In the early hours of Thursday 8th March, an excited group of 33 students and five staff set off for our trip to Rome. Our first stop was the Baths of Caracalla, a grand suite of baths that have been very well preserved with some marvellous mosaics. It was lovely to roam about and soak up the atmosphere of these ruins. 

Since it was International Women's Day we were also treated to an impromptu and free visit to the National Rome Museum.  There, amongst other things, we were able to see the bust of Caracalla and to make links with what we had just seen.  Friday was a full on walking tour.  This included a visit to the Pantheon, a glorious temple to all the gods, with its oculus (circle open to the stars) still intact in its original form.  The proportions of the dome are as broad as they are high and this makes for a very interesting structure.

The Piazza Navona was a splendid place to stop for an ice cream or a coffee and to take in the beauty of Bernini's Four Rivers Fountain.  After a wander over the River Tiber and past the Castle of Saint Angelo, we arrived at our lunch stop behind the Vatican Walls.  This was a marvellous way to revive before our visit to the Vatican Museum to see all its wonders including the Sistine Chapel. Unfortunately for us, the Pope was celebrating mass in the Basilica and so that visit had to be put off until the next day.  Day two ended with a delightful viewing of the iconic Trevi Fountain. 

No trip to Rome would be complete without a visit to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum and this proved a very interesting part of the tour.  Again, the girls were revived with a delicious pizza lunch, followed by a walk around the Spanish Steps in the sunshine.  We were determined to see St Peter's Basilica and, after a short queue, we did get our wish.  Everyone was bowled over by the size and beauty of the Basilica and the fact that some services were going on reminded us that this is an active place of worship. 

Our final day was very popular with the girls.  We visited the Catacombs of San Callisto where the early Christians were buried.  It was moving to see where the little children also had their graves. From there we travelled to Ostia, the harbour town of Rome.  This is like a mini Pompeii with streets, houses, temples, theatres, and bath houses all very well preserved.  Fortunately, the beautiful weather held until we were due back at the coach for our return flight to London. Great fun was had by all and we all had a very interesting and informative time. 

Mrs Elizabeth Rothwell, Head of Classics