Classical civilisation trip to Rome and the Bay of Naples

Over the October half-term (21st-24th of October) the History and Classics department took twenty students from Years 13 and 11 to explore the Roman sites at Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well as the remains left in the city of Rome itself.  Accompanying the students were Mr Firth, Mr Seaman and Miss Deane. Students had the opportunity to see many of the locations and ruins which form a key part of their A level and GCSE courses respectively.

After travelling to Rome on the 21st, the second day of the trip saw the students walking all over Rome to see many of its most important sites. The first stop on the agenda was the Colosseum. Students were impressed by the sheer size of the building, less so by Mr Firth’s attempted recreation of scenes from the film Gladiator. We then explored the ruins of the old Roman forum. Of particular interest was the site of the oldest known temple in Rome dedicated to the god Vulcan. The Year 13 students were able to see the site of the Roman senate-house, as well as the spot where Mark Antony delivered his famous eulogy to Caesar. Finally, we climbed to the top of the Palatine hill which contained the vast ruins of the imperial palace and offered amazing views across the whole of the city.

After a quick spot of lunch (and a lot of ice cream!) we then visited the Pantheon. This amazing temple has been converted into a Catholic church, and it was amazing to see both the old Roman designs married to newer Catholic imagery and artwork. Finally, despite the 27 degrees heat we walked across the centre of the city to view the area where the Circus Maximus had stood. Even though there were no remains of any buildings, it was still an incredible site. The year 11 students were particularly excited by this area, since the building is an important source for their GCSE.

Day three saw us head down by coach to the bay of Naples to visit the preserved sites of Herculaneum and Pompeii. Meeting up with our guide, we were first shown around the partly excavated site of Herculaneum. The town had stood at the foot of Mount Vesuvius and had been completely destroyed by the blast of heat and mud following the eruption. Students were shocked by the skeletons which had been found, many of which were clearly in the middle of trying to escape by boat. We then drove over to the site of Pompeii. The sheer scale of the place was amazing, as was the extent to which it had been preserved. Of particular note was the amphitheatre which whilst smaller than the Colosseum was nonetheless very impressive. We then walked across the city to its central forum, from which Mount Vesuvius could be seen ominously looming over the city.

On the final day, the students were given a chance to explore the picturesque towns of Sorrento and Stabia. The weather was incredibly pleasant and there was plenty of time for sightseeing, souvenir buying and sampling the local cuisine before flying home!