Photo Essay: CET Siena

Photos by Autumn Swain, (University of Virginia) Student Correspondent CET Siena, Fall 2018

My program, CET Siena, had a four-day traveling seminar to Sicily. We stayed in Catania, the second largest city in Sicily, second to Palermo, the capital. Catania is located on the east coast of Sicily by the Ionian Sea and lays at the foot of Mount Etna. This is a photo of the Fontana dell’Elefante, or Elephant Fountain. This elephant is the symbol of Catania and is very important to the locals who call it “liotru.”


On our first day in Sicily, we went on a walking tour of Catania. I learned that Catania is known as the city of black of white because after the damage of the eruption of Mount Etna in 1669 and later the earthquake of 1693, the city rebuilt itself on top of the black lava rock.


On our second day in Sicily, we had a day-trip to Siracusa which is located south of Catania. During our waking tour, we visited Il Teatro Greco, or the Greek Theatre.


During our day trip in Siracusa, we visited Isola di Ortigia, of the Island of Ortigia. Here, we are crossing the bridge that connects Siracusa to Ortigia.


In Ortigia, we stopped at this spice shop that smelled absolutely divine. Sicilian food differs from general Italian food because it’s better, and it consists of a mix of other cultures that have positively influenced Sicilian food.


On the third day, we visited the fish market in Catania. Seafood is an important aspect of Sicilian food, especially since it is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. At the fish market, you will also find several other products like fruit, vegetables, cheese, or meat. Some of the other markets also sell clothes and some home goods as well.


Fish market part 2


Fish market part 3


Fish market part 4


On the last day of our traveling seminar, we went on a hiking tour of Mount Etna, which is largest active volcano in Italy and the most active volcano in Europe. The view from the top was incredible. Since Mt. Etna is so high above sea level, some of the clouds were at eye-level. As we were eating lunch at Terrazza dell’Etna, I noticed that all I could see out the window was just white due to the clouds. It was a cool experience because I felt like I was having lunch in the sky.


On the drive to return to the airport, we stopped at the Isole Ciclopi, or Cyclopean Isles. Our tour guide took us on a short walking tour of this beautiful waterfront town located south of Mount Etna and north of Catania. We had an adventurous time exploring the isles. The best part was when most of us managed to climb the rocks and enjoy the breathtaking view. Before heading back to the bus, we stopped at a local pasticceria, or pastry shop, where we treated ourselves to an evening dessert. This experience at the Cyclopean Isles was the perfect way to end our time in Sicily.


Cyclopean Isles part 2


Cyclopean Isles part 3