We started the day off by traveling to the Coliseum where we met our local tour guide Paulo. We got the chance to tour the ancient stadium and the feeling of being inside such a magnificent place was chilling at times. The amount of history that was shared with us was unreal and the students soaked it up.
After the Coliseum, our tour guide took us out to the Roman Forum. Here we were able to see the ancient ruins of the central part of ancient Rome. It was surreal as we actually visited the very place Julius Ceasar was cremated after his assassination. All throughout the morning I would hear the students saying things that confirmed they were enjoying every minute of the experience.
After a morning of ancient Romans, we ate lunch and then headed to the Vatican. This was another experience that really cannot even be described. At the Vatican, the group met up with an exceptional local guide and toured through the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica. This part of the day in itself was an experience that some people wait their whole life to have. Standing in the Sistine Chapel looking up a Michelangelo's master piece on the ceiling was almost an out of body experience. Once you have seen this in person you realize why pictures can never do it justice.
From the Sistine Chapel, we toured through St. Peter's Basilica. There is no possible way I can explain that feeling of walking into that place. It is almost impossible to comprehend the shear size of that place and the students were quite awe stuck by the experience.
After all this, we ended up back in the city center to have our last meal together. Early on in the trip I worked with Tiziano (our tour director) to do something special on our last night on tour. We were able to schedule our transfer to the hotel to the latest pickup time and this allowed us to stay in the city center of Rome until a little after 10pm. With 3 extra hours in the city, the students were able to take in Rome at night which was the perfect way to end the trip. Street performers, musicians, lights and people moving around and enjoying the evening seemed to give the perfect setting for the students to end the trip.
As I finish this blog, I want to say thank you to everyone who helped support these students on their journey to making this trip happen. 2 years is a long time to commit and wait and I have no doubt that this was well worth every part of the process. There are 26 RHS students that are coming back from Rome today that have been able to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity. I couldn't be more proud of these students and I think you will see a difference in them as they come back and share their experiences.