10 Things to see and learn on a school trip to Rome

It is the Eternal City, cradle of Western civilisation, home to Popes, Saints and Renaissance masters… There is so much to see and learn on a school trip to Rome. Today we introduce you to some of the unmissable places during your visit to Bella Roma:

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The Colosseum

Definitely top of the list of our things to do on a school trip to Rome is a visit to the mighty and unmissable Colosseum. Open to the public in the year 80, the Colosseum is a symbol of Rome and also the greatest Roman amphitheatre which used to host up to 50,000 spectators.

From bloody gladiator fights to exotic animal exhibitions and even executions, the nature of games and ‘entertainment’ on those days was very different to the present day. 2000 gladiators died in the 100 days of games organised to celebrate its opening year. The last games were held at the Colosseum in the 6th century.

Roman Forum

Located between the Colosseum and Piazza Venezia, the Roman Forum was the centre of religious, political and social life of Ancient Rome, the heart of the city.

The Forum had a number of temples, as well as triumphal arches and even the Senate ‘Curia’. Its main avenue, the Via Sacra stretched all the way to the Colosseum connecting all the main sites and also serving as a place for ceremonial marches.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Forum got buried and forgotten about until it was finally excavated in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Pantheon

Completed in 126AD and still standing beautifully intact in the heart of the city, the Pantheon is the most exquisite and best preserved building from Ancient Rome. It is a testament to the brilliance of the architects and engineers of that time.

Its most striking feature is the dome, which features an opening or oculus of 9 metres allowing natural light to come into the temple, illuminating the whole building.

Renaissance architect and painter Raphael is buried at the Pantheon, as well as other Italian kings.

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Saint Peter’s Square and Saint Peter Basilica

Saint Peter’s Square is at the heart of the Vatican city-state and home to Saint Peter’s Basilica, cradle of Catholic faith and an important pilgrimage site. It is here where Papal audiences are held, as well as many liturgical celebrations conducted by the Pope.

Easter and Christmas Papal Masses at St Peter’s Square are very popular as many pilgrims want to see the Pope on these special dates.

Built in the 17th century, Saint Peter Square is both impressive for its size and its beautiful architecture; and an absolute must-visit on a school trip to Rome.

It can host up to 300,000 people and the square is flanked by 88 pilasters and 284 columns topped with 140 statues of saints. There is also a 25-metre high obelisk which was brought all the way from Egypt in 1586 and two beautiful fountains.

The Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel or Cappella Sistina is considered Michaelangelo’s masterpiece and one of the artistic treasures you can admire in the Vatican City. The temple was built in the 15th century and Michelangelo spent four years, between 1508 and 1512, painting the dome’s breathtaking frescoes.

It took Michelangelo another five years to complete the frescoes depicting the Final Judgement, another masterpiece located over the high altar.

It is in this incredible setting that Popes are elected and inaugurated.

Castel Sant Angelo

A short distance from the Vatican, you’ll get to Castel Sant’Angelo, built in the year 135 by Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for him and his family. Another must-see on your school trip to Rome.

In the 5th century, it was turned into a fortress and has been used as a refuge particularly for the Pope, as a prison as well as military barracks.

A secret 800-metre corridor connecting the fortress and the Vatican was built in the 13th century, for the Pope to be able to escape and seek refuge in case of a siege.

Underground at the Catacombs

Staying with the underground theme, the catacombs are a fascinating and mysterious network of burial tunnels dating as far back as the 1st century and used up until the 5th century.

Rome’s catacombs were used as a cemetery by Roman citizens of various traditions including pagan, early Christian and Jewish.

They were created due to lack of space above ground in the city at that time; and hundreds of kilometres of catacombs and crypts run underneath the city.

Three coins in the Trevi Fountain

Trevi is the largest and the most iconic fountain in Rome and the current style dates back to the 1700s although there has been a fountain at that particular spot since 19BC.

Its name means ‘Tre Vie’, three ways, as it is at a junction of three streets. Approximately one million euro in coins are collected from the Trevi Fountain each year, which is given to good causes.

The tradition of throwing a coin originated in the 1954 movie ‘Three Coins in the Fountain’. If you throw one coin you will come back to Rome, if you throw two you will fall in love with an Italian and if you throw three you will marry the person you meet.

Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna

Built in the 18th century, the Spanish Steps, Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti in Italian, have become one of the most popular spots in Rome for visitors to sit and enjoy the world go by in the lively Piazza di Spagna.

The Spanish Steps even become a catwalk every July, when the Donne Sotto le Stelle fashion show takes place.

Italian Food

And last but not least on our list of top things to do on a school trip to Rome is tasting its scrumptious traditional gastronomy. Famous the world over, you will sample Italian food at its best in the city’s trattorias, pizzerias and restaurants.

From gelato ice cream to mouth watering pastas, salads and Roman style pizza, you will find a treat for every palate in the lively neighbourhood of Trastevere or the beautiful Piazza Navona.

A visit to Campo de’Fiori and its bustling market is also a must for food lovers. As the Italians say: Buon appetito!

Did you know the Roman Empire or Ancient Rome had such mighty power that it was believed Rome and its influence would go on and grow forever? Hence its nickname ‘the Eternal City’.

Find more details about our school trip to Rome options and itineraries here: BEST OF ROME SCHOOL TRIP and ROME, POMPEII AND BAY OF NAPLES SCHOOL TRIP.

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