November 1, 2017
Statues, mosaics, frescoes and lumps of lava were the focus of attention for an enthusiastic group of 44 students who visited Italy over half term. In a trip run by the Classics Department, the group spent two days in Rome, averaging 14km of walking per day as they saw most of the main sights, including the magnificent Baths of Caracalla, the ancient port of Ostia, the Pantheon, Forum and Colosseum as well as visiting St Peter’s Basilica. The students were enthralled to see the remaining artworks and to stand in the ruins of places where great historical figures such as Julius Caesar lived and died.
Using Sorrento as a base for the rest of the trip, the pupils reacquainted themselves with Caecilius, a character from the Cambridge Latin Course, still fresh in the memory for the Second Formers on the trip. Caecilius was from Pompeii, but left the city before it was destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD. It was Vesuvius and the effects of that famous eruption which the group explored, first by climbing the volcano itself to see how it continues the threaten the Bay of Naples spread beneath it.
The group went on to explore both Herculaneum and Pompeii, destroyed by Vesuvius in different ways, leading to different kinds of preservation. At both sites the pupils benefited from the careful explanations of excellent guides, while a visit to the Archaeological Museum in Naples filled in the gaps, showing the treasures preserved from both ancient towns. A visit to Oplontis and the villa of Nero’s wife finished an action-packed and fascinating trip.