Optional trip for the semester:
Syros is the closest neighboring island to Paros and is quite different in many aspects. The main town, once a major ship building center, and home to many “Captains of the sea,” is throughout the year bustling with activity. Ermoupoli, as it’s called, is situated on an amphitheatrical hillside, rising steeply upwards from the seafront. Visible from Paros on clear nights, the town sparkles diamond-like and seems a brilliant beacon illuminating the night sky. The Vaporia, or sea captain’s area, with its beautiful mansions on town’s eastern seafront is atypical of Cycladic architectural, but impressive in its neoclassical opulence. The town center is anchored by a block long marble-built town hall, and faces a broad, stone-laid plaza. Nearby streets form the setting for an open-air wet market, with the daily catch of fresh fish, the island’s spicy sausages and colorful counters of organic vegetables. Long favored for its cultural, religious, and artistic history, with its many churches, museums and galleries, the island is home to the Apollo Municipal Theatre. Built in 1864, by an Italian architect, and designed as a replica of La Scala di Milan, its walls are of white marble, and its interior plush with beautiful wall paintings and wooded tiers. The town and the island is a treasure for any visitor, open and vibrant all the year.