utlamat (the Mountain of Fire). It is the largest active volcano in Europe, currently standing 3,329 metres (10,922 ft) high, though this varies with summit eruptions; the mountain is 21 m (69 ft) lower now than it was in 1981. It is the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps. Etna covers an area of 1,190 km² (460 sq mi) with a basal circumference of 140 km. This makes it by far the largest of the three active volcanoes in Italy, being about two and a half times the height of the next largest, Mount Vesuvius. Only Mount Teide in Tenerife surpasses it in the whole of the European region (though geographically Tenerife is an island of Africa). In Greek Mythology, the deadly monster Typhon was trapped under this mountain by Zeus, the god of the sky. Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity. The fertile volcanic soils support extensive agriculture, with vineyards and orchards spread across the lower slopes of the mountain and the broad Plain of Catania to the south. Due to its history of recent activity and nearby population, Mount Etna has been designated a Decade Volcano by the United Nations.
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Nearly 2800 years ago, a group of Greek settlers landed on the coast of Italy. That event marked the start the process which created Magna Graecia, named after the motherland. Join us as we walk through the streets of Cumae, Pasteum, Puteoli, and Neapolis, reconstructed using the most advanced computer graphics. Magna Graecia (Latin meaning "Great Greece", Greek: Μεγάλη Ἑλλάς, Megáli Hellás) is the name of the coastal areas of Southern Italy on the Tarentine Gulf that were extensively colonized by Greek settlers; particularly the Achaean colonies of Tarentum, Croton, and Sybaris, but also, more loosely, the cities of Cumae and Neapolis to the north. The colonists, who began arriving in the 8th century BC, brought with them their Hellenic civilization, which was to leave a lasting imprint in Italy, particularly on the culture of ancient Rome. In the 8th and 7th centuries BC, for various reasons, including demographic crisis (famine, overcrowding, etc.), the search for new commercial outlets and ports, and expulsion from their homeland, Greeks began to settle in southern Italy (Cerchiai, pp. 14--18). Also during this period, Greek colonies were established in places as widely separated as the eastern coast of the Black Sea, Eastern Libya and Massalia (Marseille). They included settlements in Sicily and the southern part of the Italian Peninsula. The Romans called the area of Sicily and the foot of Italy Magna Graecia (Latin, "Great Greece"), since it was so densely inhabited by the Greeks. The ancient geographers differed on whether the term included Sicily or merely Apulia and Calabria — Strabo being the most prominent advocate of the wider definitions. With this colonization, Greek culture was exported to Italy, in its dialects of the Ancient Greek language, its religious rites and its traditions of the independent polis. An original Hellenic civilization soon developed, later interacting with the native Italic civilisations. The most important cultural transplant was the Chalcidean/Cumaean variety of the Greek alphabet, which was adopted by the Etruscans; the Old Italic alphabet subsequently evolved into the Latin alphabet, which became the most widely used alphabet in the world. Many of the new Hellenic cities became very rich and powerful, like Neapolis (Νεάπολις, Naples, "New City"), Syracuse, Acragas, and Sybaris (Σύβαρις). Other cities in Magna Graecia included Tarentum (Τάρας), Epizephyrian Locri (Λοκροί Ἐπιζεφύριοι), Rhegium (Ῥήγιον), Croton (Κρότων), Thurii (Θούριοι), Elea (Ἐλέα), Nola (Νῶλα), Ancona (Ἀγκών), Syessa (Σύεσσα), Bari (Βάριον), and others. Following the Pyrrhic War in the 3rd century BC, Magna Graecia was absorbed into the Roman Republic.