Classics Trip to Rome and Bay of Naples

Keen classicists from Year 9 to Year 13 enjoyed a spectacular five-day trip to Rome and the Bay of Naples during half-term, visiting some of the world’s most famous Roman heritage sites.

After arriving in Naples and following a walking tour of Sorrento, the group’s first visit was to Herculaneum. This wealthy town was also hit by the Vesuvius eruption of 79AD alongside its larger and better-known neighbour Pompeii. Herculaneum was exceptionally well preserved by layers of volcanic carbonising ash, with superb detail still visible.

In the afternoon the group visited the ancient site of Oplontis, the location of two large residential villas undergoing excavation, only one of which is accessible to the public. Overlooking the sea, this opulent villa dates back to the mid-1st century BC and boasted magnificent décor, some exceptional traces of which are still preserved today.

Day two saw a guided exploration of Pompeii where under the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, students wandered through the original streets with their shops and houses, considered the town planning of the site, visited the amphitheatre and forum area, viewed the preserved human casts, and examined the frescos still visible.


The following day the group travelled to Tivoli for a guided tour and exploration of Hadrian’s Villa, one of the most imposing and complex Roman villas known today. Built around AD120, the site covers a vast area of land with pools, baths, fountains and temples.

The last full day of the trip was spent in Rome, taking in some of the most iconic classical sites. The group visited the Colosseum, the largest amphitheatre ever built, had a stroll through the Piazza Navona and to the great monument to ancient Rome, the Pantheon. The day also included a trip to the Baroque love-letter to the city, the Trevi Fountain, and a visit to the Ara Pacis Museum which houses the great altar tribute to Emperor Augustus, the Ara Pacis Augustae.

Before travelling home, the group squeezed in a final outing to Ostia Antica, the ancient city and the port of ancient Rome at the mouth of the Tiber River. The buildings, frescoes and mosaics of the 100-hectare site are extraordinarily well preserved, and pupils enjoyed wandering through the streets retracing Roman steps.

Head of Classics Harry Biggs said: “It was a joy to see how much this group of pupils enjoyed the trip to Rome and the bay of Naples. They embraced the opportunity of visiting such important and stunning Roman sites. It was a privilege to see the ancient Roman villas, monuments, streets, art and domestic settings. Seeing these sites in person brings antiquity to life in a powerful way, and it seemed the pupils, without exception, fully appreciated this. I am sure this trip will be a highlight of their time at Colfe’s and one they remember for a long time.”


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