Students were treated to a unique opportunity to visit Rome and Pompeii to explore the history and see the sights of the Ancient Roman world. With several students’ first ever flights under their belts, we started our journey with a visit to the awe-inspiring, massive Colosseum. Students were able to have a glimpse of one manner of entertainment in Ancient Rome as this is where gladiator games were held. From there we moved to the Roman Forum, the heart of religion and politics in ancient Rome. Students had the opportunity to explore the temples, political buildings, and palaces in the Forum along with some breath-taking views of the Forum with the Colosseum in the background from the top of the Palatine Hill. After a short trip to the gigantic Italian monument to national unity, we proceeded to the Piazza Navona, one of the nicer squares in Rome, where students enjoyed some time to shop, eat lunch and enjoy the sights.
Year 10 Latin & Classics Students at an Italian restaurant
On the way back to the hotel we stopped for a visit at the Trevi Fountain which was unfortunately undergoing restoration on most of it but the students managed to find a gelato shop which made up for the disappointment. After a long day of walking and with sore feet, we all settled down to a wonderful Italian meal at a local restaurant
Day 2 was just as busy as the first with the main visit of the day being Vatican City. First up was the Vatican museum where students were treated to a huge collection of artefacts from many different time periods. The Upper Sixth Form students in particular enjoyed the experience as many of the statues they are currently studying were on display here. After some time to get souvenirs and have lunch, we joined the queue to enter St. Peter’s Basilica where many of the students were stunned by the sheer size once inside. We had the wonderful pleasure to be in St. Peter’s when a Mass had begun and many of us stopped to listen to beautiful hymns being sung. On the way out, our students took the opportunity to stop and take pictures of the Swiss Guard in their colourful uniforms. Walking back to the hotel we passed the Castel St. Angelo and went across the river on the Ponte St. Angelo, both of which were lovely sights. We stopped at the Spanish Steps on the way back for a short break where many of the students had to resist taking the roses that vendors were trying to hand out and convince you to buy.
Mr Hare leads the group around Roma.
Our final day of sight-seeing in Italy was a trip to Naples to see the ruins of Pompeii. It was an early start to the day but with a long coach ride many students took the opportunity to grab some extra sleep. While some students went to explore the walled city of Pompeii themselves, many others took the opportunity to avail themselves of their teacher’s knowledge of Roman life and the city. Exploring the amphitheatre, theatres, Forum and homes of Pompeii was a wonderful and interesting experience with many students asking questions and eagerly looking for buildings they had studied in lesson. Many of the Latin students were delighted to be able to find the house of Caecilius, a Roman who died in Pompeii which the Latin textbooks use to create a narrative and teach Latin through. While many of our students would have liked to spend more of the day in Pompeii, or several days, we moved on to our next stop, Vesuvius. Travelling up the mountain by coach provided some exquisite panoramic views of Naples and the bay below. Twisting and turning, we finally arrived at our destination near the summit of the volcano. Unfortunately the summit was closed and we couldn’t go up to the very top but we weren’t far from it. Students said it was freezing cold up there and in between taking pictures of the mountain and surrounding area, selfies, and group photos, many were huddled around each other and bundled up in their coats. With the temperature according to weather forecasts being at -5°C it was cold and windy according to Isle of Wight definitions of cold. I myself, being Canadian, found it quite pleasant with a long sleeve shirt on and very refreshing.
6th Formers and Mr Hughes near the summit of Vesuvius
The students enjoyed their experience to Rome. They learned a lot about the history of Ancient Rome and were able to see many of the sites they have learnt about or will learn about in their courses. They also enjoyed trying Italian cuisine and being able to do a bit of shopping. Overall it was an excellent experience and one not soon forgotten.
Mr G Hughes