Final Day…

Today was our final day in Italy (besides leaving day). We started our day out by going to a church with many layers of history underneath it: St. Clemente Church. The complex is of great importance because it is located on top of ancient underground buildings going two levels deep, the oldest of which dates back to the first century AD.

We then went to Museo dell’Ara Pacis, which houses the Ara Pacis of Augustus, an altar dedicated to peace, as well as temporary exhibitions on modern and contemporary art. It was really cool to see the building in which it was housed due to the fact that a girl’s mom in our group had designed that building (Lauren Tulley)!

After looking at the awesome architecture and altar piece of Augustus, we headed to a museum that housed many sculptures and busts. The Capitoline Museums were a set of mirroring museums that focussed a lot on Roman sculpture. It was really awe provoking to see the level of detail in which these artists worked. 

We ended our day with of course another traditional, yummy, home style Italian restaurant, followed by walking to the famous Trevi Fountain. Some of us decided to get some final gelato on the way back to the hotel and now we are all just about asleep and excited but sad to come back home.

The Borghese Gallery and the Spanish Steps

Today we ate a delicious breakfast and took a bus to the Borghese Gallery.

Here is what Jonathan Ennis said about the experience:

“The Borghese gallery was the fun-sized version of the Vatican. With all the fun-sized, multimillion dollar classical art pieces that mimicked its king sized counterpart to the best of its ability. We saw many 2nd most famous art pieces at the old renaissance villa turned museum. The 2nd most famous statue of David, the 2nd most famous rendition of “the last supper”, etc. Though there were a few notable statues such as “Apollo and Daphne”, and “The Rape of Persephone”, the works that stood out to me were made by the master of shadows and father of tenebrism himself, Michelangelo Merisi Caravaggio. The works that this painter made were on everything from baskets of fruit to young women graphically beheading people. All of them displayed Caravaggio’s talent at painting shadows, and the range of things which interested him.”

After the gallery we visited the Column of Trajan and took a tour of the ruins of some buildings near it. Once our tour was finished, we headed over to a Sacred Heart School at the top of the Spanish Steps. Then we explored the bougie and luxurious shopping area for two hours before going to dinner.

Vatican City

Today we visited the Vatican City, which is its own tiny country!

Here is what Jonathan Ennis has to say:

“Have you ever watched the reality tv show ‘hoarders’? Well that was what walking through the first art gallery in the Vatican reminded me of, but instead of the hoarders accumulating large piles of things in their houses, the religious rulers had accumulated more wealth in art than many small countries did. I saw incredible works of art, paintings, statues, and frescoes. Many of them were priceless and had been created by famous artists such as Michelangelo, and Raphael. As a group we moved through many galleries and saw art the church has picked from many different eras, we saw everything from statues made in Roman times, to modern sculptures from the 1990’s. Everything about the 44 hectares of land called the Vatican that we saw was the embodiment of beauty. The art, the architecture, the stunning view from the top of St. Peters Basilica. It was incredible, it was beautiful beyond words, and it was decadent beyond anything I have ever seen.”


Ari Nagle says:

“Today was probably the busiest and biggest day because we visited the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica. At the Vatican museum, we saw the gradual shift from medieval to renaissance art in the huge galleries. The most amazing gallery in my opinion was the Raphael room. There, we got to see the School of Athens up close. Afterwards, we visited the Sistine chapel, which was painted by Michelangelo. The immensity was overwhelming because the whole chapel is painted on every side in such great detail. After that, we moved on to St. Peter’s Basilica. This was very exciting because we climbed up to the top of the dome and walked around the side of it. The letters around the dome are six feet tall! We heard some interesting stories from our guide Megan in the Vatican. Then we went to dinner and had some free time to walk around. Today was very busy, but we got to see lots of famous things in detail.”

We ended the day eating delicious gelato and traditional Italian cuisines.

Colosseum and more!

Some little blurbs from Kate and Leet about our day:

Leet: Palatine Hill

According to the creation story of Rome, two brothers, Romulus and Remus, fought about where to build a city. Romulus wanted to build it on Palatine Hill, and Remus preferred Aventine Hill. After Romulus killed his brother, he built the city on Palatine Hill and called it Rome. Currently, Palatine Hill consists of the Forum, temple ruins, and ruins of mansions built by emperors. We walked through the ruins on a path that ended at a points overlooking Rome. 

Kate: Colosseum

At the Colosseum today we walked around the perimeter and second stories. The group saw the underground passageways that flooded during naval battles, where the gladiators were kept, and the animals were transported too.

Pompeii and Naples

Today was a great start to the trip! However, the jetlag is setting in!

We started off the day with a healthy dose of a sugary Italian breakfast and then headed on our way to Herculaneum – the first, and lesser known, city to be hit by the explosion of Mt. Vesuvius.

After that, we headed to the city of Naples and had pizza and pasta at a really great traditional Italian restaurant.

We then proceeded to walk around the city of Naples for around 30 mins before meeting at the Naples National Archaeological Museum where they had amazing sculptures, mosaics and pieces of architecture from early Rome.

After that, we took our bus back to the hotel and had the decision to nap or to go explore before dinner. Dinner was yet again at another traditional Italian restaurant.

Here’s what one of our schoolmates had to say about the experience at Herculaneum:

Travis Evans: Today for our first experience, we went to and explored the ancient city Herculaneum. This city was built by the Greeks when they moved here, and it became a boat town. However, because of natural causes, the sea is now about a mile or so away from the city. Many people may not know that this city, along with Pompeii, was destroyed by Mt. Vesuvius. Because of how close Herculaneum is to Mt. Vesuvius, this city (unlike Pompeii) was destroyed by boiling-hot mud that ranged from 500-900 degrees Fahrenheit. A fun fact that we learned is that the mud moved at around 100 mph. Because of how swift the mud was moving, much of the city stayed intact. The wood didn’t even have time to burn up! Next, we went to the Napoli’s museum. Here we got to see original depictions of Hercules and many other sculptures. Overall, it was a great and tiring day.

We made it!

Today was a very difficult and long day for everyone. We started off at SFO with a 45 minute delayed flight, which led to the missing of our connecting flight in Frankfurt Germany. After a 10 hour flight, we landed in Germany, we explored the Frankfurt airport for 4 hours until our rebooked flight departed. After this hour and a half flight, we finally touched down in Rome Italy. From this airport we took a lengthy bus ride to our hotel in Pompeii. Along the way on this bus ride, we stopped for pizza. Once we arrived at our hotel, we given a briefing on what is to come on this trip.

We are all super tired and we will continue to update the blog throughout the week.

Onward to Italy

Next week, Convent and Stuart Hall students will embark on a trip to Italy, seeing the sites in Rome, the Bay of Naples, and more. The trip organizer and lead chaperone, Dr. Scott Roos has an additional note:
I’m super-excited about the upcoming trip, and I have even been using Anki to learn some Italian before we depart.  Italian, after knowing Latin, is easy, because much of the language is simply Latin in the Ablative case.  On our first few days, we’ll be reading Latin (and some English) about the sites that we visit:
Day 1: Cumae – Ovid’s Metamorphoses. XIV.129ff – description of the Cumaean Sibyl’s rejection of Apollo and T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland – epigraph refers to the Cumaean Sibyl
Day 2: Herculaneum/Vesuvius – Statius IV.4 – about 10 lines lamenting the fate of the townspeople
Day 3: Pompeii/Naples – Petronius 29 – describing the “Cave Canem” fresco.