Luzzo harbor, Malta
Luzzo harbor, Malta

Archaeological Tours

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Malta, Sardinia & Corsica: An Odyssey of Islands

Though near-neighbors, this trio of sunlit central Mediterranean islands off the Italian coast are as chalk to cheese when it comes to their contrasting history, heritage and dramatic landscapes. All three share inter-connections and influences originating with the early peoples of the Aegean, yet today, each has developed its own colorful and distinctive culture.

Why and how these contrasts evolved is the rich thread linking this interest-filled odyssey. This tour’s investigative approach rewards us with a knowledge of the ancient civilizations that conquered these islands in turn – a story stretching from the seafaring Sherden and Phoenicians, to the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Crusader knights and Turks, and then to latter-day colonization by the Spanish, Italians, French, and British.

You will also gain an understanding of how the occupiers left their own indelible legacy upon the landmarks of the islands and their modernday cultures. Among the tour’s memorable archaeological locations visited are Malta’s prehistoric megalithic temples at Ggantija (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), examples of the unique 7,000 tower fortress nuraghes of Sardinia (from the second millennium BCE), and Corsica’s megalithic sites of Fontanaccia.

What's included?

  •  Expert scholar & tour manager
  •  Accommodation
  •  Local transport & private transfer to/from airport and group hotel
  •  Entries & tips
  •  Ferry
  •  Flights (excluding airfare from the US)
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary
  •  Four lectures from your expert scholar
  •  A name badge, luggage strap and bag tag
  •  A study guide, reading list, and other useful tour documentation compiled by your expert scholar and your Archaeological Tours team

Led by...

Professor Caroline Malone

Professor Caroline Malone

Caroline Malone is Professor of Prehistory at the Queen’s University Belfast, where she has taught for 12 years. Educated at New Hall Cambridge, she completed her degree in Archaeology and Anthropology.

Full Price
$8,395

Today's Price
$8,145

Saving
$250

Deposit: $1,250 Single supplement: $1,200

Tour highlights:

  • Explore the contrasting archaeology, scenery and eclectic origins of the cultural and political histories of three very different islands
  • Discover the megalithic temples of Malta, the nuraghes of Sardinia, and the open-air sanctuaries and cult sites of Corsica
  • Travel through spectacular scenery beneath spring skies, and enjoy delicious local cuisine and wine in the heart of the Mediterranean
  • Visit the excellent Sartene Archaeological Museum, in the heart of Corsica’s most megalithic monument-rich region
  • Experience the true delights that Malta has to offer, from the crystal-clear waters to the welcoming charm of the local people

Tour details

Dates September 11 2020 - September 26 2020
Duration 16 days
Cost
Full Price
$8,395
Today's Price
$8,145
Saving
$250
Deposit: $1,250 Single supplement: $1,200 Balance due by June 19 2020
Activity Level
Tour code B20MSC

Call for availability

September 11 2020: Itinerary

We arrive in Valletta, the beautiful capital of Malta, and transfer to our hotel. The remainder of our day is free and a group dinner will follow later on in the evening, where we can get to know each other.

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: Hotel Phoenicia, Valletta

Founded in 1565 by the Knights of St. John, Valletta began as a refuge for soldiers returning from the Crusades. While naming Valletta a World Heritage Site, UNESCO praised the city as “one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world”. Our first day of discovery begins at the National Museum of Archaeology, where we find an extensive collection of prehistoric material from the island. A short walking tour in the old city includes a visit to St. John’s Cathedral, a baroque gem that includes Caravaggio’s “Th e Beheading of St. John the Baptist” among its notable works. After lunch, we visit the former island capital of Mdina, a fortified “silent city”.

All meals included

Hotel: Hotel Phoenicia, Valletta

This morning, we journey to the south-west coast and visit both Hagar Qim and Mnajdra, two megalithic temple complexes. These evocative, heritage-listed complexes date from around 3600 CE and occupy a marvelous site on the sea cliff s, overlooking the islet of Fifla. After lunch, we continue to the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, a vast prehistoric rock-cut catacomb for multiple burials, and then we move on to the nearby temple complex of Tarxien.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Hotel Phoenicia, Valletta

This morning we travel to Tas-Silg, a multi-period sanctuary site that covers all eras from Neolithic to the 4th century CE. The scatter of megaliths over the hill suggests that there was a large complex with at least three temples and possibly a village surrounding it. In the deepest layer of deposits, archaeologists found various artifacts including pottery, lithics, and a standing fat lady. Next, we travel on to the Ghar Dalam cave, which consists of a water-worn tunnel where large quantities of Pleistocene faunal remains were found. The cave contains the bone remains of animals that were stranded and subsequently became extinct in Malta at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum. This afternoon, we return to Valletta for time at leisure.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Hotel Phoenicia, Valletta

We travel to the northern tip of mainland Malta and take a ferry to the island of Gozo, where we visit the UNESCO-listed temples of Ggantija. These date back to 3600 – 3200 CE and are among the world’s oldest free-standing monuments, preceding Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. After, we pay a visit to Gozo’s Archaeological Museum and to the medieval walled citadel of the island capital of Victoria (also known locally as Rabat) before returning to Valletta.

All meals included

Hotel: Hotel Phoenicia, Valletta

Today we fly from Malta to Cagliari, the capital city of Sardinia, and transfer to our hotel where we later dine together as a group.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: T Hotel, Cagliari

Cagliari is the perfect place from which to start our tour of Sardinia. This Italian island is a fusion of picturesque promenades along the seafront marina district and rich cultural and architectural heritage, which can be observed in the medieval Castello. Evidence of its past is not hard to find on our first morning as we wander through the old town, visiting interesting landmarks that include the graceful but heavily restructured 13th century cathedral and impressive Roman amphitheater. After lunch, we enjoy a little leisure time.

Meals include: Breakfast

Hotel: T Hotel, Cagliari

Today’s program has a distinctively Phoenicio-Punic theme that takes us to two of southern Sardinia’s major archaeological sites. First, we travel to the ruins of ancient Nora. Th e Phoenicians (who fi rst arrived in the 8th century), the Carthaginian Punics (source of a high level of early civilization to Sardinia), and the Romans all occupied this once commercial crossroad. Monte Sirai is our second stop of the day. Here, we encounter the remnants of a Phoenicio-Punic and Roman settlement. Our itinerary also takes us to a Phoenician metal-mining town and to several Nuragic towers.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: T Hotel, Cagliari

Our day begins at the UNESCO-listed site of Su Nuraxi di Barumini. Dating from the middle to the late Bronze Age, this is Sardinia’s largest Nuragic settlement. Ringed by the remains of a village of mostly circular huts, the site is dominated by a central structure of basalt – a remarkable example of prehistoric architecture. Our final stop is Tharros, which overlooks the Gulf of Oristano. Th is site is home to an aqueduct, baths, and evidence of Nuragic, Phoenicio- Punic, and Roman occupation over two millennia.

All meals included

Hotel: Mariano IV Palace Hotel, Oristano

This morning, we head for Alghero. We follow a route that allows us to visit three key sites on our way: Losa, a well-preserved middle Bronze Age Nuragic complex with great trilobed Nuraghe; Santa Cristina, a complex that has been here for over 3,000 years; and Sant’Andrea Priu, an older pre-Nuragic necropolis dated to between 3500 and 2900 CE. Here, we see one of the Mediterranean’s largest underground tombs with 18 rock-cut chambers. Next, it’s on to Alghero, where the Catalan heritage left behind by the Aragonese, one-time colonizers of the island, is preserved.

All meals included

Hotel: Hotel Punta Negra, Alghero

On our way to Sassari this morning, we pause at Monte d’Accoddi, discovered only in the last century. With its megalithic pyramid altar on a base of over 30 feet, this is one of Sardinia’s most enigmatic Neolithic sites. After lunch, we travel to the town of Arzachena.

All meals included

Hotel: Club Hotel Baja, Arzachena

Before leaving Sardinia, we have a final island rendezvous with La Prisgiona’s Nuragic ruins, which are among the most extensive in this corner of the island. The enormous collective graves (the “giants’ tombs”) of Li Loghi and Coddu Vecchiu are of special interest as they dwarf the single tombs found in the 4th millennium cemetery CE of Li Muri. After our last Italian lunch, we take a ferry to Bonifacio in Corsica, whose medieval citadel is perched on white limestone cliffs that rise from the sea. We stay here overnight and have time to explore this beguiling fortress town and its narrow streets.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Hotel Santateresa, Bonifacio

This morning, we enjoy a stroll around Bonifacio amid ancient houses, towers, and elegant churches, all of which survive from the Pisan and Genoese periods. Built in 830 CE by the eponymous Tuscan margrave Boniface II as a defense against Saracen attacks, these cliff-top fortifications are reminders of an unpredictable and an eventful past. After lunch, we travel to Propriano.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Hotel Bartaccia, Propriano

This morning we travel to the remote Cauria plateau, whose megalithic sites of Stantari, Renaghju and Fontanaccia are the settings of some of Corsica’s best-preserved menhir standing-stones and dolmens. We then head to Domaine Fiumicoli for an afternoon of wine tasting.

All meals included

Hotel: Hotel Bartaccia, Propriano

Our last full day takes us into Corsica’s Alta Rocca region. We enjoy a visit to Sainte Lucie de Tallano, a peaceful and quintessentially Corsican mountain village perched above the Rizzanese Valley, known for its red-roofed stone houses and its olive oil. Next, we travel to the Bronze Age fortress of Cucuruzzu and its neighbor, Capula. Next, we travel to the fertile Rizzanese Valley, where we visit the ancient hillside town of Sartene.

All meals included

Hotel: Hotel Bartaccia, Propriano

An early start awaits us today as we fly from Ajaccio to Nice as a group. From here, we connect to our individual flights home.

Meals include: Breakfast

September 11 2020: Additional Info

September 11 2020: Accommodation

This 1920s-style hotel welcomes you with live piano music in the lobby. Set in seven acres of gardens, it is next to the Triton Fountain in Valletta's City Gate Square.

Hotel Phoenicia Malta is set just outside the ancient city walls, next to Valletta Bus Station. The hotel is a 10-minute walk from both the ferry terminal to Sliema and Barakka Lift, which links to Valletta Waterfront ferry terminal and promenade.

Rooms are spacious and elegant with tiled floors and modern furniture. All air-conditioned, they also feature a minibar and tea and coffee-making facilities. They are all equipped with wired internet access, while Wi-Fi is free in public areas.

A breakfast buffet with a choice of fresh fruit juice and cappuccino is served each morning. The restaurant serves a combination of Maltese and Mediterranean cuisine.

T Hotel is an ultra-modern hotel set in central Cagliari, opposite the Lyric Theater. It offers contemporary rooms, a stylish bar and the T SPA hydrotherapy wellness area. Free WiFi is throughout.

Rooms are bright and spacious, with wood floors and modern bathrooms. All air-conditioned. They also feature a radio, satellite TV and minibar.

A full English breakfast is served each morning and the bistro is open for snacks and hot dishes at lunch. T Restaurant serves Sardinian and Italian dishes at dinner, while the bar hosts live piano evenings.

T Hotel features a modern gym and Acqua Journey spa with a hydrotherapy pool, steam baths and chromotherapy showers. You can unwind in the relaxation area with a selection of herbal teas.

Mariano IV Palace Hotel is in Oristano center, a 10-minute walk from Oristano railway and bus station. It offers free WiFi, a bar and a restaurant serving Sardinian specialties.

Rooms at Mariano Hotel are air conditioned and feature TV, minibar, and work desk.

The hotel is located in Piazza Mariano, where free parking is available. Beaches are reachable by car in around 10 minutes.

The 4-star Hotel Punta Negra offers amazing views of the Mediterranean Sea from its 2 outdoor pools set on a cliff. Located in Fertilia, it has its own private beach.

The air-conditioned rooms at Punta Negra come with light colours and characteristic artwork. Each one has a TV with satellite and cable channels and views of either the pinewood or the sea and Alghero.

Breakfast is served every morning buffet style and include hot and cold food. The hotel’s restaurant specialises in Sardinian cuisine. During summer, meals can be served on the sea-view terrace.

Punta Negra Hotel is a 5-minute walk from a bus stop, providing links with Alghero in 10 minutes. Alghero Fertilia Airport is a 10-minute drive away. 

This property is 1 minute walk from the beach. Just a few steps from the main square in Baja Sardinia, Club Hotel offers a private beach and panoramic views across the Mediterranean Sea. Each room has a furnished balcony.

Club Hotel Baja Sardinia is set right on the public beach. The private beach with sun loungers and parasols is less than 5 minutes' walk away. Free bike rental is provided and is a great way to explore this part of Sardinia.

Rooms are spacious and air conditioned, with a TV, minibar and private bathroom with hairdryer. Some overlook the bay and Maddalena Archipelago.

The hotel's main restaurant, Bouganville, is open all day from breakfast until dinner. You can enjoy a varied American buffet breakfast here, as well as Mediterranean and Italian cuisine and over 400 wines at dinner.

Miramare is the hotel's à la carte restaurant with a sea-view terrace. Casablanca is its third restaurant set on the ground floor and also offers sea views. 

Located on the cliffs of Bonifacio and featuring a sea view, Santateresa is 4.3 miles from Sperone beach. It offers 24-hour reception, free WiFi and air-conditioned rooms in the south of Corsica. Free private parking is available on site.

The soundproofed guest rooms all have a flat-screen TV. Private bathrooms are equipped with modern fixtures and a hairdryer. Some rooms feature a sea view.

A buffet breakfast is served daily in the stylish breakfast room. It includes local and organic products as well as eggs cooked on request. An express breakfast option is also available upon request. The hotel’s bar offers a covered terrace with panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea.

The hotel is a member of the Rispettu group, which takes action to reduce its impact on the environment.

Facing Valinco Gulf, Hotel Bartaccia is located in a 3-hectare flowered park in Propriano. It features a seasonal spa-bar, restaurant and 2 swimming pools, one of which is heated.

The modern guest rooms offer a private terrace or balcony with views of the garden or sea. Each room has a flat-screen TV with cable channels, mini-fridge and safety deposit box. Each room has a private bathroom that is fitted with a walk-in shower.

Shops and activities can be found in Propriano and Hotel Bartaccia's staff can provide guests with advice on where to go.

The beach of fine sand and the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea are situated just 200 yards from the hotel. 

September 11 2020: Enquiries

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May 28 2020

Professor Caroline Malone

Led by Professor Caroline Malone

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