Thirty lucky classicists visited the Bay of Naples during the Easter holidays to see the sights and soak up the sunshine.
Lovely Sorrento was the base for excursions to three sites preserved by the ash and pumice of the eruption of Vesuvius in AD79: Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the still-elegant Villa of Poppaea in Oplontis. Later, they were able to see all the fabulous mosaics, frescoes, and sculpture saved from these sites in Naples' Archaeological Museum.
One day was spent doing the Amalfi drive - a cliff-hugging zigzag of a road with a precipitious drop to the sea - down to Paestum, where the girls picnicked in the shadow of the three best preserved Greek temples in the world: ‘The sheer magnitude of the temples was overwhelming’, said Bethany.
On the final day they went across the bay by hydrofoil to Capri to visit the Villa San Michele, a stunning museum and garden. The director the Villa, Steffan di Mistura - also the UN special envoy to Syria, was kind enough to welcome the girls personally with an inspiring speech about the history of the house - we were charmed. The girls made wishes on the four thousand year old Sphinx that looks over the bay, made room for yet another gelato in the rooftop cafe, and shopped in the chic village of Anacapri. As Darcie said: ‘Capri is beauty, tranquility, and amazing views. I have to go back’.
The weather was wonderful, the food was fabulous, and the air was scented with lemons. ‘To see ancient art and archaeology in its original setting broadened my horizons’, said Matilda, ‘It was life-changing’.