Classics Trip to Rome and the Bay of Naples – March 2024

Expertly organised by Mrs Karanja, the TH visit to Rome was a huge success; please read below her account:

Day 1: After arriving at the Grand Hotel Olympic in the early evening, we enjoyed taking in the nearby sights, including St Peter’s Square, and admired the beautifully lit St. Peter’s Basilica.

Day 2: We celebrated Grace’s birthday today with renditions of “Happy Birthday to You” at several local restaurants. We had a very busy day, with a walking tour of Rome covering about 20km! Our knowledgeable guide met us at the Colosseum. We discovered much about this monumental amphitheatre before visiting the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. After a delicious pizza for lunch, we visited the Circus Maximus, where we imagined the excitement of chariot racing in Ancient Rome and ran along the ancient race-track. Our walking tour took in a range of other ancient sites, including the Theatre of Marcellus, the Temple of Portunus and the Temple of Hercules Victor.

Day 3: After breakfast, we headed by coach to Ostia Antica, the ancient harbour town where Rome’s grain supply landed from all over the Mediterranean. After walking along the ancient cobbled entrance to the town, we were able to imagine what daily life would have been like there by visiting the theatre, baths, shops and the Temple of Hercules. We then had some time to explore the local town at our leisure.

Back in Rome, we visited the beautiful Pantheon, then made our way through the Easter crowds to the Trevi Fountain, where we enjoyed an ice-cream. Finally, we visited the Ara Pacis: the Monumental Altar of Peace built by Augustus to demonstrate the peace and prosperity he had brought to the empire after years of civil war.

Day 4: It was time to depart Rome and head for Sorrento. On our way to Sorrento we stopped for lunch, then visited the ancient town of Herculaneum, preserved by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. The vibrant colours of the frescoes as we walked through the houses and public buildings brought the town to life. Here the layers of mud, which engulfed the town, preserved even organic material such as door posts and balconies. The boat houses, with the skeletal remains of the inhabitants of the town, were a chilling reminder of the horrific consequences of the eruption. We then got back on the coach and headed to Sorrento. On our way, we had our first glimpses of Vesuvius domineering the landscape.

Day 5: We had more breakfast serenades, as Mrs Jones celebrated her birthday. We spent the morning hiking up Mount Vesuvius. Sadly, we did not experience the usual views of the beautiful coastline due to the torrential rain, but we gained a clear insight in to the dangers faced by the ancient civilisations of Pompeii and Herculaneum, living so close to a volcano. At the crater we were joined by our guide who told us about the eruption of AD 79 and the most recent eruption in 1944. We also learnt that the volcano is monitored 24/7 and that there has even been a practice evacuation of the surrounding area!

After lunch at a local restaurant, we visited the ancient town of Pompeii. The casts of the Pompeiians were incredible, being able to see their facial expressions in their last moments. We paid a visit to the amphitheatre and the palaestra (the exercise ground), before walking along the streets peering in at tabernae and houses. We were amazed by the quality of the preserved buildings, which even included graffiti and frescoes!

Day 6: Our last day in Italy! We enjoyed a more relaxed pace today and had the morning free for shopping. After lunch, we had a fantastic experience at the Geletaria David, where students helped Mario make ice-cream and then we were able to sample the lemon sorbet we had made as well as our own choice of ice-cream from the many flavours on offer. It was then sadly time to wave goodbye to Italy.


We were lucky enough to enjoy sunshine in Rome, but then had to contend with some torrential rain in Sorrento and at Mount Vesuvius! Even though we got soaked to the skin, spirits remained high and we made the most of the undesirable weather. Some students were very grateful to Mrs Jones, who bought them some rather stylish waterproof ponchos!

A huge thank you to all those who participated in the trip, both the girls, who were a credit to the school, and the wonderful staff: Mrs Jones, Dr England and Mrs Vanco, who made a great team. They shared their expert knowledge of the Classical sites and demonstrated excellent navigation skills around Rome and Sorrento, allowing us to fit in a very extensive range of visits.  A fabulous trip all round!



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