Course: Study Abroad Italy, Sicily - Semester programs

Centre for Italian Studies Babilonia

Program Description

Course: Study Abroad Italy, Sicily - Semester programs

Centre for Italian Studies Babilonia

Spring, Summer and Fall Semester programs are available.

Students studying for a semester are required to take a minimum of 2 language courses. No previous language study is required.

Students with previous study are given a written and oral placement exam on the first day of classes and placed in the level that corresponds to their proficiency.

Since faculty meet weekly to evaluate students' progress there is flexibility for a student to be advanced should the student's learning have accelerated in the immersive language environment.

Students earn 3 credits for each course (45 contact hours).

Among courses offered:

  • ITA101 Elementary Italian Ito ITA302 Superior Italian 2
  • Roots of Italy: Art History of Sicily
  • History of Mediterranean Civilizations in Sicily
  • Sicilian Writers in the Italian Literature: From Pirandello to Camilleri
  • Camilleri's Commissario Montalbano: Detective Stories in Sicily
  • Cinema of the Mediterranean Through the Italian Lens
  • Archeology: Methodologies and Discoveries in Eastern Sicily
  • Many Manifestations of Italian Culture
  • Sustainable Foods Systems in Sicily
  • Mafia: a Regional, National or Global Issue?
  • Geology of Volcanoes of Mediterranean


Most people do not seem to realize how much Sicily has to offer. Boasting beige pebble and sandy beaches, warm turquoise water, snow-capped volcano Mount Etna, and rich agricultural land, Sicily sits at the center of the Mediterranean. 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.

J.W.Goethe wrote about Sicily in his book "Italienische Reise" (Italian Journey) back in 1786: "Without Sicily, Italy cannot be fully understood. It is here one finds the key to all things". 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 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 temple, was described by Pyndar as "the most beautiful town for mortals". Catania, among many, 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 Frederik II by leaving beautiful palaces, churches and chapels with breathtaking mosaics and columns.

In Fine Arts the contribution of Sicily has been enormous. Since the Middle Ages, when the language and the poetry of the court of Federico II was about to become the national language, before Dante and his magnificent Comedy put a end to the controversy. Sicily has contributed with 2 Nobel prizes in literature: Quasimodo and Pirandello. Most of the school of literary realism was Sicilian: Verga, Capuana, De Roberto. And still in the contemporary scenario Sciascia, Bufalino, Consolo, and Camilleri are best sellers. Don't be misled with the question of dialect. Every region in Italy, from North to South, has its own "incomprehensible" dialect. In fact, in Italy we can say that we all live in a sort of bilingualism: our National language, spoken all over the country, and our local dialects, spoken locally in every region from the Alps to Sicily.


Taormina is full of history and culture. Nestled on the summit of Mt. Tauro, Taormina boasts amazing views of the turquoise Ionian Sea and Homer's mythical Mount Etna. Its narrow medieval streets are peppered with buildings representing the many civilizations which have been inhabitants since its early Greek beginnings.

The Greeks, fathers of Italian and European culture, established the first colony in Italy here in the Bay of Naxos. The town is like a treasure chest of history: walking along its main street, Corso Umberto, a maze of narrow staircased streets and small beautiful squares, you find Theatre and Gymnasium of the Greek Age, Odeon and Baths of the Roman Age, traces of the Byzantine domination and beautiful buildings in which the Arab and Norman cultures melt together in a memorable sense of beauty.

The 2500+ year old Greek Theater, only steps from campus, hosts contemporary and classical concerts, opera, ballet, plays and events as well as an International Film Fest ongoing annually since the 1950's. In addition to the social and cultural events offered at school, students enjoy the beauty and enjoyment of the pristine beaches of Taormina and Giardini Naxos. The warm, clear water beaches provide relaxation after class and weekend fun.


Classes are held in the nationally registered architectural treasure, "Casa Silva", an historic villa, just 200 metres from the Greek Theatre.

Built in the early 19th century the campus grounds are a botanical garden filled with citrus trees, Mediterranean plants, centuries old palms, monkey puzzle trees as well as many other exotic plants and trees. The gardens of Babilonia provide a relaxing environment to join classmates for a coffee or lunch from the cafeteria or update Facebook with the campus WiFi connection.

Babilonia serves as a cultural center for the local community so students have the opportunity to mingle with the local residents

The Center for Italian Studies BABILONIA hosts book presentations by authors, a cine-forum, art exhibitions in its 1,000 square metres of botanical garden.

Additionally, live theatre performances and jazz and classical live concerts are offered.

Students from around the world enrol in courses at Babilonia enhancing the academic and social environment.

The study abroad experience is enriched by students making both local and international friends.

This school offers programs in:
  • English
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Open Enrollment
1 semester
Full time
Italy - Taormina, Sicily
Start date : Open Enrollment
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Open Enrollment
Italy - Taormina, Sicily
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info