In February half term the Geography department took 50 students from Year 11, 12 and 13 to the sunny south west of Italy.
After flying from London into Naples, the journey from the airport to our hotel in Sorrento was out of this world! Sorrento is a coastal town known as the City of Orange and Lemon Groves, as the streets are lined with orange and lemon trees. A country where they allow pasta as a starter… we had arrived!
We had an amazing spot, with our hotel looking out over the Bay of Naples – meals with a view! Also, our rooms had balconies overlooking the sea and we had a communal room between all of our bedrooms where we all gathered to play games in the evenings.
When we arrived we were tired but nothing was going to stop us from having our first adventure! We all got the local train from Old Town Sorrento into Sorrento City Centre, which was the first ice cream and slice of pizza stop of the trip! We thoroughly enjoyed exploring the area before we got the train back. After using public transport and our GCSE Italian language skills, we felt like we’d really achieved something special that evening.
We spent the morning of the second day wandering the ruins of Pompeii, the famous preserved ancient city that was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE. Our tour guide Laura was amazing – it wouldn’t have been half the experience without her. She taught us so many interesting things about this ancient city. For example, archaeologists have only excavated roughly half of Pompeii, and have decided to leave the rest untouched, which was a surprise to many of us; the sheer size of what we saw had us thinking they had uncovered the whole city. They decided not to excavate anymore to keep it safe. We saw the preserved bodies, the original artwork, shops, and houses, all with the view of Vesuvius behind us. It truly was a spectacular experience.
That afternoon, we piled back on the coaches and began the trek up Mount Vesuvius, where we would be dropped off half way and hike to the top. After getting about half way, it began to snow, so when we got to the top we could not see a thing. To quote our bus driver: ‘if you get off now, you’ll be spending the night up there!’ So we had to go back down before we got stuck!
Instead, we visited one of the other towns buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, called Herculaneum. This smaller city was destroyed by pyroclastic flows (fast moving clouds of gas and ash). In an attempt to escape these flows, the people of this city, rushed to the sea, and now dozens of skeletal remains can be found in the boat houses. Herculaneum, like Pompeii, was unbelievable. To be freely walking around the homes and businesses of those alive nearly 2000 years ago was very surreal. The original stone oven was still in the bakery, original tile floorings and paintings were everywhere!
The following day, we took a hydrofoil to the island of Capri, in the Bay of Naples, where we explored the shops and took a boat tour around the whole island – of course, making sure we identified all the geological formations around the island, including caves, arches and more. We went into the crystal clear blue waters of the Blue Grotto where so many A list celebrities have gone before us.
That night, we went authentic pizza making! We all dressed up and were taught how to make the pizza, starting with the dough, and we then picked our toppings and had the chance to flip our pizza dough in the air before we watched it go into the huge pizza oven. That evening we were entertained with Italian dance while we tucked into our masterpieces!
On the final day, we toured around the beautiful Amalfi Coast and on to Rovello, stopping at all of the famous tourist stops along the way. The boat trip around Capri was many people’s favourite part of the whole trip, so we were super lucky when on our tour of the Amalfi coast – with a bit of haggling – we were offered another boat tour to see the stunning sights of the Amalfi Coast and Rovello!
Overall the visit was a huge success, and lots of fun. Thank you so much to the Geography department for organising this trip.
Agnes (Year 11)