Italy Trip 2019

30 travelers from all over the state enjoyed the sights, sounds, and tastes of Italy this summer on a tour with the Paideia Institute from June 10 – June 20. The 2019 Indiana Junior Classical League Italy trip included 20 students and 10 adults. Students represented Cathedral, Crown Point, Homestead, North Central, and Terre Haute South Vigo high schools. The group spent five days in Rome and four days in the Bay of Naples region, reading Latin inscriptions and passages on site, connecting texts and knowledge from the classroom to real world locations.

June 10 - Departure Day

The group met at O'Hare airport to depart for Rome on June 10.

June 11 - Walking Tour and Palazzo Massimo

Walking Tour - Villa Borghese Gardens, Piazza del Popolo, Spanish Steps

We arrived in Rome early on June 11 and immediately began to explore the city with a walking tour of several sites, including several of the city's obelisks. We visited the gardens of the Villa Borghese, where we encountered our second obelisk of the day and learned the Latin word for sunbathing while reading the inscription on it.

apricor, apricari, apricatus sum

A map of the areas explored on the walking tour day 1.

We next visited the Piazza del Popolo, where we found another obelisk, and visited the Chigi Chapel to see some of Caravaggio's paintings. We took a break for lunch in the area around the Spanish Steps.

Obelisks one and three from the walking tour. Obelisk three in the Piazza del Popolo.
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Palazzo Massimo

We checked into our hotel near Piazza Barberini and in the afternoon we visited the Palazzo Massimo museum. Highlights from the museum included the frescoes from Livia's triclinium, the bronze Boxer statue, and many mosaics.

June 12 - Colosseum, Forum, Palatine, Circus Maximus

Our second day started with a visit to Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli, which features a Moses statue sculpted by Michaelangelo. We read our first Latin selection about St. Peter from Acta Petri.

Areas explored on Day 2


Next we went to the Colosseum and discussed gladiator fights and the ways it showcases the expanse of the Roman empire. We read a short passage from Augustine about the thrill and shock of attending the games.

quo ubi ventum est et sedibus quibus potuerunt locati sunt, fervebant omnia inmanissimis voluptatibus. ille clausis foribus oculorum interdixit animo, ne in tanta mala procederet. atque utinam et aures opturavisset! nam quodam pugnae casu, cum clamor ingens totius populi vehementer cum pulsasset, curiositate victus, et quasi paratus, quidquid illud esset, etiam visum et quasi paratus, quidquid illud esset, etiam visum contemnere et vincere, aperuit, et percussus est graviore vulnere in anima quam ille in corpore, quem cernere concupivit.

Augustine, Confessiones VI.8

Forum and Palatine Hill

After lunch we visited the many sites of the Roman Forum and learned about the imperial palaces on the Palatine Hill. While in the Forum, we read Marc Antony's oration from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

Views of the Roman Forum
Group Photo on the Palatine Hill

Circus Maximus

Our last stop before dinner was the Circus Maximus. Although we didn’t have any chariots, we did have an impromptu footrace.

June 13 - Capitoline Museum and Walking Tour 2

Capitoline Museum

In the morning we visited the Capitoline Museum. Everyone picked a favorite inscription to share from the epigraphy section of the museum.

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We saw the Capitoline wolf, the dying Gaul, the Capitoline Venus, the foundations of the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, bronze Marcus Aurelius, and much more.

Walking Tour - Jewish Ghetto, Tiber Island, Largo Argentina, Pantheon

Reading More Inscriptions

We continued our walking tour of the city and visited the Jewish Ghetto, the Theater of Marcellus, Largo Argentina, Pantheon, and Tiber Island.


Largo Argentina, near the remains of Pompey's Theater where Julius Caesar was assassinated.
Porticus of Octavia
Church of the Gesù
Reading another inscription on an obelisk

Tiber Island Inscriptions

We read the inscription on the Pons Fabricius leading to Tiber Island. On the island we read several inscriptions from dedications to Asclepius.

June 14 - Vatican Day

We visited the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica. We saw the Laocoon statue, the Prima Porta Augustus, Apollo Belvedere, the Sistine Chapel, and many frescoes by Raphael, including the School of Athens.

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Castel Sant'Angelo

We climbed to the top of Castel Sant’Angelo to take in some beautiful views of the city. Castel Sant’Angelo was originally the emperor Hadrian’s mausoleum before being used as a fortress by the popes.

Ara Pacis

Next we crossed the Ponte Sant'Angelo to walk to the Ara Pacis. We read the beginning of Augustus’ Res Gestae from the side of the building before viewing the Ara Pacis itself. The Ara Pacis was moved from its original location in the Campus Martius to its current location next to the Mausoleum of Augustus in 1938.

Piazza Navona

After dinner we visited Piazza Navona, originally the stadium of Domitian. Stadia in ancient Rome were used for athletic competitions. They are similar in shape to the circuses used for chariot racing, but would have held events like foot racing instead of chariots. Today the Piazza Navona features the Bernini Four Rivers fountain topped by yet another obelisk.

Map of Days 1-4 of the Trip

June 15 - Ostia and the Via Appia


We spent the fifth day of the trip exploring Ostia Antica and the Via Appia. Ostia was the seaport of Rome, just down the Tiber River. Students participated in a Latin scavenger hunt in Ostia, discovering the site on their own as they tried to find five locations throughout the city.

Ambulāte ubī Rōmānī ludōs scaenicōs spectant.

The winning scavenger hunt group
Mosaic at Ostia

Via Appia

For lunch, we picknicked on the Via Appia near the bathhouse ruins of Herodes Atticus. We walked on the same ancient road that the Romans did when traveling to and from Brundisium. We saw the tomb of Caecilia Metella and read Lord Byron’s reflection on the tomb. We also visited the Circus of Maxentius and the Catacombs of St. Sebastian.

We also visited the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the cathedral church of the Diocese of Rome and the Trevi fountain.

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Ostia and Via Appia Map

June 16 - Naples Archaeological Museum

On day six we transferred down to the Bay of Naples region. We visited the Naples Archaeological Museum before arriving in Sorrento. The museum features many fabulous pieces excavated from around the Naples region. We saw the famous Alexander mosaic and many wall paintings at the museum. We also read a passage from Tacitus about a riot at the amphitheater in Pompeii.

Sub idem tempus levi initio atrox caedes orta inter colonos Nucerinos Pompeianosque gladiatorio spectaculo quod Livineius Regulus, quem motum senatu rettuli, edebat. quippe oppidana lascivia in vicem incessentes probra, dein saxa, postremo ferrum sumpsere, validiore Pompeianorum plebe, apud quos spectaculum edebatur. ergo deportati sunt in urbem multi e Nucerinis trunco per vulnera corpore, ac plerique liberorum aut parentum mortis deflebant. cuius rei iudicium princeps senatui, senatus consulibus permisit. et rursus re ad patres relata, prohibiti publice in decem annos eius modi coetu Pompeiani collegiaque quae contra leges instituerant dissoluta; Livineius et qui alii seditionem conciverant exilio multati sunt.

Tacitus, Annales 14.17

June 17 - Mt. Vesuvius and Herculaneum

Mt. Vesuvius

After the bus drove us up to the 79 AD crater, we hiked up to see the 1944 crater on Mount Vesuvius. Once we were at the top, we had a beautiful view of the Bay of Naples and we read a selection from Pliny about the eruption in 79 AD that destroyed the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Nubes — incertum procul intuentibus ex quo monte; Vesuvium fuisse postea cognitum est — oriebatur, cuius similitudinem et formam non alia magis arbor quam pinus expresserit.

- Pliny, Epistulae VI.16

Pliny compares the cloud from Vesuvius' eruption to a pine tree like the one below.


In the afternoon we visited Herculaneum, one of the cities destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Herculaneum was destroyed by pyroclastic flow, a fast moving mass of hot ash, gas, and rocks. The pyroclastic flow rushed down from Vesuvius in 15-20 minutes, filling the city instead of burying it in ash like Pompeii. As a result, more second story buildings are preserved in Herculaneum. Trip participants were asked to take a selfie with their favorite find from the site.

June 18 - Pompeii and Oplontis

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On day eight we visited Pompeii, a town buried by ash during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. We saw the forum and several Roman houses. We followed the road outside of town to visit the Villa of Mysteries and went to the amphitheater as well.

We visited Oplontis in the afternoon. It is an ancient villa that offers excellent examples of the four styles of Roman wall painting.

First Style

(from Herculaneum)

Second Style

Third Style

Fourth Style

June 19 - Capri

On the last day of the trip, we visited Capri. Students had their choice of activities on the island. A group hiked up to the Villa Iovis, the secluded estate of the emperor Tiberius. Another group visited the Blue Grotto and others went swimming and shopping.

We ferried back to Naples and made the drive to Rome where we had one last dinner before catching our flight in the morning.

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