Lulu Bennett's trip to Rome

Posted on: 19 April 2023 by Lulu Bennett in 2023 posts

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CLAH263 The Roman Experience: History, Archaeology and Heritage is a new second year module that provides students with detailed, first-hand knowledge of key sites and monuments in and around Rome. One of the students, Lulu Bennett, has written about their experiences in Rome.

During the module students develop their understanding of the archaeology of the city of Rome and learn how to contextualise the archaeology in terms of the historical and socio-cultural processes of ancient Rome. Following four weeks of classes in Liverpool, Fred Hirt and Matthew Fitzjohn led the students to Rome for six days of sites and museums, with the odd stop for coffee, ice-cream and cakes.

Lulu Bennett's experience

Our trip to Rome, as part of the second year module - The Roman Experience: History, Archaeology, and Heritage, was incredibly insightful and provided a unique perspective into the ancient city and was perfect for getting your steps in! Personally, I had never visited Italy prior to this trip, so that in itself was great opportunity, and witnessing Rome with the knowledge of Matthew and Fred, who were exceptional tour guides, was such an honour and we learnt so much while we were out there. 


The trip started with an orientation walk which took us past the Trevi Fountain and into the Pantheon, where we were all blown away by its beauty, as well as a little confused about the hole in the ceiling. The following day we visited the Baths of Diocletian and walked along the Tiber. The day ended with us spotting the Colosseum from a distance and catching our first glimpse of the Roman Forum, which set the excitement for the next day. As part of the module, we had to give a brief presentation about two monuments of our choice, which we had prepared in advance, so for most of us this was the day! I, for one, was a bit nervous, but after seeing both the Forum Nerva and the Regia in person, I was soon at ease; we were also encouraged to take as many photos and videos as we could for our coursework, to help us formulate our websites. After visiting the Forum and walking up the Palatine Hill, we saw some iron-age huts and then ultimately, we found ourselves in the Colosseum, which was incredible and so surreal to stand in.

Rome image

On the Friday we walked through the Villa Borghese to the British School of Rome, where we were shown around the institution, which left many of us feeling inspired to have a think about life after graduation. Additionally, we saw the Vatican and the Hadrian Mausoleum from a distance and were simply amazed by the size. The day ended with a visit to the Palazzo Altemps where saw some beautiful examples of sculptures and pottery, with dates ranging from the oriental period to the late classical era. 

Pottery in Rome

The final day of activities led us outside of the city centre and around the Aurelian Walls, where we even managed to see Keats’ grave through a tiny window in the wall. We walked past the Baths of Caracalla and looked down at the Circo Massimo, which was filled with dog walkers and runners - rather different from the charioteers that had once raced there. Our ultimate excursion was to the Palazzo Massimo, which houses some of the most beautiful ancient art in the world. One of the most amazing things in the museum was the ivory mask of Apollo, which had lived such an incredible life of crime and secrecy. Although I did feel a little let down, as Myron’s Discobolus had been rented out to another museum…

Mask of Apollo

The trip, while being incredibly informative, still felt like a holiday, and amongst all the history we enjoyed plenty of ice cream and pizza, while searching for cats, of course. After walking the equivalent of two marathons in the space of six days, it is safe to say we became quite familiar with the city!