Day 13 and 14 – From the old to the Ancient

Day 13

Today, we woke up at 6:00 for a 6:30 breakfast – an early morning. We were not prepared physically and mentally for the flight ahead, and the next leg of our journey, with such an early start to the day.

We departed from the hotel at 7:00 on the coach and successfully made our way through customs. However, some of us did lose our produce that we had bought yesterday at Oro d’Etna, because it had been left in our hand luggage!

We had a successful couple of flights, except some of us were unsuccessful in finding the McDonald’s in Rome airport. This really put a damper on our experience. Our flight to Rome from Catania airport departed 10:20, and our flight to Athens from Rome had 2:50 departure.

We arrived in Athens at around 6:30 Athens time. On the coach, for the first time on this tour we were allocated rooms by Mr Chambers. Some of us were happy with our room allocation, while others did not seem as content with the lack of control that they had. We then checked in to the hotel and had free time until dinner. Most of us rested while others played cards.

We had an 8:15 dinner, which was our first Greek dinner of the tour. There was much pestering of the Greek boys to explain the different foods on show on the buffet. Everyone found the food welcoming and delicious.

The last thing that we did for the day was a history lesson from Mr Chambers, giving us context about the history of Athens, and how it rose and fell throughout the years. We also discussed the many leaders who led their countries to victory and defeat. This was a very insightful lesson.

Day 14

Today, we had a relatively relaxed morning, breakfasting at 7 30, however, we had a very action packed and tiring day seeing the sights of Athens,

Straight after breakfast, we rushed out of the hotel to catch the metro from Larissa station to Akropoli station. From there we toured the Acropolis Museum, which houses both some original artefacts from the Acropolis, as well as some reconstructions, which really helped us put what we were going to see later into context, as well as aiding in our understanding of the importance of preserving our archaeological history.

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Having finished up at the museum, we undertook the short, yet tiring walk up to the Acropolis. The very first structure we saw upon
reaching the top was the Propylaea, the entrance gate to the Acropolis. Despite its age and its missing elements, it was still an imposing, yet beautiful building. As we walked through the gates, the most eye-catching thing we saw was, of course, the Parthenon. We had been able to clearly see the Parthenon from the rooftop terrace of our hotel, however, it was impossible to realise the true size of the amazing temple until we were standing right in front of it. The sight was awe-inspiring. We walked around the temple, taking in not only the building, but the views of the city of Athens, and the glinting ocean. We finally made our way around to the Erechtheion, a structure which, like the Parthenon, filled our minds with awe and wonderment.

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After climbing down from the Acropolis, we were allowed to go in groups to get lunch, which we all enjoyed immensely. Having refuelled a bit, we walked to the Agora, which was the central meeting place for all Athenian citizens, and the democratic heart of the city. There, we had a brief look around before a quick visit to the museum. Then we walked up to the Temple of Hephaestus to take some pictures.

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Leaving behind ancient Athens, we caught the metro to
a bakery, where Chris Ianuzzi’s grandparents very generously bought us all gelato, as well as some beautiful, sweet Greek treats to take with us. It has to be said that it was surprising that Mr Chambers actually shared them with us, given how delicious they were!

After catching the metro back to the hotel, we were
given the rest of the afternoon free. During this time, some of us went to the rooftop terrace, to either swim in the pool, or just relax, while others just chilled in their rooms, all very grateful for the time to recharge.

The day ended with a buffet dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, and afterwards, more time to relax around the hotel.

By Bradley Parker and Sam Perivolaris

Day 11 and 12 – The Four Elements

Day 11

After having breakfast and leaving our hotel, we caught our coach to the archeological site of Siracusa and met our tour guide Valeria. Firstly, we saw the saw the Ancient Greek theatre which, although reconstructed for a modern production, had evident history. Our guide explained how the Ancient Greeks used drama to teach the masses: on a single day, three tragic plays and one comedy would been played to teach the audience morals such as ‘knowing oneself’ and having ‘nothing to excess’.  We then walked over to a small waterfall which is fed by a two-thousand, five-hundred year old aqueduct, built by the Greeks, which continues to deliver fresh water from the mountains.

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After refreshing ourselves, we walked into the ironically named Paradise Quarry, where slaves and prisoners of war had been made to cut stone for the city in terrible conditions. Many of those in the quarry became blind from the darkness and dust, our died from sickness and exhaustion. Luckily, we didn’t experience that because the quarry’s roof had collapsed centuries before and now all that remained was a large man-made crater. However, we did find a small cave, a remnant of the quarry, where a special tunnel was supposedly built so that a particular paranoid tyrant could listen to those in the quarry’s conversations  and detect any sign of revolt. We also discovered that the acoustics in the cave were good and we sang the school song. Afterwards, we visited the Roman amphitheatre and had a nose around. Then we returned to the coach and drove to the Piazza Duomo in the city centre.

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When we arrived in the truly amazing Piazza Duomo, where saw the beautiful Cathedral di Siracusa towering over the whole piazza. Our guide took us to the church of Santa Lucia, where we saw a masterpiece of Carravaccio, showing the burial of Santa Lucia. We then walked down from the piazza to the Bay of Siracusa and took in the amazing sight where a great naval battle was fought between the Athenians and Siracusans. We then returned to the Piazza Duomo, where our guide showed us the inside of the Cathedral di Siracusa. When we entered inside this baroque-period cathedral, we discovered there was still a trace of the Ancient Greek 5th Century B.C. Temple of Athena. We then returned to our bus, after having some time to explore the cathedral, and drove to Taormina.IMG_2570

We arrived in the town of Taormina in the early afternoon, checked into our new hotel and grabbed some lunch by the beach. Then we boarded our coach and drove to the older part of the town and met our new tour guide, Catarina. Firstly, we entered through the old gate called the ‘Porta Messena’ and wandered up the main pedestrian thoroughfare, which had many shops. Then, we visited the Palazza Corvaia, which had been used as a palace by the Greeks and Romans, a castle by the Normans and Muslims, as a parliament house and then a museum. Afterwards, we visited the local church and a small Greek theatre called the Odeon, where the wealthy could exclusively watch plays. Then, we climbed the hill to the Teatra Greco, a converted Greek theatre that served for plays and gladiatorial shows for the Romans. Catarina explained how the Greeks used the natural background as a setting, displayed the four elements of nature in perfect harmony: Mt. Etna being fire, the sea being water, and the ever-present air and earth. After having some free time, we returned to our hotel and had dinner. Many of us went to local shops to watch the Portugal Wales game.

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Day 12

After having breakfast at our hotel, we jumped into our coach and headed to the geographical site of Mt. Etna. On the way to Mt. Etna our guide gave us information about the volcano; two things she told us were, Mt. Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe (at a height of 3,320m) and that Mt. Etna in Greek means, Mountain of Fire.

Once we reached as high as we could up Mt. Etna in our coach, we took a cablecar closer to the top of the mountain. When exiting from the cablecar at the top we felt the cold for the first time since being in Sydney. We were then spoken to by our guide about the features of the Mt. Etna. From this point on Mt. Etna, we had a spectacular view, which looked over all the rich farmlands of Eastern Sicily and the beautiful water on the coast of Sicily.

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Later on we caught the cablecar back down. Then our guide showed us two inactive craters, where some of us had a rest whilst the others were exploring the craters and created the symbol NC16, which stands for ‘Newington College 2016’.

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We then returned to our coach, where we drove down Mt. Etna and stopped at a place which sold local produce, such as oil and honey, which comes from the rich, fertile soil that the volcanic ash brings to the farmlands. We tasted the delicious produce and bought some of it. Then we returned to the coach and enjoyed the scenery as we drove to our hotel.

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After returning to our hotel in Taormina in the early afternoon, we were given the rest if the day at leisure. Many of us went for a swim at the picturesque beach, enjoyed a late lunch, or explored the town. After having dinner at our hotel, we all watched the France Germany game, either from our hotel room or in the town.

By Christopher Iannuzzi and Angus Waldon

From Mainland to Island (Days 9 & 10)

Day 9

After Docking in Palermo we were all tired after a restless night sleep on the overnight ferry. Fortunately we were lucky enough to be met by our guide Antonio and our bus driver Giuseppe who would stay with us throughout the whole time in Sicily.

During the short bus trip to our first destination, Monreale. Antonio talked to us all about the Sicilian capital city of Palermo. The name deriving from the Greek Panormus mean ‘all port’. The city was largely influenced by the Greeks and is known for its cathedrals and obviously it’s port. Whilst the city was largely ruled by the Greeks when it came into the power of the Romans the city lost some of its significance which would again be gained by the Arabs in the Arabic period. When it was the most important business city in the Mediterranean. The city continuously changed hands from Normans to Spanish before finally coming under Italian rule in 1860. 

Having left the main city of Palermo we came across a smaller city by the name of Monreale. We had a quick breakfast stop as on the ship breakfast was small and many of us over slept. We had breakfast in the town square and really started to get a feel for the Sicilian culture. 

After breakfast our brilliant guide Antonio took us into the famous Cathedral of Monreale. Antonio unlike some of the other guides had a rather theatrical sense trying to take us back into the past and essentially time travel. He would make us enter from where citizens of the time entered and see exactly what they would have seen. As well as having this talent he was also very good at engaging us rather than just spitting out information. He was constantly asking us ” Why? Things happened?” He also used his imagination to make up what was not known and challenged us to come up with our own stories. It was very informative and a highlight of that day. 

The cathedral itself was built in the Norman period started in 1174 by King William II. 1182 it was  dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

 

A key feature of the Cathedral as can be seen from the photo above is the huge mosaic of Jesus Christ where his hand is 1.8 metres tall. Giving a picture of just how big this image truly is. As well as this within the church to left you can see the throne of the King and to the right the seat of the Bishop. The King is slightly higher and is also below Christ’s right hand. As well as this above both of the chairs there are specific mosaics symbolising different moments.

After leaving Monreale we then left for Erice we still had our guide Antonio and our speakers Tyrell and Ben. Antonio, Tyrell and Ben were all very informative about both the history and culture of this little town located on Sicily’s Western tip. Erice was a small town founded by the Phoenecians however over time it became more and more Greek. Before being destroyed in the First Punic wars by the Carthaginians. In Erice we saw the remains of the initial walls as well as swing the Norman Venus Castle built on the initial the initial temple of Venus which is now the place of a Church. As well as this we learnt about the culture of the city which seemed very strange to us as the women tended to stay indoors and even shopping was delivered to them and sent up in a basket.

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We then had a very tasty Italian lunch before leaving to our next destination being Selinunte. 

Selinunte was an Ancient Greek city on the South West coast of Sicily thus it had been a long drive we all slept and felt ready to go. Selinunte is a sight containing five temples the most important being the temple of Hera.

This temple was built in Doric style with slightly convex columns and following the cleverly thought up ratio of 2:3 which is meant to be very pleasing to the eye. In this temple many important artefacts were found. 

In the distance we could see the temple of Hercules upstanding. To our right the temple of Athena which according to ours guide was the biggest temple in Sicily, larger than a football field however in Agrigento they said that the temple there was larger.  However unfortunately this temple was in ruins however it was still easy to get the picture. 

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After leaving Selinunte we arrived in Agrigento where a cold pool and a shower were awaiting us.

Day 10

After a short sleep and another early morning everyone forced themselves to wake up for breakfast. After another predictable breakfast everyone boarded the coach, driven by the man, the legend, Giuseppe, who took us to the valley of the temples, Agrigento. 

Upon arrival everyone had recharged and was energised after a nap on the coach. We picked up our guide Sara, who led us to the valley of temples. During this quick trip Sara informed us on the history behind this great site. She told us allot about Roman daily life and we revisited some familiar concepts about temples that we now new from past experiences and then applied it to these specific temples. Concepts such as the golden ratio, temple structure and history behind their purpose. Another interesting item we saw were all the housing foundations, this gave us great insight into what it would have been like living in smaller less dense city populous compared to other places like Pompeii. We were able to draw similarities and differences between the different developmental structures and their foundations. 

The views from these villas and temples were spectacular as Agrigento is constructed on a plateau with a view of the sea and two rivers (Hypsas and the Akragas.) Sara told us that the site was founded approximately 580 BC. Here it grew rapidly and became one of the richest and most powerful Greek colonies fulfilling the concept of Magna Graeci (greater Greece) a concept we grew very familiar with. Although it would fall under control of many other European powers. Most notably when it was sieged in the first Punic war by the Romans 262-261 BC. The majority of the populous became slaves. When the second Punic war was fought Agrigento was badly damaged however we learnt that under Roman rule they would become prosperous and in 44 BC (death of Julius Caesar) they achieved citizenship. After the Romans fell they would pass through the hands of many different rulers. It Wasnt until 1927 when thé Italian government, under Mussolini, reintroduced its Italian name after it had changed under its various rulers such as the Arabic rule.

After we dropped of Sara and drove for an hour to one of the most impressive sites of  the tour we finally arrived at the villa Romano del Casale. This was a very large villa filled from wall to wall with Neo classical mosaics the most famous including Polyphemus and the cyclops, the bikini girls and the great hunt. Having been owned by probably a member of the senatorial class  in around the 4 century AD it was one of the largest villas we’d seen. Unfortunately a land slide in 12 century AD forced it into abandonment. However later in 1929- 1939 various excavation crews re discovered the site. Where we learnt how the villa had many residential rooms and administrative rooms. The villa also had well preserved ancillaries, private rooms, triclinium, thermal baths and a huge basilica. The whole complex is unusually laid out mainly due to past constructions yet has survived all this time relatively undamaged.

After an hour admiring this amazing villa we all left exhausted for Siracusa and arrived an hour and half later where we put our bags down in the rooms and quickly had another predictable dinner. Afterwards we all walked through Siracusa and enjoyed a life defying speech about the importance of the site in the language of the gods by Mr Burrow. We walked around for a little longer and tucked in for bed excited for more knowledge gains about Siracusa tomorrow.

By Nelson Crossley and Anton Fichtenmaier

Mount Vesuvius: Not Just A Mountain (Days 7 & 8)

From the Land of the Lemons to the Idyllic Island

Days 5 – 6: Amalfi, Paestum and Capri

Jonathan Lee and Harry Rowland

Amalfi: Lemons Here, There and Everywhere (Thursday 30 June)

You know those moments when your jaw just drops to the floor? Now multiply that by thirty-three. Imagine that!

Having had breakfast at our favourite Hotel Spicy, we set off for the famous town of Amalfi, drifting along the scenic Amalfi Coast.

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We seized the opportunity to grab shots of the enchanting coastline.

 

Upon our arrival, we all set off on our own little quests. We weaved our way through the road strewn with stores, each praising their lemon soap, lemon perfume, limoncello (lemon liqueur) until we found ourselves standing before Saint Andrew’s Church.

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How very grand…

 

We also paid a visit to the accompanying museum, in which there were numerous crypts.

Just as we were about to meet up again, the captivating scenery of the coastline beckoned us to take some selfies and panoramas.

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A panorama of the beautiful scenery.

 

And thereafter, we looked back to the beach sprinkled with umbrellas and dreamed of the hustle-and-bustle of the famous city.

Paestum: City of Stone

Without delay, we travelled to Paestum, a major Ancient Greek city on the Amalfi coast, and its museum. After the long bus trip, we were all glad to stretch our legs, and we met our tour guide Lucia, who guided us around the ruins of the town; the visible half of the amphitheatre; and the three temples.

One temple is dedicated to Hera, another to Athena, and the last to Poseidon. The reason that we were able to see this is because Paestum was preserved extremely well, because it was under boggy marsh, which excels at protecting monuments from the sun and wind.

To wrap up the day, we went into the museum to see some of the items moved from the site and preserved for safety. We saw some pots that would have contained honey and water for religious ceremonies, and some statues that still had traces of ancient paint.

Capri: Fifty Shades of Blue (Friday 1 July)

Today didn’t fail to impress; the island of Capri lies off the southern tip of Naples, and it is renowned for the shimmering waters, breath-taking rock formations, and the gorgeous Mediterranean sun warming the busy town square atop the cliffs.

After arriving at the port of Capri, Mr Chambers organised a boat tour for the group. We boarded and travelled to the White Grotto, named after the dazzling white stalagmites and stalactites found inside. And within a few minutes, we were jumping off the boats into the water for a refreshing swim.

 

Having returned to the port, we hurriedly gathered food at the foot of the cliffs. A tiring forty-five minute walk took us up a mountain to the Villa Iovis — home of the emperor Tiberius.

 

We wasted no time taking in the majesty of the villa, and we pondered the Salto di Tiberio, from where the emperor forced people who had displeased him to jump to their deaths. Even more shocking was the fact that the emperor also positioned sailors below to ‘finish off’ any victims who happened to survive the leap.

At the top was a church, which offered us some shade, and we stopped for lunch.

Next, we trekked back down to the town centre, and we were given free time to explore Capri. Many of us went to buy gelati and anything cold, and seek relief from the sun.

 

To end the day, we went back down and caught the ferry back to Naples. Finally, we made our way back to the hotel.

All in all, these two days were very relaxing, and these charming locations will always hold a special place in our hearts.

 

Ruins and Riches

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We woke up in Rome for the last time, and made the final long trek down to the ground floor, all fed, and prepared for an overwhelming day, full of historical treasures beyond count, in the various forms of tapestries, marble statues, and architecture. We headed for the Vatican at around 8, and got there soon after, at which time, we realised just how popular the smallest country worldwide really is (especially busy, due to the festivities the next day, meaning it would be closed).

Thankfully, our guide Linda could get us round the most part of the queues, and soon(-ish) we were in the museum. We began our visit in the ‘shallow end’,  but soon we were greeted by the stunning view of the Vatican and its expansive gardens. We spent a while talking about the exhibits, and most of all, the Sistine Chapel, as we wouldn’t be able to talk inside. We entered the main attraction, of the long and decorative hallways, full of awe-inspiring works, from many of the world’s greatest artists, from Botticcelli, to Michelangelo. Hopefully pictures can do them justice better than writing.

Some masterpieces later, and we were in the Sistine Chapel, where we completely left in awe by the intricacy and beauty of Michelangelo’s fresco. The chapel was a fantastic experience for all, interrupted only by Italian guards hushing everyone and warning against photography.

After we got out of the chapel we headed towards the Basilica. On our way, we went through a chamber, full of magnificent and decorative marble tombs for past popes. Unfortunately for us, photography was prohibited in this particularly reverent part of the Vatican, but soon enough, we had reached the St Peter’s Basilica. There is certainly a lot that can be said for the Basilica, but I’ll leave it to the pictures to show why it is held in such high regard.

We could have spent all our time in the the Vatican and still not have seen and understood it all, but after a few hours we began to leave. We said goodbye to Linda, who had toured us around Rome for 2 days, and got a cracking group photo in front of the Basilica.

We filed back onto our bus and left the bustling city of Rome.  Our trip to our destination, the Monte Casino Abbey, was made a little more interesting, by a crash involving one decent sized truck on the main highway, but luckily, this didn’t hinder our progress too much. On the the long and winding trip up the mountain, we were filled in by Liam and Tayne, about the history of the Abbey, and about how it was occupied by the Germans in WWII, and unavoidably destroyed by the Allied forces, in order to secure supply lines. We were all very fascinated by Tayne’s in depth knowledge of its role in WWII, but as Mr Chambers reminded us, it did exist long before the Second World War. Today it still serves as a functioning monastery, dedicated to St Benedict.

There were many wonders to be found around the Abbey and the museum, including books of church music, written in perhaps the earliest form of notation, a gem for the music students, wartime artefacts, and books as small as a fingernail. And if these were not quite enough, the view atop Monte Casino was really something else. It was an intriguing and serene experience for all.

 

 

At about 8:30, we arrived finally in Sorrento. We were all a little frustrated and disappointed as due to an error in booking, we had to downgrade our hotel, from the Hotel Flora, to the Hotel Spicy, the major difference being a pool. We left to have dinner, a three course meal consisting of penne pasta, lasagne, and tiramisu. All fed, we dispersed until 11:00 for a couple of hours of shopping, by which time we were all ready for a long sleep and our first full day in Sorrento, and the very anticipated visit to Pompeii.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4: Pompeii

After an early wake up call for some and a sleep in for others, everyone eventually made it down to breakfast. Within a few minutes after breakfast, we had all gotten ready for a long day on our feet and were waiting in the lobby. When everyone had made their way back down and was ready, we got onto the bus, and, fairly excited, drove to the station.

At the station, we got a look at some local, modern art, all the way down the sides of the trains. Some nice eye candy while we waited to get going on our way to Pompeii.

After a 30 minute ride we arrived at Scavi Pompeii (scavi being Italian for excavation/ruins). We stocked up on paninis for the 7 hour day and got moving to meet our guide Sylvia and get on the site. We first got look at a Samnite amphitheatre, and discussed the differences in architecture, decoration, and building methods between it and the Romans. We also learned a little about its history, and the story of a massive crowd brawl, which forced the Emperor to close it for the next ten years.

Next, we moved through the back door of a Roman villa, with a garden, which was designed to closely resemble how it would have looked almost two millennia ago. We walked through the garden, then through the atrium, then finally out the front door onto the streets of Pompeii. Here we got our first taste of the kind of city this was. Most of the houses we saw appeared to have only one story, however this was a result of over 150 bombs dropped during WWII.

We walked through the streets, many of which still bore two ruts from the specially made carts and chariots, with the precise measurements to round the boulders scattered around the city, which meant that travellers would have to change carts or continue on foot.

This was our best insight yet into the daily lives of Romans, travellers   and merchants, and people from all over the Empire. How they organised to meet using the fountains as markers, how the Romans discovered the technique of using urine to wash their clothes, how the cities often grew from the forum built on the crossing of two major roads (I suppose X does mark the spot), how they prepared food, bathed, and far more.

Due to the kind of conditions Pompeii was subject to, falling ash and  toxic gas, the city was very well preserved, and its excavation was far easier than most others. As our visit drew to a close, we ticked off one of the most popular sites, the Lupanare, or in English, a brothel. Decorated with some very interesting frescos, the Lupanare was perhaps the most intriguing and exciting part of our visit. We wandered around for a little longer, got a feed, then took a sleepy train ride back to Sorrento, where we were awake enough to get back on the bus back to the hotel. We had a quick rest up before heading to dinner, consisting of three another three courses of pasta, pizza and tiramisu. Another couple of hours of walking, shopping, and socialising, and we were back in bed, too exhausted to think about the next day…

 

All Roads lead to Rome

Day 1: Rome, Italy

The excitement and eagerness was indescribable, as the boys gathered at the airport. After checking in, and heading down to departures, final goodbyes were said as the boys would embark on a journey which would take them into the depths of overseas exploration. However this exciting feeling was short-lived as all 30 boys were ravaged by the long and tiring 21 hour Flight.

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In high spirits at the airport…

The first thing we noticed collectively as a group was the 29 degree heat that greeted us with open arms- a welcome change from Sydney’s cold, biting temperatures. This was followed by a 40 minute bus ride, driving past monuments from past and present Rome to our hotel.

From a past of 5 star hotel’s and luxury, many boys were quite unimpressed by what was awaiting them. This was only a room for the 2 nights in Rome, so there wasn’t much necessity for luxury. After a quick stop and refreshment at the hotel in which rooms allocations were given, we were unleashed onto the streets of Rome.

Immediately we viewed the  difference between Sydney and Rome. The windy, narrow streets (which deserved to be called lanes instead) and the cobblestone, rickety roads were laden with a buzzing atmosphere from tourists and many locals as well as the common hustlers (by which there were more than 1 every 10 meters).

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After familiarising ourselves with the city and a brief bus ride, we reached our first destination. The Pantheon! This temple was of divine proportion, and dripping with historical value. The circular temple was dwarfed by the 30 metre wide cement doom above. This was a temple dedicated to the gods, and appropriately so, as its architecture was befitting of the eminence of the Di Romani (Roman Gods).

Boys were then released to find food, and the deli store become a huge hit among the boys, producing some of the best pork we had ever tried. Many other common shops were the Lindt Cafe and the numerous gelato stores.

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Mr Chambers explains the sculptures of the Ara Pacis

Next, we marched, under some questionable directions, to the Ara Pacis, a temple erected under the order of Augustus, the Emperor of Rome at the time, as well as briefly seeing the Mausoleum of Augustus. The sophistication of the mural’s and decorations ladened on the wall were of such a proportion that the students had never before seen anything of the like nature.

A relatively quick walk back to a restaurant located only a few blocks away from the hotel, was followed by a hearty meal of penne pasta, followed by pork and potatoes… with more gelato for dessert.

Day 2: Rome, Italy

Today was full on, as we were encapsulated by all that Rome had to offer. A slow start of breakfast at 8, was followed by unfortunate miscommunications in organising meeting our tour guide. This resulted in an all-hands-on-deck train wide to the colosseum, which was beneficial for our spacial awareness and keeping an eye on our things.

As we left the train station, we were immediately encapsulated by the sheer size and magnificence of the Colosseum. this stunning feat of architecture, of which we had heard so much about, still took our breath away as it rose 50 metres out of the ground.

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The grandeur of the Colosseum.

We meet our exceptionally informative tour guide, Linda, at the base of the building and we were immediately overwhelmed with knowledge and insight into this masterpiece. The students ventured throughout it and learned all about its use in history, not only as a place for war games, but as a fortress as well, during the medieval period for a short period of time.

After the exhilarating experience at one of the worlds most famous sites, we were off deeper into Ancient Rome – the Forum and the Atrium Vestae (House of the Vestal Virgins) – where we learned all about the different buildings spread throughout its expanse.

These sights were truly marvellous as they represented a style of architecture which was of such strong magnitude that they still stand to this day, as a beacon of Ancient civilisation in an ever changing modern world.

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The whole group looks out over the Palace of the Flavian Emperors.

Following a quick lunch break at the pizzeria outside of the forum, the group went to the Musei Capitolini, a museum built over the temple built for the Roman god Jupiter, located right above the Forum. The museum hosted countless inscriptions, statue remains, pottery collections and Renaissance art, covering entire walls and ceilings, leaving boys in awe of the detail and violent imagery in the works.

After we finished in the Musei Capitolini, we hiked across town to numerous locations, starting with Piazza Navona. This square used to be a chariot racing track before being turned into a plaza, and it is home to Bernini’s famous ‘Four Rivers’ sculpture, which represents four of the great rivers of the world –  these being the Danube, Ganges, Nile and the Plata. It also contains an obelisk said to have once stood in the Circus Maximus.

Following this grand sight, it was straight to the Trevi Fountain, where the god like figureheads and the cool water were enough to entice the boys to venture further, (as well as to prompt everyone to make a wish).

As crazy as it sounds, we were finished in Rome, tonight was the last night, but having said this, we saw all that it had to offer, and saw that within this grand old city, the fruit of its Ancient and Modern History could co-exist as one.

Linus Griziotis, Nico MacLean