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Stratford Girls' Grammar School Stratford-Upon-Avon
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Rome Trip - A Review

After a 3am coach journey to Luton, followed by a 7am flight, a group of 26 sleep-deprived girls, supervised by 4 members of staff, touched down at the Leonardo da Vinci airport, Rome. For many of us it was our first time in the city, and so were delighted to see that our shorts and tees, packed in a slightly optimistic frenzy, would be put to good use, with bright sunshine and temperatures of 24 degrees greeting us.

Sunbathing, however, was not an opportunity presented to us, as we were swiftly transported through the airport and straight onto another coach - this time, taking us to our first attraction of Rome - the catacombs.  Although slightly eerie, we were all fascinated by the 10 miles of underground tunnels which stretched underneath the heart of Rome, as well as relieved to spend some time away from the strong heat of the sun, which none of us were used to!  Our guided tour meant that we learnt so many interesting features of Rome’s history, and certainly ensured that our trip started off with an unforgettable experience.

Following this, we hurriedly purchased lunch, and after eating in the sunny courtyard beside the catacombs, we were bundled back onto the bus and journeyed towards our hotel in Termini.  After checking into our rooms, we had a chance to explore Termini briefly before being taken to our first Basilica of the trip: the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.  The stunning artwork displayed inside meant that the time flew by, and after getting photos of the incredible displays of the Basilica, we left to find our first evening meal (Lasagne), before heading back to the hotel in Termini and promptly passing out in our beds, satisfied and exhausted from our first day in the city.

Our alarm went off at 6:30am the next morning, and it was soon obvious that there wouldn’t be much time for relaxing on this trip - our insanely tight schedule advised that this was the day we were heading to both the Museum and Castle of Sant’Angelo, as well as completing a four-hour guided tour of the Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. Luckily, the weather was on our side, and after breakfast we enjoyed a beautiful walk towards the Castle, enjoying the morning rays of sun and the incredible views overlooking the River Tiber. Upon reaching the highest point of the castle, we were able to fully appreciate our surroundings - we had a 360 degree view of the landscape of Rome, and were able to see iconic structures such as the Vatican, and we all spent time taking hundreds of photos, before heading off into the city to find our own lunch.  After pizza, we made our way towards the Vatican, where our enthusiastic guide started the tour - she taught us all about the incredible paintings in the Sistine Chapel, completed by Michelangelo, and enabled us to learn more about the history of the Vatican City.  We were all stunned by the vastness of the Basilica, and spent almost an hour inside, trying to capture each piece of art. Upon leaving the Vatican City, we all felt amazed by the immense scale of the sacred buildings, and, after eating dinner, we made our way back to the hotel, using the wifi to upload too many photos of the Vatican, before promptly falling asleep (we had walked eight miles during the day!)

The next day was dedicated to visiting the Colosseum, which meant that in the afternoon we had time to explore some of Rome’s most popular sites, including the Spanish Steps and the famous Trevi Fountain. Our tour of the Colosseum was self-guided, meaning that we were able to explore things at our own pace (and lead a few of us to sunbathe more than take in the sights). After another pizza break for lunch, we headed to the Trevi fountain, where we spent almost an entire hour stood in its presence, taking as many photos as possible, and enjoying what must have been our 8th ice cream of the trip, before spending some time shopping in places such as Gucci (Alice didn’t buy the shoes).  After this, we headed to a local restaurant, where we enjoyed yet another pizza, before taking (rather a long) time to stroll back to our Hotel, enabling us to take photos of places such as the Trevi Fountain at night, before once again crashing into our beds, saddened by the fact that in the morning, we were headed home.

Our last day in Rome included a panicked frenzy of packing, before heading out of the hotel to visit the Papal Archbasilica of St. John’s. The ancient architecture inside was captivating, and it was so interesting to understand the history behind the Papal Basilicas.  After this, our group proceeded to revisit the Spanish Steps, enabling us to all collect souvenirs for our family and friends as well as eating lunch in some traditional, rustic restaurants. Unfortunately, our free time was cut short, as we had to quickly depart after lunch in order to make it to the airport, where we would have to leave the sunshine and our carefree attitudes behind, and catch our returning flight to Luton, .

Landing back in the UK, we collected our luggage before tiredly making our way onto the coach, and being driven from Luton to Shottery, to be reunited with family and friends back in the cold and wet English night.

Published on 18th May 17