Conflicts, Cures and Curiosities in the Eastern Mediterranean

17 - 26 Sep 2022
  • Cultural Tours

About the tour

Set sail on the MS Serenissima, a classic small cruise ship taking only 95 passengers. From Valletta to Athens, journey across the Eastern Mediterranean along the coastlines of Italy, Albania and Greece and explore medical and military history that spans thousands of years. Hear about ancient pharmacology, how religion and medicine co-existed in the ancient world, plagues and sailors from your expert onboard lecturers, Natasha McEnroe and Simon Chaplin.

Throughout the cruise enjoy private excursions that take you beyond the everyday. Cruise from dramatic Valetta Harbour through the Aeolian Islands and the Straits of Messina and along the Corinth Canal to Athens, visiting Delphi en route. Explore ancient ruins from Butrint to Taormina; wander around medieval and Renaissance towns that have charmed for centuries and relax over delicious Italian lunches.

There is a pre-cruise extension to Malta, focusing on Malta's military and medical history. Delve into the long history of this island, which has been fought over for centuries.

There will be a post-tour extension to Athens and the Peloponnese, led by Briony Hudson, that will explore the history of the area. Visits include the Acropolis, Nemea, Mycenae and Epidaurus. Explore the seaside town of Tolo - where you will spend two nights - as well as Nafplio, one of the prettiest Greek towns.


Your tour leader

Picture of JBT tour leader, Natasha McEnroe

Natasha McEnroe

Natasha McEnroe is the Keeper of Medicine at the Science Museum in South Kensington, London. Her previous post was Director of the Florence Nightingale Museum, and prior to this was Museum Manager of the Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy and Curator of the Galton Collection at University College London. From 1997 – 2007, she was Curator of Dr Johnson’s House in London’s Fleet Street, and has also worked for the National Trust and the Victoria & Albert Museum. Natasha was co-editor of The Hospital in the Oatfield – The Art of Nursing in the First World War (2014); The Tyranny of Treatment: Samuel Johnson, His Friends and Georgian Medicine (2003); and editor of Medicine: An Imperfect Science(2019) and co-editor of The Medicine Cabinet(2019). Her research interests focus on 18th and 19th-century medical humanities. Natasha is a Freeman of The Worshipful Company of Barbers.

Need more information?

  • Tel: (Toll Free) 1-8777-398-764
  • Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm
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Itinerary at a glance

  • Day 1: Valletta, Malta (Sat, 17 Sept) Fly into Valetta in Malta and embark on the MS Serenissima. Sail out of magnificent Valletta Harbour and enjoy a welcome dinner and drinks with your group as you sail into the Mediterranean.
  • Day 2: Pozzallo/Modica/Scicli (Sun ,18 Sept) Dock at Pozzallo to visit two of southern Sicily’s UNESCO-listed baroque gems in Modica; the museum dedicated to doctor and polymath Tommaso Campailla and a historic chocolate factory that still uses an Aztec recipe brought to Sicily by the Spanish in the 16th century. Enjoy a local lunch before returning to the ship via Scicli, where you will visit the Antica Farmacia Cartia.
  • Day 3: Messina/Taormina (Mon, 19 Sept) Dock in Messina, once one of Caravaggio’s Sicilian refuges, and drive to beautiful Taormina. Visit the Teatro Greco and the Park Giovanni Colonna to discover the story of the remarkable English noblewoman, Lady Florence Trevelyan. Lunch at a winery on the slopes of Mount Etna. Return to Messina. Talk: -‘Syphilis and Seafarers’ – Simon Chaplin
  • Day 4: Lipari/Stromboli (Tues, 20 Sept) Cruise to the Aeolian Islands and arrive in Lipari, the largest of the archipelago. Visit the archaeological museum and the Ecomuseo della Memoria, which covers the islands’ extraordinary geology and the therapeutic use of its thermal baths. Pm Afternoon at leisure with a sunset cruise past Stromboli Volcano, which has been in almost continuous eruption for the past 2,000 years. Talk: ‘Volcanoes and the Grand Tour’ - Natasha McEnroe.
  • Day 5: Crotone (Wed, 21 Sept) Sail through the Straits of Messina and along the southern coast of Calabria to the ancient city of Crotone. Discover the history of Graeca Magna’s oldest city, home of the Pythagorean School, which made Crotone one of the great centres of medical and scientific thought in the ancient world. Explore the traditional market in Piazza Pitagora, the Archaeological Museum and see the Castle of Charles V. Afternoon at leisure before returning to the ship. Talk: ‘Pythagoras and the medicine of Graeca Magna’ - Simon Chaplin
  • Day 6: Otranto / Lecce/ Gallipoli Italy (Thurs, 22 Sept) Cruise to Gallipoli in Puglia and disembark to explore. Visit the Antica Farmacia Provenzano, a working pharmacy dating back to 1814. Travel to the beautiful city of Lecce , known as the Florence of the South, and have lunch. Visit the historic Ospedale delle Spirito Santo* and the Piazza del Duomo. Take a scenic tour through the beautiful countryside to re-join the ship at Otranto, an important Roman and medieval port, which is also one of Puglia’s most charming towns. Spend the evening at leisure looking out across the strait to the Balkans and Greece.
  • Day 7: Sarande, Albania (Fri, 23 Sept) Sail across the Adriatic into Sarande in Albania and spend the morning at the UNESCO World Heritage listed site of Butrint, a repository of its various inhabitants; Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Venetians. Among its archaeological highlights are the baptistery with its colourful floor mosaics, superb amphitheatre and medieval fortress. From the ruins take in the splendid views of the surrounding mile-high mountains. Sail along the coasts of Albania and northern Greece to Corfu. Talks: ‘Plague in the Adriatic’ - Simon Chaplin. ‘The Durrells’ medical connections’ – Natasha McEnroe Arrive in Corfu, the resting place of Odysseus, and dock for the night, with free time to explore in the evening.
  • Day 8: Corfu (Sat, 24 Sept) Visit the British Cemetery before continuing to the old town. Visit the old fort before a walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage listed historical centre, with a stop at Bosketto, the former residence of the British High Commissioner. At leisure for lunch in Corfu or on the ship. Depart mid-afternoon. Talk: ‘Greek gods and healers’ - Simon Chaplin.
  • Day 9: Itea / Corinth Canal (Sun, 25 Sept) Disembark in Itea and drive to the sacred site of Delphi, one of Greece’s most important ancient sites. Explore the Sanctuary of Apollo, site of the sacred Delphic oracle, and walk along Delphi’s Sacred Way, visiting the Treasury of the Athenians and the 5,000-seat theatre dating from the fourth century BC. Return to the ship and later that afternoon sail through the historic Corinth Canal.
  • Day 10: Piraeus, Athens (Fri, 26 Sept) Sail into Piraeus, the port of Athens. Transfer to Athens airport or take the Athens and Peloponnese Extension.

Tour cost

Cabin prices start from $5663.00 per person (ground only excluding international flights and transfers)

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