10 June 2015

Y10 Pompeii Classics trip

Year 10 Latin and Classical Civilisation study trip to Pompeii and the Bay of Naples

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We left for Italy, much to the delight of every student and parent, at 3:50am one Friday just before half term. Our plane landed at Naples airport and a coach took us straight to Mount Vesuvius.

On the way we learned about the area and the history of Vesuvius through Mr Taylor’s lectures (the first of 23 over the course of the trip). It was a steep 20-minute walk to the crater from the car park, where we were told about the geology of the volcano, and we then wandered around the summit and took in the lovely views of Naples. Shortly afterwards we had an hour-long coach journey to Sorrento, followed by an Italian lesson on the sun terrace, a brief chance to explore the marina and an early curfew to compensate for our 3am start.

Day two began with breakfast in the hotel and departure for Pompeii. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately to create an atmosphere, Pompeii greeted us with heavy morning rain. We were given instructions to explore wherever possible and take in as many different kinds of Roman building as we could. We were able to see the well-preserved ruins of bath-houses, the forum, typical Roman houses and stepping stones across streets worn low by ancient cart wheels. We regrouped at lunch and then went to look inside the theatre, and later witnessed a ‘professionally’ performed rendition of ‘In Basillica’ from the Cambridge Latin Course books starring Mr Taylor, Julian, Patrick and Mackenzie. After returning to the hotel for dinner, we caught a train to the main town of Sorrento to go shopping in the pedestrianised area.

On the morning of day three, we took a two hour guided tour of Herculaneum where in 1981 300 skeletons were found. Although smaller than Pompeii it was better preserved and so of much greater value to archaeologists. After lunch we took a ferry to the island of Capri; an attractive tourist spot where it seemed there were more English speakers than Italians wandering around.

The fourth day started with a coach journey to Naples Archaeological Museum, where we saw many of the wall paintings and mosaics rescued from Pompeii. Mr Taylor’s 18th lecture then got us to Solfatara (an extinct volcanic crater with bubbling mud and fumaroles) where there was a strong scent of sulphur in the air and the sand reflected the light making it look like a bright white surface.

We also visited the Roman Amphitheatre at Pozzuoli where you can see the underground cages for animals and gladiators below it. Our day was concluded with an ice cream at the local gelaterie and a quiz based on facts learnt on the trip (such as which company made Mr Taylor’s hat…).

The Italy trip was a really brilliant experience. Thank you to the teachers, Mr Taylor, Mr Mott and Ms Nairn. If any future Year 10 Classics students have the opportunity to go, this trip is highly recommended.

Morgan Giampaolo

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