You arrive at the airport of Athens where our representative will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. In the evening, a “welcome” cocktail party will take place at the hotel. Overnight in Athens.
Begin your day with a bus tour of the center of Athens and get acquainted with the landmarks of the city: the National University, the Academy, the National Library, the Old Olympic Stadium, the Square of Constitution with the House of Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Residence of the Greek President. After this, enjoy a walking tour of the Acropolis as you discuss ancient Greek history, culture, politics and architecture with your specialized guide. Admire the magnificent classical edifices on top of the hill: the Propylea, the Erechtheum, the Temple of Nike and, above all, the Parthenon, and talk about the Golden Age, its art and its representatives (Pericles, Pheidias etc). Walk down the Panathenaic way, which connects the Acropolis with the Agora, following the steps of both the simple people of antiquity, who went there to shop, and the great men of ancient Athens, who went there to socialize. The Agora was the center of the economic and public life of the city, but also the meeting place for statesmen, orators, artists and, of course, philosophers, who enjoyed their time with their students in the impressive stoas of the market place. Visit the wonderful Museum and stroll around the site to see the temple of Hephaestus, the remains of the Odeon of Agrippa, the Bouleuterion, the Metroon and much more. Overnight at the hotel.
This morning take time to visit the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, one of the finest in the world. Its superb collections of sculptures, ceramics, jewelry and frescoes really stand out and are not to be missed. You can learn more about mythology, ancient religion, art and representations of divinities and various social groups like priests, soldiers or philosophers. Later drive to the suburb of Kolonos, not far from the center of Athens, to see the remains of Plato’s Academy and after that to Kerameikos, the public cemetery of ancient Athens, where you can study a number of interesting funerary monuments and gravestones “in situ” and discuss the symbols on them and the burial customs of antiquity. There you can visit a small museum with artifacts from the excavations. In the evening your first lecture will take place at the hotel.
Take the coastal road to the legendary Canal of Corinth. After a short stop, continue to the archaeological site of the once glorious city of Corinth, home to one of the “Seven Sages of Ancient Greece”, Periander. Admire the imposing Acrocorinth, the Temple of Apollo, the Peirene Fountain and the Corinthian Ceramics in the Museum. Later, go southeast to Epidaurus to find the best-preserved ancient Theater in Hellas, test its astonishing acoustics and learn more about drama, its origins and the cult of the god of wine, Dionysus (Bacchus). Back to Athens for overnight.
Your expedition continues with a visit to Vravrona (Brauron), a hill sanctuary to Artemis (Diana), not far from the Aegean Sea. Observe the surviving columns of Artemis Temple and talk about the cults of the fertility goddesses with your expert guide. Then drive to Cape Sounion, the southeastern extremity of Attica, and enjoy the superb view from the Temple of Poseidon (5 th century B.C.) on top of a rocky headland. Overnight in Athens.
Travel a short distance to Eleusis (Elefsina), the site of a famous secret cult. The Eleusinian Mysteries were based on an ancient Greek myth which talked about the abduction of Persephone (the daughter of the goddess of agriculture and fertility Demeter) by Hades. At the excavation site, you can see the Grotto that was believed to be the entrance to the Underworld. Explore the “mysteries” of this archaeological site and discuss the mystic cults of antiquity and the beliefs of the ancient Greeks about life after death. Your afternoon is free in Athens and you can take the opportunity to get acquainted with other museums or sites of the city, or to explore the famous area of Plaka, the main shopping district in Athens. In the evening your second lecture will take place at the hotel.
Drive to scenic Delphi, passing the cities of Thiva (Thebes) and Livadia. This breathtaking place was believed to be the “navel” (omphalos) of the world and the setting of Apollo’s most important and famous oracle. Follow the Sacred Way up to Apollo’s Temple, where his priestess Pythia delivered his oblique prophecies. Marvel at the beauty of the landscape and consider the never-ending search of mortal people for the truth and the real meaning of life. Discuss the ideas of the last philosophers of the pagan world (Neo–Platonism and Neo-Aristotelianism) and their effect on the early “fathers of the Christian Church”. Don’t miss the exquisite Museum which is full of masterpieces, all of them “ex votos” of the ancient pilgrims, who came to take the advice of Apollo. The pride of this museum is the bronze “Charioteer”, one of the finest examples of classical sculpture of the “severe style”. Travel back to Athens for dinner and overnight at the hotel.
After breakfast you will be transferred to the port of Piraeus for embarkation on the ferry to Naxos. Arrival in Naxos. Free afternoon for exploration of the island. Dinner at local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.
Morning tour of Naxos island. Afternoon free. Dinner at local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.
Ferry to Piraeus port. Transfer to the hotel for check-in. Farewell dinner in a Greek taverna in Plaka. Overnight at the hotel.
Fly back home with a new insight into ancient Greek Philosophy.