School trip to Rome
22nd Feb 2018
On Friday 9th February 32 key stage four students and four staff set off on an educational adventure to Rome. The purpose of the trip was to enrich and consolidate the learning of some of the areas of study that the students have focused on in preparation for their Religious Studies examination. With a jam-packed itinerary ahead of us we set off from the Centre for Learning at 6:00am and boarded a coach transfer to Manchester Airport. It wasn’t long until we were sat in our plane seats and ready for take-off, for a couple of students this was their first time flying and they loved the experience!
On arrival to Ciampino airport, the group was met by a local representative who gave us a very informative talk about the history of Rome during our coach transfer to the hotel. Straight away the students and staff were captivated by this amazing city. There were a lot of photographs being taken from the get go.
When we got to the hotel, we dropped off our bags and hit the ground running by heading straight to the first site; the world famous Trevi Fountain. The students were advised to throw coins into the fountain as legend has it that those who throw a coin in will certainly return to Rome in the future. After absorbing all of the details of the fountain we walked a little further to our second monumental Roman site; the Spanish Steps. Here we purchased Rome’s renowned gelato (ice cream) and soaked up the relaxed ambiance that the area had to offer. After some time we challenged students to a race to the top, this was all too much for Mrs Tomkins who jokingly crawled up the final few steps. This was the first of many Roman staircases that the group would encounter during out trip, in fact it became a bit of a long standing joke during our time there. After such a work out it was only right that we were rewarded with a hearty meal at the Hard Rock Café.
The next day brought an early start as we were headed to the Vatican City, the home of the Pope, and burial site of St Peter. This was the busiest of our days in Rome. The weather was beautiful, just perfect for a clear view from the top of the St Peter’s cupola. The cupola posed the greatest physical challenge for the group, of course this was not the case for Mr Lowrie -being subject leader of PE it was a doddle for him or at least it certainly appeared that way as he ran us up them in record time. Some students elected to brave the 551 steps to the top of the dome, whilst others selected to take a lift and then climb the remaining 351 steps. The views from the top were spectacular and we could see almost the whole of Rome.
After venturing down from the cupola, we headed to the Vatican Museum, the main highlight being the beautiful artwork of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. The students came face to face with the artwork that they had studied in class and could clearly identify the key Biblical stories that the images represented. The best part of this was seeing the student’s gaze in wonder and awe as they looked around this beautiful sacred chapel.
To complete our visit to Vatican City, we headed into St Peter’s Basilica. The group were able to have a good look around this magnificent building and many could identify the internal and architectural features that are typically found in a Catholic church. Whilst in the Basilica we even managed to rub the lucky foot of the bronze statue of St Peter, we could see how the right toes of the statues had now worn down after centuries of pilgrims touching.
An additional point of interest in the Basilica was Michelangelo’s statue ‘Pieta’; this is a statue of Mary cradling her son ,the crucified Christ, after he had been removed from the cross. This statue is something that the students have studied as part of their Religious Studies curriculum. Many members of the group commented about how seeing it in person had helped them to feel the true emotion behind the story.
A final added and unexpected bonus was that group were able to go down to the Basilica’s crypt, where we could see the tombs of the buried Popes. All of the staff were very impressed by the respect and reverence that the group showed during their time at Vatican City.
After a spot of lunch in McDonald’s we headed to Piazza Navona and then onto the oldest Church in Rome, the Pantheon, which houses the body of painter and architect Raphael. That evening we sampled a traditional Italian menu; bruschetta followed by pizza and ice cream, it was delicious and a much needed meal to recharge our batteries after such a long and busy day.
The group rose on Sunday to a day that would be filled with history, we were off to visit the Colosseum and Roman Forum. Mr Haliday’s jokes managed to help spur us on during our short walk there. The students were amazed by the scale of the colosseum and loved learning about its history. Walking around the building and through the Roman Forum was like taking a step back in time, we felt like we were on the set of ‘Gladiator’ or ‘Game of Thrones’. We managed to find a nice little spot to relax, and Mrs Bamford made friends with some of the local wildlife; one pigeon in particular which gave everyone a good laugh.
We finished the afternoon at the statue of the ‘Mouth of Truth’, legend has it that if you place your hand into the mouth of the statue after telling lies it would bite it off. Many funny photographs later we made our way back to the hotel to sort our bags for our return home and then headed our last Italian supper in Rome.
Overall, this was a fantastic trip that not only helped to enrich our students on an educational level but also helped to enrich them as young individuals. There really is no place like Rome!
Click HERE for the students memories of the trip
Also if you go to Gallery there are pictures from the trip