Religious and Classics Rome school tour

Nowhere comes close to Rome in the pursuit of amazing history

The Forum, Colosseum and Vatican will bring the subject to life

In the 18th century upper-class English gentlemen completed their education with a Grand Tour of Europe. Historic Rome with its beautiful churches, astonishing art and architecture, together with its vibrant culture became the focus of the tour.

Fast forward to the 21st century and Rome still has the power to enthral and educate young minds. Just to walk through the city and look up at its magnificent skyline and see the domes and spires of the city’s 900 churches will inspire your Religious Studies students.

The buzzing street life, the hushed silence or chanting inside the churches, the delicious cuisine and the stylish Italians that are encountered along the way, only add to the memories of this school trip.

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Overview

Day 1 – Depart UK - arrive Rome, check in Hotel, walking tour

Day 2 - Papal Audience - St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel, evening mass at St Peter’s Basilica

Day 3 – Colosseum,  Roman Forum, Palatino, Basilica of Santi Cosma e Damiano

Day 4 - Catacombs, Villa Borghese

Day 5 – Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain, shopping, depart Rome – arrive UK

Sample tour

Day 1 – Depart UK on your scheduled flight, Arrive Rome, check in Hotel, walking tour

An early scheduled flight affords your group the chance to soak up the Roman atmosphere on their first day.  You will be met at the airport and escorted to your Hotel for check in, after which you are free to wander out into the Eternal city and grab some lunch. Potential stops include Piazza Navona, a historic city square with 3 famous fountains and where artists regularly gather to work,  or the Campo de’ Fiori, where an open-air market  is often held selling all kinds of fresh produce.  An early evening meal at your hotel and an early bed are recommended to prepare for the excitement of tomorrow!


Day 2 - Papal Audience - St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel, evening mass at St Peter’s

After a good breakfast it’s straight to the Vatican City to witness a Papal audience. This amazing experience often proves a highlight for the group as they will see the Pope in person and be able to hear his teachings and readings. You can then enter St Peter’s, “the greatest of all churches of Christendom".  Lunch can then be taken in St Peter’s Square in front of the Basilica in the epicentre of the Catholic faith.  You will then meet your guide for an afternoon tour of the Vatican museums and the Sistine Chapel. The collection of modern religious art consists of almost 800 works of 250 international artists, including Rodin, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Kandinsky, Bacon, Dalí and Picasso. The Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo’s depiction of the Creation of Adam on the ceiling is considered by some to be the finest achievement of the Renaissance.  Your Vatican visit will be complete with evening mass in St Peter’s, followed by a leisurely stroll back to the hotel for your evening meal.


Day 3 – Colosseum, Roman Forum, Basilica of Saints Cosmas and Damian, Palatino.

Day 3 is another busy one with a lot to pack in so a hearty breakfast is again recommended! First stop and needing very little introduction is the Colosseum, arguably Rome’s most famous landmark. Built by Emperor Titus in AD80 it held 80,000 spectators who’d come to watch the infamous gladiatorial contests and hunts. The Colosseum is physical evidence of both the grandeur and the brutality of the Roman world.

Next, the Roman Forum was initially a market place but developed into the economic, political and religious heart of Rome. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Forum was forgotten, buried and used as a cattle grazing pasture. As a result, many of the columns, stone temples and arches have not survived, but the best preserved monuments include the Arch of Septimius, the Temple of Saturn and the House of the Vestal Virgins.

After lunch you will visit the Basilica of Saints Cosmas and Damian located in the Roman Forum. It is one of the ancient churches called tituli, of which cardinals are patrons as deacons. The basilica, devoted to the two Greek brothers, doctors, martyrs and saints Cosmas and Damian, is located in the Forum of Vespasian, also known as the Forum of Peace.

The Palatine is a large archaeological area located between Roman Forum and Circus Maximus. It contains the old Emperor residences, arches, temples and thermae. The legend says that Rome had its origins on this hill and, indeed, recent excavations have shown that people were living in the Palatine since 1000 BC. According to Roman tradition, the Palatine was the place where Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf that nursed them keeping them alive in the “Cave of the Lupercale”.


Day 4 - Catacombs, Villa Borghese

Your first excursion of the morning is approximately 8km out of the city. The catacombs are actually a cemetery, named after the martyr St. Sebastian, who is buried here. They were originally called “ad catacumbas”. According to the widely acknowledged explanation, the name signifies “near the hollows”, because of mines located in this area. The name was later used generally to indicate a subterranean Christian cemetery.

Next you will move on to the Villa Borghese. Stretching from above Piazza del Popolo to the top of Via Veneto, the villa crowns Rome in a glorious canopy of Green. There are museums, a theatre, a bio park, a lake, a winter ice skating piste, rollerblade and skateboarders space as well as numerous fountains dotted throughout. The Park was originally a private vineyard, redesigned and enlarged in 1605 to grandiose proportions for pope Paul V's nephew, the Cardinal Scipione Borghese. However, it was named after the Borghese family on the condition that it boasted the most luxurious and magnificent dwelling in Rome.

Some free-time can be enjoyed either side of your evening meal on what unfortunately is the last night!


Day 5 – Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain, shopping, depart Rome – arrive UK

On your final morning you can squeeze in  two of Rome’s most romantic landmarks. The Piazza di Spagna is one of the most famous images in the world, as well as being one of the most majestic urban monuments of Roman Baroque style. At the foot of the stairs, you will find the famous Barcaccia Fountain, however, the main attraction of the square has to be the spectacular staircase of Trinità dei Monti. Built on the request of Innocent XII and created by Francesco De Sanctis in the eighteenth century, this daring architectural feat with its ramps and stairs that intersect and open out like a fan definitively provided a solution for connecting the square and the Trinità Church above.

The Trevi fountain, inspired by Roman triumphal arches, is the largest and most famous Baroque fountain in Rome (standing 25.9 meters high and 19.8 meters wide).  In 1629, Pope Urban VIII, asked Bernini to sketch possible renovations of the fountain, finding it insufficiently theatrical. After the Pope's death the project was abandoned. Bernini's lasting contribution was to situate the fountain from the other side of the square to face the Quirinal Palace (so that the Pope could see and enjoy it). The Trevi Fountain as we know it today, was designed by Nicola Salvi in 1732 and competed in 1762. Across 2015 it has undergone a considerable restoration and re-opened fully in November.

Depending on flight schedules you may have some time for some last minute souvenir shopping before your transfer to the airport.

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