Our First Week in Rome

Dear Parents,

We have now completed our first week in Rome and are experiencing what has become Europe’s never-ending summer with temperatures well into the high 20s. Our hotel, situated in the popular Trastevere neighbourhood of Rome, is situated just a short tram ride away from the heart of the eternal city. Some of us still prefer the occasional walk to and from the city.

Monday evening, students and teachers headed straight for the infamous Trevi Fountain where many of us snapped photos, tossed coins and made wishes before we were treated to what is reportedly Rome’s best gelato. The flavour selection was dizzying and the portions…. enormous!

students in front of the Trevi Fountain

Tuesday, after classes ended, we were given a guided walking tour of some of Rome’s magnificent highlights. We discovered the reason behind why the Spanish Steps were built; learned about the history and architecture of the Pantheon; sat down for a rest in front of the Fountain of the Four Rivers (Fontana Dei Quattro Fiumi), and marvelled at the history of the 2000-year-old Piazza Navona.

students in front of the Pantheon

On Wednesday, we were introduced to the ever-popular Italian street food and sampled Rome’s famous trapizzino in, where else, but at the Trapizzino Trastevere. The culinary delight has become a popular choice for lunch with our students.

students holding up a Trapizzino - famous Roman street food

By the end of the week, we had set aside our daily academic lessons to visit and learn firsthand about Rome’s famous oval amphitheatre, the Colosseum, an iconic symbol of imperial Rome. Students were astonished to learn of the many spectacles involving wild animals that took place in front of 80,000 spectators. They tried to envision the gladiator contests and, still fascinated, some went home that evening to view Ridley Scott’s, “The Gladiator”. Also that afternoon, we delved deep into the history of the Roman Forum, the true heart of Rome.

students in the Colosseum

It seems that every turn we make as we walk in this historical city we pass by another ancient ruin that tells its own unique tale, or an excavation site and archeological dig with a story that has yet to be uncovered.

This past weekend was filled with an optional excursion to Gladiator School and Blyth Academy’s Amazing Race Rome. For the latter, students scoured the city in teams of four to locate sites and ruins yet unseen on previous walkabouts. The real objective was to give students a sense of independence to explore and navigate the streets and neighbourhoods of Rome on their own. No one got lost, more photos were snapped and the art of dropping a pin on google maps was mastered by all. The winning team was led by Chloe, Michael, Aiden and Ryan.

As well, this weekend, a few parents flew over to visit with their children and explore the sights and sounds of this enchanting and timeless city. We also had an opportunity to celebrate Michael’s birthday with him and hope that turning 17 in Rome will remain a special and lasting memory.

Our stay in Rome is far from over. This ancient city’s charms will beckon us back daily to experience even more fascinating finds before we finally have to say “arrivederci Roma” and fly off to our next historical destination, Greece!

Best regards,

Monika Quinn
Head of School