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Sixth Formers home from Rome


Sixth Form cultural visit to Rome: October half term 2011


“Friends, Romans and culture vultures!”



Twenty eight sixth formers and five staff, from a wide variety of academic disciplines spent six days in Rome at half term. The trip was action packed and followed a full and varied itinerary, involving a great deal of walking and coming to grips with the public transport system. Each student was provided with a comprehensive guide booklet, outlining information about the places to be visited, maps, phrasebook and an explanation of Roman cuisine!


The former convent near the Ponte Sisto over the River Tiber in Trastevere, was small, friendly, quiet and conveniently located. It was also near a warren of small streets, which came to life in the evening, with numerous restaurants and small independent shops. Groups of girls were able to choose menus and order in Italian, experiencing a real flavour of Rome.


Ancient Rome appears around every corner in the modern city: imagining gladiators fighting to the death in the Colosseum ; Julius Caesar walking through the magnificent buildings in the Forum; Augustus watching a chariot race in the Circus Maximus, from his home on the Palatine Hill,; taking a photo of Constantine’s very large foot at the Capitoline Museums or shopping in the Roman equivalent of Bluewater at Trajan’s Markets were just the beginning. In the church of St Clemente, two thousand years of history was revealed as the church has many floors, and deep underground Roman streets and houses could be explored. The Pantheon was awe inspiring, as the oldest Roman building still in use today, as a church, with a dome, whose construction still puzzles architects today!


At Ostia, the ancient Roman port at the mouth of the Tiber, the girls were given a variety of tasks, including choosing a Roman setting for a photo of a tableau , and creating an advertisement to attract a wealthy Roman family to buy a second home in this up and coming place by the sea. Better preserved than Pompeii and less crowded, the girls were able to explore and discover endless mosaics, painted walls, latrines, bath complexes, trading offices, houses, temples, shops and a theatre.


Walking along part of the Appian Way (the M1 of its day) took us to the catacombs of St Callisto. Guided by a priest through the honeycomb of tombs and chapels underground underlined the depth of Christian heritage that is clearly evident in every part of this city.


St Peter’s was only a brisk walk away from the hotel, and the queue was beaten, by arriving early. Numerous pilgrims from around the globe, including many priests and nuns had gathered for a canonization at the Vatican, so a service was taking place and long queues built up around the square. The Vatican museums were also crowded and overwhelming, as room after room of ancient treasures, art work and masterpieces were unveiled, culminating in the Sistine Chapel.


Other attractions included: eating ice creams in the Piazza Navona, with its gigantic fountains and obelisks; sitting on the Spanish Steps; seeing the room where John Keats died; spending euros on Italian leather goods and throwing a coin in the Trevi fountain to ensure a return trip to the Eternal City!



“This has been by far the best cultural trip of my life. Not a moment of this trip has been boring, dull or uneventful”



“Thank you for an absolutely fantastic time and unforgettable trip! It’s been brilliant!”



“The mixture of beautiful Roman architecture and scenery, a sneaky late – night crepe and fights to get on to packed buses has definitely allowed me to get a feel for Rome. I’ve loved every minute”



“Thank you for the best school trip I have ever had. We’ve seen so much and I’ve had so much fun!”