Lucky students from the University Academy Kidsgrove (UAK) have returned from the trip of a lifetime, after spending five days in the coastal town of Sorrento, in south-west Italy.
The students were immersed into the Italian culture to experience the various elements of their Geography and History courses at first-hand.
Sorrento faces the Bay of Naples on the Sorrentine Peninsula. It is perched on the top of cliffs that separate the town from its busy marinas and is best known for its sweeping water views.
In the shadow of olive and lemon groves, the students first embarked on a visit to the working farm Fondo Galatea. Students observed how local farmers produce famous Italian products, including mozzarella, olives, salami, lemons and more. The students then learnt about the production process and the origin of different foods as they took part in a food tasting exercise and discovered the roots of rural culture and farming.
Next, they made their way to Campi Flegrei, an active volcanic area to the west of Naples and home to Europe’s only super volcano. Campi Flegrei means ‘fire country’ and the students described the smell of burning sulphur in the air.
Afterwards, they visited the Flavian Amphitheater, the third largest Roman Amphitheatre in Italy, which gave students a deeper understanding into the world of Roman spectacle and gladiatorial combat. The arena could hold up to 50,000 spectators and most of its interior is still intact. The atmospheric corridors and subterranean chambers are filled with ancient stonework and objects. The openings in the ceiling and the long central ditch which divides the arena served to raise animal cages, performers, elaborate scenery, and decorations up to the surface via a sophisticated system of ramps and elevators.
The next day, students took a ferry trip to the affluent Isle of Capri, where they explored coastal landforms, erosion, stacks, caves and arches, which brought to life the work they had been doing back in the classroom. After exploring the crystal clear seas, students then had time to discover the beautiful city of Capri and some put into practice their outstanding Italian language skills with the locals.
A visit to Mount Vesuvius then followed, which is best known for its eruption in 79AD that led to the burying and destruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The eruption ejected a cloud of stones, molten rock, ashes and volcanic gases to a height of 33km. The area is covered in dead and dying trees that provided evidence of the toxic gases regularly vented from the hot magma below.
Students then stepped back in time as they explored the city of Pompeii, a vast archaeological site in southern Italy. Once a thriving and sophisticated Roman city, Pompeii was buried under metres of ash and pumice after the catastrophic eruption. The preserved site features excavated ruins of streets and houses that can be freely explored.
On their final day, it was time to travel to Naples. Students took an underground tour of the Greek and Roman Napoli – an unexplored world, isolated by time. They explored how the ancients solved the problem of supplying enough water for Naples in a semi-desert area. After touring the streets of Naples, students then made their way to the airport to for the long journey back home to Kidsgrove.
Mr Smith, Geography Teacher at UAK said: “Visiting Sorrento really was an ideal opportunity to bring classroom teaching to life in the most vivid and immediate way and we would like to thank its students for immersing themselves in the experience to the utmost in order to build on their knowledge, to all of the staff who accompanied them and parents for their support.”