We’ll I’m sad to say that the 2022 Rome Study Tour is over. Everyone went in their different directions, some for the comforts of home and others extending their classical adventures to other parts of Italy and Greece. We had an absolutely amazing year and the group will never forget the adventures. Despite being stuck at home for the past two years, everyone jumped in feet first and did the very best they could, and we have a lot to show for it! We learned about so many ancient sites and monuments, while exploring a modern culture different from our own and appreciating life outside Canada. Pretty impressive for two weeks! Thanks to everyone who made this trip possible for students and to those who made the trip great at every turn!
Finally, the last group to leave, Myana, Kiara, Cashel, Kariane, Natasha and Rachel, enjoyed their last day in Rome before an evening flight to Athens. We’re all appropriately jealous. Good luck everyone! Enjoy home and the ongoing adventure. We miss everyone already!
Say it isn’t so! I hate to report that we’ve reached our final day of adventures here in Italy. We saved a big one for the finale—the Vatican Museums! There are some things that every classicist needs to see at the Vatican, but we also need to be savvy navigating the maze of hallways and different spaces that make up this place. Luckily, some of the most famous (well, famous to classics folks anyway!) statues and monuments are behind the ropes of the Gregoriano Profano wing, for which we had a special permit. In other words, we had the entire space to ourselves! Here we found quite a list of stars: the Cancelleria Reliefs, the Haterii tomb, the altar of the Vicomagistri, the Mosaic of the Unswept floor…the list goes on. We’ll talk about all these things and more below as our day unfolds!
We’ll update you all later on our final night together. No one wants to say goodbye!
The Palazzo Massimo museum is a real gem. It’s hard to know what to focus on because everything is so exceptional, from the bronze boxer to the surviving Fasti (Roman calendars). But we also wondered how to view all the mundane, ordinary things that we’ve now seen in every museum visit from the Bay of Naples to Rome. Don’t they also deserve attention? So, we chose one thing to really have a serious look at in this blog post—a regular ol’ bust of Caracalla.
Alex is a big fan of Haiku, so all the students came up with a Haiku about the bust and we decided to share them with you all. You need a few points of reference to appreciate these: 1) Caracalla committed fratricide, perpetrated upon his brother Geta in 211 CE so he could be sole ruler of the empire. What a guy, eh?; 2) He often wore an odd beard in his portraits that is difficult to not comment upon; 3) He always has a grimace on his face. Here is the bust in question:
Okay, here goes with our poetry…
Kyoko went for a metaphorical piece, subtle yet poignant in its simplicity:
Abby landed upon an unconventional line breaking system to great poetic effect:
Kaley’s simplicity pays off with a clear precise message: what’s wrong, mate?:
Rachel went for a peppier theme seeing a glimmer under that furrowed brow we all can’t help but comment upon:
I think Sydney’s face says it all while she contemplates the contradiction of an “imperial frown”
And one last output from Nancy, who is going incognito on this authorship:
Why you mad, broski? / Killed me in a dirty way / Hope you go down dweeb
So, there are other things at the Palazzo Massimo (other than fabulous poetry, that is) and we highly recommend a visit when you find yourself in Rome. Even if your just passing through, it’s directly across from Termini, the main train station in Rome. Drop your things in “Left luggage” (which still exists despite the many changes the pandemic has brought to travel) and walk 5 minutes to this fabulous museum!
Okay, that’s our day at Palazzo Massimo! Join us tomorrow for our final day together. It’s a big one—the Vatican Museums!
Today was our big trek around the Campus Martius, where tons of the most famous monuments from antiquity are located. It is also the home to a bunch of the obelisks that the Romans stole from Egypt. From temple facades to giant carved columns, the Campus Martius delivers an amazing (and busy!) day out for a bunch of classicists!
Join us again for our final two days together (how does time fly?!) in some of the iconic museums of Rome. Next stop: Palazzo Massimo!
Ostia! For anyone who knows and loves Ostia, that exclamation mark is for you. Ostia, the port of Rome, was the hub of international trade and travel in its heyday. There’s lots of evidence in the city for the presence of traders and others hailing from all over the Mediterranean and beyond. The city was important from the Republican period onward because of its strategic location protecting the Tiber and ultimately the city of Rome itself. Our Western group had the day to explore the back alleys and hidden corners of this fabulous site. Check out some of the highlights!
Stick with us for a long hot day tomorrow exploring the Campus Martius in Rome. We’ll bring you through hundreds of years of Roman history in this one area!
So, lots of churches in Rome are built from old Roman buildings and stuff that was lying around disused. You can often tell, especially when a church has totally different columns down the nave, that it has been built from other buildings. I mean, why not? I’d probably do the same. Very early churches in Rome were also built directly over other buildings like pagan temples or inside and over older Roman houses. So, when we visit these sites we can often go below the church to see the original Roman structures, sometimes in really good states of preservation. That’s what today was all about, with visits to San Clemente and its Mithraeum several meters below the current church, and San Giovanni in Laterano, which has the doors from the original Curia (where the Roman senate met) standing proudly on the front of the church. We ended the day at the Baths of Caracalla, which is another site in Rome not to be missed.
Our next stop is the Roman port of Ostia. This site is incredible and not to be missed, so join us for those adventures soon!
As nice as the weather is here in Rome, it’s also nice to have some indoor days to beat the heat. We did that with a day exploring two very different museums—the Museum of the Imperial Fora and the Capitoline Museum. The imperial fora were the public spaces built by emperors where they could advertise their power with statuary, friezes, and temples to their patron deities.
Some of our days in Rome are spent ticking a bunch of sites off our to-do list. This was one of those days. Things seem a little chaotic but there’s a logical path around this quarter of the city that takes in the Porticus Octaviae, Theatre of Marcellus, Temple of Apollo Sosianus, San Nicola in Carcere, the temples in the Forum Boarium, the Arch of the Argentarii, the Circus Maximus and the Ludus Magnus. That’s quite a mouthful! We had a theme going that covered the Republican victory temples, but that gave way to places with a sporting events theme…or something…well, it’s all in Rome anyway!
Join us next for two of Rome’s best museums: the Museum of the Imperial Fora and the Capitoline Museum. Lots of obligatory and iconic pictures that we’ve taken many times over the years!
Where to start? On the very hottest day of the trip (32 Celsius/89.6 Fahrenheit) we were scheduled to see the beating heart of Rome—the Forum Magnum and the Colosseum. It’s difficult to exaggerate how important the forum was to the ancient city of Rome (and to modern tourism today). Buildings like the temples of Saturn, Castor and Pollux, and the divine Julius Caesar still stand proud (in various states) and the key to Roman politics, the Curia, looms over it all. The arches of Titus and Septimius Severus are practically complete and still a wonder to inspect up close. Check out our adventures below as we plod through the heat to explore the heart of Rome!
Yesterday was a travel day and we’re heading north to Roma!! But there’s so much to see in Italy and lots to do along the way, so we’ve got a few great places to tell you about first. From Roman colonies to famous amphitheatres, this trip does not disappoint!!