4×4 rides, boat journeys, gelato, pizza and more on Invicta Grammar School’s Tour to Italy

Last updated: Jan 30th, 2019

Earlier this summer 40 eager staff and students from Invicta Grammar School journeyed to Italy’s stunning Sorrento and Sicily on their geographical adventure. The budding geographers had a trip to remember, experiencing dramatic Mount Etna to mighty Mount Vesuvius, the preserved ancient Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum to the steaming fumaroles at Solfatara… and much more!

As well as the girls jotting down their highlights, their experiences have also been captured on film.

Watch the video…

3rd June 2016 – An action-packed first day

Full of anticipation and enthusiasm for the days ahead, we were far too excited to sleep on the way to the airport despite a very early 2am start. Accompanied by Amelia, our courier from Rayburn Tours, we were happy (and relieved) to find out she was half Italian so would be able to translate everything for us.

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By 9.30am we had arrived in Naples and with a full day ahead of us we began exploring the beautiful Sorrentine Peninsula. We began with a guided tour around Solfatara volcanic crater which was located between Naples and Sorrento.

Our tour guide Frederica talked to us about the historical and geographical aspects. Did you know that Solfatara was used as a sauna and bath house, but with temperatures soaring up to 140 Degrees Celsius people died there? Our tour guide told us it was good to breathe in the sulphur – even though it did smell of rotten eggs!

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Next stop was Herculaneum, a town covered by ash during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. We very much enjoyed exploring the historic site and it helped us to understand how large the Vesuvius eruption was and the great impact it had. The experience of seeing the skeletons of people caught in the eruption was very moving, especially as some were ‘covering’ others in attempt to protect them.

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Our home for the night was Hotel Giosuè a Mare, which had magnificent view of the beach from everyone’s balconies.

4th June 2016 – Scaling Mount Vesuvius

On the second day of the tour we trekked up Mount Vesuvius which is over 1000 metres high. As we climbed higher our ears popped because of the altitude but the breath taking views of Naples and the sea made it worthwhile!

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Our tour guide told us all about the history of the volcano and we witnessed the steaming crater, a great experience for us all which we will never forget! We then bought souvenirs from the shops including sculptures made out of volcanic rock as a momento.

In the afternoon we ventured to the famous town of Pompeii, where the guide began by showing us the amphitheatre, where the gladiators fought. Afterwards, we strolled through gardens recreated to be as they before the eruption and saw the homes of both rich and poor.

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What better way to top off the day than with pizza and ice cream at a lovely pizzeria nearby?

On Saturday night we travelled on the night ferry to Sicily. Although the journey was a little rocky overall it was very pleasant and we all enjoyed travelling by sea – the view from the deck at night was spectacular!

5th June 2016 – Sicily, we’ve arrived!

On arriving in Sicily we stopped to pick up some breakfast before heading to the beautiful classical civilisation site of Syracuse. First we looked at the amphitheatre were they performed Greek plays in Italian, before visiting a cave, which was used to hold prisoners. There was also a site where people would sacrifice animals to the Gods to keep them calm.

After lunch we ventured to Alcantara Gorge and on arrival were directed into a 4D cinema room for an entertaining overview of the gorge and its formation as a result of volcanic processes. We then visited the gorge itself where we enjoyed stunning views and had a little paddle, before enjoying an ice cream from the souvenir shop.

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Our accommodation for the remaining nights was Kings House Hotel Resort. With large rooms, a pool and excellent food, you could say it was ‘fantastico’.

6th June 2016 – Mount Etna Monday

Monday’s highlight was Mount Etna – Europe’s largest active volcano. We first ascended the mountain in cable cars which were great fun, before boarding a special 4×4 bus to take us up to 3000 metres. Luckily there were not many clouds so we could clearly see the amazing view. The steam coming from the summit proved the volcanos activity and we were able to walk around the extinct craters.

Afterwards, we visited the beautiful town of Taormina, which consisted of long, narrow, cobbled streets leading to a town square in the centre. The town had lots of old, traditional buildings and statues including an ampitheatre. We enjoyed exploring the wide variety of shops, cafés and restaurants, picking up souvenirs and an obligatory gelato.

7th June 2016 – ‘ciao’

Sadly on Tuesday it was time to wave goodbye and say ‘ciao’ to Sorrento and Sicily. It had been an amazing and educational trip…one we will remember.