Upper School RS Trip to Rome

When considering how best to entertain and educate 15 teenagers in one of the world’s most magnificent cities, blatant bribery seems to work a treat.

For example, when deciding to walk a couple of miles through some gorgeous streets, the promise of a stop at a Gelateria does the job perfectly. So, with this in mind when planning our three-night trip to Rome, it became immediately obvious that wherever we went, there had to be a stop for Gelato; why else does one go to Rome? And, so it began: arriving late on Friday night, we relaxed into our comfortable hotel and rested in preparation for a busy start to Saturday in the Vatican. A short stroll took us to the entrance where we met our guide; after some initial teething problems with group admissions, we entered the Vatican proper and were immediately wowed by the best view of St Peter’s Basilica. A walk through the highly ornate Vatican museum and then towards the Sistine Chapel which is impressive for the famous paintings on the walls and ceilings. This was to be a feature of the two days wandering around Rome: there is just so much architecture and so many works of art, that you become almost immune to it and it’s only when you walk around somewhere else which is grey and drab do you appreciate the stunning surroundings of Rome. Having toured the Basilica, we left to walk through the ancient streets of Rome towards Piazza Navona – with of course the lure of a Gelato along the way. Following this, we walked to the Pantheon and wondered at the extraordinary works of art there and how the early Christians had turned what was a temple to the Roman Gods into a church dedicated to St Mary and the Saints. Following a break in the hotel to relax, we went out for a fabulous meal in a restaurant; the four different flavours of pizza were very much enjoyed by all present. All in all, we walked about five miles on Saturday!

Sunday’s weather started out blue and clear as Saturday’s had been, but a little cooler at about 18 degrees. We started our day with a metro ride to the Spanish Steps and then a walk to the Trevi Fountain; if I had to pick just one of the astonishing sights on our two-day tour, I would say that the Trevi is not one to miss. A wander through the streets led us to the bus back to the Vatican for the Sunday Papal address and blessing; this was a last minute addition to the itinerary but I am pleased we decided to go as it was a special moment. The afternoon saw us head to see supposedly the site of the oldest in the world: St John Lateran which is actually the seat of the Pope as bishop of Rome and where Popes used to live before the founding of the Vatican. Irrespective of whether one believes what was first built here, it is an inspiring piece of architecture. The last part of our six miles of walking that day took us to the Colosseum to have a look from the outside. Dinner that night was in a lovely restaurant on the north bank of the river in a very charming area full of bars, restaurants and little shops. Quite exhausted, we slept deeply, knowing that Monday would take us back to the UK.

On a personal note, I have to say it was an absolute pleasure to escort 15 immaculately behaved teenagers around Rome for two days and I would like to give my thanks to Miss Conidaris for assisting with the trip.
Julian Holland

“This was an incredibly enjoyable trip which I really loved. The first day was definitely my favourite as I have always wanted to go to the Vatican. Being able to see St Peter's square and the Sistine Chapel is something that I absolutely loved. Being able to learn about the history of the buildings and artefacts was also amazing, especially as it was so well explained by our guide. The second day was also AMAZING, starting off which the really famous sights of the Spanish steps and Trevi fountain. As well being able to go to all the holy and incredibly beautiful churches was something I really appreciated, being something I had no prior knowledge to at all. Once again the guide was a really lovely asset as she and her pole of knowledge was a light onto the facts of the incredibly important buildings. Being able to see the Colosseum was truly amazing, and the guide knew a lot about it which I had no idea of. Of course the best thing of the lot was the delicious authentic Italian GELATO.”
Kiera, Fourth Form Pupil