Temples, Churches,
Monasteries and Landscape:

Sacred Places in Greece and Southern Italy

   Interim 2007   

Drs. Schmunk & Davis

Last revision 29 January 2007 at 3:19 pm

Temple to Poseidon at Sounion, 45 miles southeast of Athens

"One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things." Henry Miller

Project Description Daily Schedule and Itinerary Application Information
Selection of Participants International Flight Information Hotels and Roommates
Travel Precautions The Instructors and Students Contacts
Travel Guide Books US State Department Info Travel Security Issues
Mandatory Meeting 28 November (11 am, Daniel 101) Costs and Expenses updated Passport Information
General Information for Travelers Other Links Course Requirements and Grades
Important Dates Additional Excursions What to Pack
Assigned Readings and Student Presentations Weather in Athens Brief Itinerary (MS Word.doc)
Menus for group dinners End of Course Essays Local Guides

Project Description

Inhabited since time immemorial, the convoluted coastlines and mountain peninsulas of the eastern Mediterranean have been home to several major religions including ancient Paganism and Christianity, which subsequently developed along different paths to what is now described as Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. Each of these religious traditions has its own understanding of how and where god(s) may be encountered, it own customs of religious practice, its own ways of utilizing architecture to define sacred space, and its own notions of the appropriateness of decoration and visual imagery in a religious setting. The religious culture of these spiritual traditions will be the focus of this project, studied in a week of introductory class meetings on campus and eighteen days of travel in Greece and in southern Italy. Our travel itinerary will begin in Athens and wind through the Peloponnesus and the mountains of central Greece. This pilgrimage journey to sacred places will include visits to the Parthenon and other temples on the Athenian Acropolis; to Olympia, site of the ancient Panhellenic games; to the oracular site of Apollo at Delphi; to the Byzantine monasteries and hermitages on rock pinnacles in Meteora. From Athens, we fly to Naples in southern Italy to study Roman Catholic churches and monasteries in addition to superbly preserved Greek temples at Paestum and Roman temples of Pompeii. Visits to each of these sites will shed further light, through comparison and contrast, on the particular features of sacred space.


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Tentative Daily Schedule and Itinerary.

Subject to modification to enhance the educational experience.


Thursday, Jan 4 , Friday, Jan 5., Monday, Jan 8, and Tuesday, Jan 9:

Class sessions 9 am until lunchtime (in Daniel Hall, Room 101 in basement) and continuing as needed after lunch. Lectures enlivened by slides will address the historical interplay between religion, art, architecture, culture and the landscape. Students are to consult resouces on reserve in the campus library to prepare for on-site presentations during the travel portion of the project.

Wednesay, Jan 10 Final class meeting in morning. Afternoon to individually prepare for departure.  

Wednesday, January 10

Departure from campus at 3 pm on charter bus to Charlotte airport overnight flight on Lufthansa Airlines to Athens via Munich.

Our travel plans while in Greece are shown to the right. Beginning in Athens, we travel to Corinth, Olympia, Delphi and Meteora. We return to Athens on Jan 20 for departure to Naples, Italy.

Thursday, Jan 11

Arrival in Athens. Visit the temple of Poseidon at Sounion (seen at right) en route to the Esperia Hotel. Our route takes us along a winding coastal road with spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea. Group dinner in Athens at 7 pm.

Friday, Jan 12

General tour of Athens, including Olympic Stadium, Likavitos Hill via funicular, Syntagma Square, and Filopappou Hill in the morning. Tour of the Agora and Agora Museum, the Temple of Hephaistos (seen at right), including the Stoa of Attalos,and the Church of the Holy Apostles in the afternoon.

Saturday, Jan 13

Tour of the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum. Among the many monuments we'll see are the Propylaea, the Erechtheion and Porch of the Caryatids, the Temple of Athena Nike and the Parthenon. Free time in the afternoon before group dinner at 7:30. (At right, the Acropolis as seen from Filopappou Hill.)

Sunday, Jan 14

Visit to the National Archeological Museum in the morning; free afternoon. The instructors will provide a list of interesting destinations. For example, you might visit shops in ecclesiatical district where you may see icon painters in Plaka (Eyewitness Guide p. 109) using egg tempura on wood panels. Be prepared to take advantage of special opportunities. For instance, you might attend a concert (right.) It will be up to students to consult various sources, including our local guide, for ideas on how to best use free time.


Monday, Jan 15

Departure for Olympia, with stops at the Church of the Dormition in Daphni, the archeological site of ancient Corinth, and Acrocorinth (photo: the site of Acrocorinth seen through the Temple of Apollo). After our visit to Acrocorinth, we travel by bus 186 km across the Peloponnese to Olympia where we'll have a group dinner at our hotel.

We lodge at Amalia Hotel in Olympia.

Tuesday, Jan 16

Tour of the archeological site at Olympia and the Archeological Museum. Free time in the late afternoon.

Wednesday, Jan 17

Depart at 9:00 am by bus for trip northwest across the Peloponnese to the city of Patrai where we will ferry across the Gulf of Korinthos to the mainland and arrive in Distomon to tour the Monastery of Hosios Loukas (exterior below, interior photo at right). The distance from Olympia to Distoman is 245 km. From Distomon, we travel 28 km to Delphi, arriving in time for a 7:30 group dinner at the Amalia Hotel in Delphi.


Thursday, Jan 18

Tour of the archeological site at Delphi and the Archeological Museum.


Friday, Jan 19

Travel the 250 km from Delphi to Kastraki in Meteora, arriving at Hotel Orfeas in Kalambaka. Following this bus trip, you'll have some free time before our group dinner at a restaurant in Kastraki.


Saturday, Jan 20

Visits to monasteries in the Meteora region, including the Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron, the Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, and the Holy Monastery of Rousanou (photo at right). Be aware that visitors should not wear shorts. Bare legs and shoulders are not permitted while visiting these monasteries. There may be a little free time in the late afternoon after visiting the monasteries.


Sunday, Jan 21

Early breakfast at hotel so we can depart at 6:30 am for the 345 km bus trip from Kalamabaka to Athens where we depart at 2:10 pm on Air One Flight 4402 to Naples, Italy.



Sunday, Jan 21 continued

Upon arriving in Naples at 2:55 pm, we'll have a general orientation bus tour of Naples before arriving at our hotel (The Plaza). Our group dinner will be at a local restaurant.

Travel route in Southern Italy


View of the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius

Monday, Jan 22

Walking tour of Spaccanapoli (aerial view, right), including impressive Roman Catholic churches. Santa Chiara (below) has a lavishly decorated cloisters. Other churches on our itinerary ( San Lorenzo Maggiore, Gesu Nuovo, and Pio Monte Della Misericordia Church ) allow us to compare the architecture and decoration of Roman Catholic Churches to Greek Orthodox churches and monasteries we have seen in Greece. Group dinner at 7:00 pm.


Tuesday, Jan 23

Excursion to Pompeii in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. Make the most of this day. You'll have the option to return to Naples by bus or train.

Villa of the Mysteries

Temple of Jupiter

Roman Baths

Wednesday, Jan 24

Full day excursion to Paestum to see the Archaic-period Greek temples in the archeological site. We travel by way of the mountainous Amalfi Coast, with stops at Amalfi and/or Ravello. The excursion takes us past scenery like that of Positano (right.) We'll have a group dinner in Sorrento before returning to Naples after a long day.

Temple of Ceres in Paestum (Photo below by Dr. Schmunk.)

Thursday, Jan 25

Morning tour of the National Archeological Museum which houses a world class collection of ancient art. In the afternoon, we visit the monastery of San Martino which affords a spectacular view of the bay of Naples and beyond to Mount Vesuvius.







Friday, Jan 26

Full free day in Naples. The professors will recommend additional sites to visit and explore.

Farewell group dinner.


San Francesco di Paoli in the Piazza Plebiscito

Saturday, Jan 27

Boxed breakfast at hotel prior to departing at 5:30 am for bus ride to airport for our 8:15 flight to Munich.

Return to the United States.


Sunday, Jan 28 Free day to recover from trans-Atlantic flight.

Monday, Jan 29 Final class meeting, comprehensive review of the project, course evaluations, final writing assingments given to students. Students dismissed early afternoon to complete writing assignments which will be due Thursday, Feb 1st.  

Assigned Readings

Photocopies available 13 December 2006 from Ms. Blackwell in Daniel Building.

First day of class, Thursday, Jan 4 (reading to be completed in advance of class meeting)

Mircea Eliade, "Sacred Space and Making the World Sacred, " from The Sacred and the Profane.

H.D.F. Kitto, "Myth and Religion," from The Greeks.

Vincent Scully, "Landscape and Sanctuary," and "Apollo," from The Earth, the Temple, and the Gods: Greek Sacred Architecture.

Omit reading from Apollo p. 116-131

Friday, Jan 5:

Spiro Kostof, "The Greek Temple," and "Polis and Akropolis," from A History of Architecture: Settings and Rituals.

Monday, Jan 8:

Thomas Cahill, "Greco-Roman Meets Judeo-Christian," from Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter.

James Snyder, "Constantine and the Early Christian Basilica,"

Tuesday, Jan 9:

James Snyder "Ecclesia, Basilica, Civitas Dei- The Decoration of the Early Christian Church," from Medieval Art.

Thomas Matthews, "Religious Organization and Church Architecture," from The Glory of Byzantium.

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Sacred Places Application Form

There are two application forms for this project. One is unique to the Sacred Places Project (see link below) which is to be turned in to Dr. Davis or Dr. Schmunk and the other is the generic application form that all travel project students must complete and submit on Monday, Sept. 25th to the Interim Office.

Please provide introductory information about yourself for the instructors on this Sacred Places Application Form.

If the course is over-subscribed, the information you provide may be used to determine who will be accepted into the course. You are therefore encouraged to make a compelling case that indicates your level of interest and commitment to this particular project.

You may submit the application form to Dr. Davis or Dr. Schmunk by email or deliver this completed form either of their offices no later than Monday, September 26th. However, you are urged to provide this information as soon as possible to Dr. Davis's office is in the Biology Suite on the second floor of Milliken Science Hall, room 203E. Dr. Schmunk's office is 220 Daniel Building.

The deposit check of $1000 made out to Wofford College is to be given to Dean Wiseman on or before Monday, September 26th at 2 pm.

This project is listed as JAN 420.

Selection of Participants

This project is open to all interested students. There are no pre-requisites. Participants are expected to be physcially fit enough to cheerfully walk several miles on some travel days, to be prompt, courteous, cooperative, and sensitive to cultural differences. All must be able to tolerate unforeseen changes to schedules.

In case of overenrollment, participants will be selected based in part on the following criteria:

The instructors are seeking students who are willing to seriously engage in academic preparation during the on-campus class meetings prior to the travel portion, and who will maintain serious interest, energy, and enthusiasm during the travel segment, and who will engage in thoughtful reflection and discussion throughout.

These instructors urge students to select their top choice of interim project based on the academic topic and avoid trying to guess which projects will "make" and which might be "oversubscribed." Also, though it may be comforting to travel with friends, we believe that an interest in the subject matter and destinations shared by participants will provide sufficient stimulation such that whoever your travel partners may be, the experience will be superb.


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International Flight Schedule

We will travel from the Wofford Campus to Charlotte via charter bus departing at 3:00 pm Wednesday. Our Lufthansa flight will take us through Munich, Germany on our way to Athens. We fly from Naples via Munich to Charlotte where a charter bus will return us to the Wofford Campus at approximately 8 pm Saturday evening.


Date Departure Flight Origin Destination Arrival
10 Jan 2007 (Wednesday) 7:20 pm Lufthansa (LH) 429
Airbus A340-300
Charlotte (CLT) Munich 10:00 am (11 Jan)
11 Jan (Thursday) 11:10 am LH 3392
Airbus A321
Munich Athens 2:40 pm
21 Jan (Sunday) 2:10 pm Air One 4402
Canadair Regional Jet 900
Athens Naples 2:55 pm
27 Jan (Saturday) 8:15 am LH 4057
Avro RJ85 Avroliner
Naples Munich 10:10 am
27 Jan (Saturday) 1:05 pm LH 428
Airbus A340-300
Munich Charlotte 5:15 pm



All hotels are located in the historic centers of their respective cities within easy walking distance of many cultural sites and entertainment options. The links below contain additional information for each hotel including photos.

ETA = estimated time of arrival. ETD = estimated time of departure.

Esperia Hotel in Athens Jan 11-15 ETA 4 pm, ETD 9 am

22, Stadiou Str. - 105 64 Athens, Greece, Tel.: 30 210 3238001 , Fax: 30 210 3238100

Amalia Hotel in Olympia Jan 15-17 ETA 6 pm, ETD 9 am

270 65 Olympia, Greece, TEL.: 30-26240-22190, FAX: 30-26240-22444

Amalia Hotel in Delphi Jan 17-19 ETA 3 pm, ETD 9 am

33054 Delphi (Apollonos Street 1), TEL.: 30-22650-82101, FAX: 30-22650-82290

Hotel Orfeas in Kalambaka Jan 19-21 ETA 1 pm, ETD 6:30 am

58 Pindou - Kalambaka 422 00 - Greece, TEL.: 30-24320-77444 Fax: 30-24320-77445

Hotel Plaza in Naples Jan 21-27. ETA 6 pm, ETD 5:30 am

Piazza Principe Umberto I 23 - 80143 Napoli (NA), Italy, Phone: +39 081 5636168 Fax: +39 081 5636177


Carr Bair
Rice Bass
Waddell Campbell
Jones Crosby
McClure Dozier
Mills Jackson
Wilson Parks
Stroud Shelley
Corbin Holler & Clary
Cunningham Hobbs
Pratt Inabinet
Wood McCain


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Contacting the Instructors

Dr. Peter Schmunk, Professor of Art History, Chairman of Fine Arts
Office Phone 864-597-4599
Home 864-585-9853
fax to Art Department 864-597-4595

Dr. G.R. Davis, Professor of Biology
Office phone 864-597-4621
Home 864-948-9025
fax to Department of Biology 864-597-4629

Alda Kop, Universal Travel (our local travel agent who coordinates with European contractors, and who has worked closely with Professor Schmunk to arrrange nearly a dozen group travel experiences in Europe.)
Spartanburg telephone 576-6616 or toll free 1-800-849-0167

Ana Maria Wiseman, Assistant Dean of the College and Director of Programs Abroad and the Interim.
Office phone 864-597-4510

Questions concerning this Travel Interim project can be sent by e-mail to Dr. Davis.



Travel Guides

Eyewitness Travel Guides publishes superb guide books with neighborhood maps and descriptions of points of interest. The instructors have found these to be particularly good resources. The Eyewitness Guide to Greece: Athens and the Mainland is highly recommended. Published in 2004 this guide is usually available at Barnes and Noble for $25 (ISBN 1542-1554 or ISBN 0-7894-9426-4). The Eyewitness Guide to Naples and the Amalfi Coast (0-7894-2752-4) is also a superb resource.


Although much information is available on the internet, the instructors strongly recommend that travelers bring along and frequently consult travel guidebooks during the trip.

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Additional Excursions

During free time (certain afternoons and designated free days) students may wish to travel outside the city in which the group is staying. For example, during our stay in Naples you may want to visit Herculaneam (an archeological site similar to Pompeii which is south of Naples and can easily be reached by train). To do so requires a Leave Permission Form signed by a parent. At this time, students may be unsure of their free-time travel plans. As we learn more about our destinations in classmeetings and through readings prior to departure, students may learn of destinations they'd like to pursue on their own. Therefore, revised Leave Permission Forms can be submitted any time prior to departure. Be advised that travel beyond our destinations will not be allowed without a signed form.



US State Department International Travel Information

An excellent source of reliable travel information is provided by the US State Department "Background Notes." These notes concisely summarize the geography, people, population, government, economy, foreign relations, history, and political conditions for every nation. Have a look at the site for Greece.

Travel Security Issues (updated 11 Sept 2006)

Consular Information Sheets published by the State Department provide information on entry requirements, medical facilities, crime, traffic safety & road conditions, aviation, and embassy locations. Check the Information Sheets for Greece and Italy. Background Notes (country Profiles) for Greece and for Italy are posted on the State Department website and provides information about the population, ethnic groups, geography, government and political conditions, history,economy, travel and business information.

The State Department also publishes "Tips for Student Travelers" which is very sound advice. "A Safe Trip Abroad" is also packed with useful information.

Is is safe to travel in Greece? There are no State Department warnings other than the usual petty thievery alerts.

Is is safe to travel in Italy? There are no State Department warnings other than the usual petty thievery alerts.

The organizers of the travel trip are cognizant of safety and security issues and will not knowingly endanger themselves or students by traveling to dangerous regions. We will be monitoring US State Department information.

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Mandatory Meeting, Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

At this meeting in Daniel Hall Room 101 (basement level) the instructors will collect all travel forms required by the College, assign reading materials, assign topics for on-site presentations by students during the travel portion of the project, and make other annoucements.

Friday, December 1st is the deadline for submitting all paperwork required for travel.


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Course Costs and Other Expenses

The course fee is $3750 (based on twenty participants) payable in two installments, the first being the $1000 deposit expected of all travel projects and the remainder to be paid by October 23rd at which time participants are also expected to provide a photocopy of their passport. This itinerary includes 5 nights in Athens, 2 nights in Olympia, 2 nights in Delphi, 2 nights in Kastraki, and 6 nights in Naples, Italy. The course fee covers all fees and tips for guides, air, ferry, and ground transportation, lodging, museum entry fees, all breakfasts and 9 dinners, and travel insurance required by Wofford College.

Estimated additional expenses: About $300 for lunches and nine dinners not included, and incidental expenses (souvenirs, snacks, and entertainment.)

Paying the balance in advance will greatly assist our travel agents in securing reservations. Checks can be delivered to Dr. Davis or Dr. Schmunk or Mrs. Thomas in the Biology Department. Checks are to be made out to Wofford College and the memo line should include the project number Jan 420.

After the project was completed, 24 of the 25 participating students were surveyed anonymously regarding their out-of-pocket expenses during the travel portion of the project. Students estimated that the minimum amount needed to cover living expenses exclusive of souvenirs was $500 (range $260 to $1040.) Those 24 students estimated that they actually spent an average of $570 (range $195 to $1040) exclusive of souvenirs.

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Passport Information

For students who already have a passport: check the expiration date to be sure that your passport will be valid for the duration of our trip.

For students who need a passport: all necessary materials and information can be obtained from the main Spartanburg Post Office at the corner of South Church Street and Henry Street. You will need to provide a certified copy of your birth certificate, complete with embossed seal. Please allow 6 weeks for processing. Our travel agent will need all passport numbers by late October for the purchase of airline tickets. Also, our hotels in Greece must have passport numbers for room assignments.

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Important Dates

Oct 23rd (Monday) Check and Photocopy of passport

Balance due; check payable to Wofford College
Most students owe $2750,
Lesesne Travel Awardees pay balance minus award amt.

Nov 3rd (Friday) Travel agent must have passport info for all travelers for airline ticketing

Nov 28th (Tuesday) Mandatory Meeting
All interim forms due (see Interim Website)

Dec 1st (Friday) Absolute deadline for submitting all Interim forms required by the college.

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Generic Information for International Travelers

General Tips for Traveling Abroad

Bureau of Consular Affairs (US State Department Home Page for Travel Advisories.)

Tips for Student Travelers from the Bureau of Consular Affairs

Athens for Educators

Other Links

Photos of Meteora Monasteries

Taxi Tour to Meteora

Greece Taxi Tours with maps and general information

The Oracle at Delphi: An explanation of the Pythias and chemically-induced trances?

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