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Italian Residential Trips: When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do

Desiree Michels

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It can be hard for a history or classics teacher to bridge the gap between the past and the present. This is why a residential trip can be so important when the past you are trying to teach happened more than 2000 years ago. But what if, more than just seeing the ruins of the great Roman Empire in Rome, your students could actually see it as it would have been? What if they could step back in time?

The Time Elevator

While time travel technology may be a way off still, the organisers of the immersive cinematic experience the Time Elevator in Rome, have found a way to take your pupils back to the city’s earliest history. By combining an immersive cinema with three huge screens, sensory stimulants like wind and rain, mobile platforms in which the seats move and shake, and state-of-the-art audio and video effects, the cinematic Elevator brings the history of the city to life.

The hour-long educational visit will literally recreate Ancient Rome before their eyes, beginning with a re-enactment of the legend of Romulus and Remus and then moving onto create a virtual reconstruction of the buildings of the city from the ruins that your students can still see today.

A key tourist attraction in the city, the Time Elevator has a special Schools Programme which can include actual tours of the city following the virtual tour so that pupils can see the remains of the city they have just watched being created on screen. Another programme concentrates on the architecture of the Coliseum or the Roman Forum, following the virtual trip, to extend students’ understanding of construction during the era.

A Perfect Starting Point for Exploring Rome

To make the most of your residential trip to the city, harness your students’ enthusiasm after their Ancient Rome Time Elevator experience with a tour of the city, exploring the sights they’ve just seen recreated.

A visit to the Forum or the Coliseum, while they still have the image of them as bustling city hubs from the Time Elevator film, will give them a unique perspective and insight when exploring what is left of them today.

Sights to take in after your time travel adventure include:

  • The Forum – The Roman Forum is one of the most important relics of Ancient Rome, the sight of the city’s commercial centre and home to its municipal buildings.
  • The Coliseum – Probably the city’s best preserved monument, the vast iconic arena would have held around 50,000 spectators watching everything from gladiators to Christians being fed to lions.
  • Circus Maximus – The ultimate entertainment venue in Ancient Rome, this massive sports stadium was the location for the city’s famous chariot races. Today it may be green fields but it isn’t hard to imagine its former grandeur.
  • Pantheon – Built as a pagan temple, the Pantheon was converted into a church when Rome moved toward Christianity. The building’s vast unsupported arch is still a marvel of structural engineering today.

For history or classics students a residential trip to Rome is a wonderful opportunity to see the ancient world that they read about on the page, come to life before their eyes. Make sure you contact a specialist education tour operator to ensure you and your students get the most out of their visit to the city, for what could be, the educational journey of a lifetime.

Author Plate

John Gardiner is the Managing Director of The School Travel Company, a tour operator specialising in residential trip itineraries for school and youth groups to the UK, Europe and beyond. As a father and avid traveller, John is very passionate about providing students with valuable and engaging learning experiences outside of the classroom. By sharing his expert advice with teachers, he allows them to inspire their students and bring their studies to life.


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