‘Venimus, Vidimus, Amavimus’ – Classics Students in Rome
By Ishita N and Isabella P, Year 11 Journalist Leaders
We came, we saw, we loved!
Over the autumn half term, NHEHS classics students in year 11 and 12 visited the ancient city of Rome to explore all the famous monuments and Roman ruins. We combined with Streatham & Clapham High, another GDST school, for the trip which was packed with sights and we were constantly en route to another iconic destination.
After landing in Leonardo Da Vinci airport mid afternoon on the first day, we headed off to the hotel and got straight into sightseeing, starting with the Baths of Diocletian, and finishing with pasta at a local restaurant.
Our second day in Rome was one of the busiest and we covered plenty of famous terrain. We briefly passed the grand Villa Borghese in the Borghese Gardens where we saw the temple of Aesclepius, god of medicine. Next on our agenda was the Spanish Steps, which looked like they came straight out of a film, and we stopped for some photos. Though it was full of tourists, we managed to get a good look at the Trevi Fountain as well and our teachers explained to us the story behind the sculptures and the different types of columns. One of the most striking things we saw was easily the Pantheon, which almost two thousand years since it was built is still home to the largest unsupported dome in the world! We spent ages standing around in awe, trying to wrap our minds around how big it was, before quickly moving on to the Vatican City. It felt strange to so easily step into a different country and we were guided through room upon room of intricate paintings in the museum. We even got a peek of the Augustus of Prima Porta, a statue we had heard lots about in our Latin lessons. However, nothing could have prepared us for the Sistine Chapel, which was even more awe-inspiring than in the pictures. After a long day, we thought we were ready to head back to the hotel but were taken to St Peter’s square and basilica, and though we were all exhausted, it was worth the walk to see the largest church in the world!
We hit the ground running again on the third day with the Colosseum first on our list of sights and far bigger than we had imagined. We also saw the Roman Forum, and it felt surreal to walk around on roads that were walked on by Ancient Romans and envision the forum during its heyday. The views from the Palatine Hill were stunning and we had the freedom to explore the ruins on our own. We had to climb a lot of stairs to get there but the Capitoline Museum did not disappoint either, with its huge statue parts and we even recognised some statues from famous mythology, including Romulus and Remus with the she-wolf. We ended the day learning about the gory history and impressive restoration of the Ara Pacis, a sacrificial altar built during the reign of Augustus.
The fourth day was bittersweet as we were excited to embark on our magical mystery tour with Miss Bradshaw but we weren’t ready to leave Rome. We visited the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore first which housed the crypt of the Nativity, and then the Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli, where Michaelangelo’s Moses with its peculiar horns is kept. After regrouping at the hotel, we departed for our final destination of the trip: Ostia Antica. Walking though the ancient Roman city felt like we had travelled back in time and we were able to go into people’s homes, theatres, mosaics and marketplaces from thousands of years ago. While we have learned so much about the Romans in the classroom, seeing in person where they led their lives felt like a completely different experience and we were able to completely immerse ourselves in the history, even seeing the home of Apuleius, the writer of one of the texts we study in Latin Year 11. It was an amazing ending to an amazing trip.
Thank you so much to the Classics teachers for organising this trip for us!