- Sixth Form
Bright and early on 24th October, PRE and Classics LEH students arrived at Heathrow ready to fly to Rome, Italy for four days of exploring. After our flight, we arrived in sunny Italy where we were transferred to Grand Hotel Olympic: our hotel for the week. It wasn’t long before we began our adventure with a guided walking tour of Rome. Within the first hours, we saw sights including the Pantheon and the Spanish Steps and powered on through the rain, even getting the chance to make wishes at the Trevi Fountain! Having thrown ourselves straight into the culture of Rome, we got our first taste of Italian cuisine, before heading back to our hotel for the evening.
The days only got busier and more exciting from that point onwards. After an early start to the second day, we all headed for the Vatican Museum with our tour guides. Waiting outside the walls before entering, it was amazing just taking in the entrance itself, but that was only the beginning of the morning’s discoveries. The Vatican Museums contain the world’s largest private art collection, including the Rafael rooms, the map room, Etruscan art and so much more which we had the chance to see firsthand. The artwork in the Vatican Museums is exceptionally stunning, with Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel containing some of his greatest pieces. Although no pictures are allowed in the Chapel, the experience of staring up at the ceiling and taking in the stories told through this art, such as the Creation of Adam and the Last Judgement, is unbeatable. St Peter’s Basilica was our last step before returning to the sunshine in St Peter’s Square. The Basilica is one of the world’s largest Renaissance-era churches and is a wonder to behold. It contains another work of Michelangelo: the Pieta, where Mary holds her son in her arms; a moving and emotional piece. Following an information filled morning, the classics students took a coach to Ostia Antica: a large archaeological site that was once the seaport of Rome. In groups, we went about in search of interesting aspects, finding ancient baths and the murals below them, along with a palaestra, and even our very own ‘insula’ or block of flats! Our jam-packed day came to a close with another lovely meal before our second night in Rome.
The excitement did not die down on day three, beginning our day with a visit to the Colosseum, followed by the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. The magnitude of the Colosseum (being the largest amphitheater in the world) did not fail to disappoint, and the brutal games that it once held encouraged the creation of some of our own gladiator scenes with the resources we had available on the paths outside. Nothing as gory as the real events though! After a brief tour of the Forum highlights, we were left to our own devices to climb Palatine Hill, experiencing the beauty of the gardens and snapping some photos of the amazing view capturing the Colosseum in the distance. Following a sudden change in plans, we filled our afternoon with an individual exploration of another forum with expansive courtyards and amazing views before the end of our penultimate day.
Our final day began with a trip to the Capitoline Museums, where the statue of Marcus Aurelius greeted us as we climbed the Cordonata, which is a very impressive staircase. These museums lay claim to being the world’s oldest national museums and are made of two buildings facing each other. Moving from room to room, we glimpsed parts of the Statue of Constantine II, as well as the much well-known she wolf suckling Romulus and Remus, and Capitoline Venus, expanding our art knowledge from the Vatican Museums only two days before. A huge highlight of the trip was our final historical destination: the Domus Aurea. Armed with hair nets and helmets for protection, we made our way into the vast palace, built by Emperor Nero, and is currently in the process of excavation. Through the winding passages we went, catching glimpses of the remaining art, and even taking part in a virtual reality experience that allowed us to see the palace as it once was. The jump from its past grandure to current state was fascinating to see. We rounded out our trip by passing through the cleverly named food centre Eataly, before heading for the airport after a historical, artistic, adventure-filled trip that so greatly satisfied our classicists thirst for knowledge.
By Anna (LVIB)
- LEH Classics