Danes Hill Pupils Visit Rome

13th August 2018

On the morning of 7 March, we flew from Gatwick North Terminal to Fiumicino Airport, which was built on the old Roman Port of Portus.  After a short bus trip into Rome, we saw the impressive former Baths of Diocletian, now a magnificent church. We then saw the museum of the baths, which contained inscribed tombstones, which we enjoyed trying to translate.  On the way to the stunning Trajan’s Column, we saw the sprawling mass of Trajan’s market, where we met our guide.  After a quick and chaotic lunch of pizza, pizza and more pizza, we went to the beautiful Trevi Fountain and threw in a coin to ensure our return to Rome.  After eating our body weight in ice cream (despite the rain), we saw the Piazza Navona, which used to be the Romans’ athletics track.  Now, beautiful buildings surround it, with an impressive fountain in its centre.  Next, we marvelled at the Pantheon, with its huge, unsupported dome, the largest of its kind and built by the Romans. Finally, we were lucky enough to visit St Peter’s Basilica at dusk and see this beautiful building lit up with a golden light against the night sky.

-Christian Duetoft

On the second day, we woke early and set out by foot to the Colosseum, where we met our guide and climbed what seemed like hundreds of steps, before coming out into the largest amphitheatre from the Roman age. We heard that between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators used to gather to marvel at wild beasts and gladiators, baying for their blood. It was incredible that so much of the Colosseum remained and its sheer size is impressive even by modern standards.

After a delicious Italian lunch, we headed to Ostia Antica, the ancient port of Rome and spent the afternoon exploring the large site. We saw the remains of shops, villas and a theatre and were amazed at how well preserved these ruins were. Although we would have loved to stay for longer, it was soon time to head back to the airport to catch our flight back to London. Both staff and children nursed rather tired legs and feet, but everyone agreed that we had enjoyed a very interesting and inspiring, not to mention extremely energetic, two days away.

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