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Bella Sicilia – A Weekend in the Warm South

Last weekend, a group of Umbra students departed for Sicily on the first optional weekend trip of the semester. After an early morning flight to Catania, the group arrived at their hotel in Giardini di Naxos, on the eastern coast of Sicily.

Throughout the weekend, students toured several coastal cities – the lava city of Catania, archeological remains in Siracusa, the chic coastal town of Taormina, and fishing villages Acitrezza and Acicastello.

The Umbra weekend trips are planned so that students tour nearby cities during the day and return to their hotel in the afternoon for dinner and free time to explore Sicily on their own. For many students, the afternoons were spent walking the beach and watching the sun set behind Mount Etna in the distance.

“Sicily is breathtaking,” said Alex Chartrand, a student from the University of Missouri. “Many of us were just happy to be in the sun, to walk the beaches, and to explore the little towns.” It wasn’t only the natural beauty of Sicily which attracted students, but also the local cuisine. Sicily’s famous granite (the original Italian ice), ricotta-filled cannoli, and arancine (fried rice balls filled with mozzerella cheese) tempted the crowd.

The next optional weekend trip is scheduled for April 7-9 when a group from Umbra will head south again to Naples, Sorrento, Pompeii, and Capri.

In photos: the main piazza of Taormina, a fisherman on the rocks in Acitrezza, the beach of Giardini di Naxos in front of the hotel, and a guided tour of the ruins in Siracusa.

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