We travelled out of Rome today to visit Hadrian's villa and Ostia. Both sites were vast and we could have spent an entire day at each. We enjoyed the tranquillity of each place even though there were several other school groups there - Laura tells us that this is a cultural week and so several teachers are taking their classes out and about. Highlights from today include...
-Insights into Roman life with laundry rooms, toilets, restaurants and houses obvious at Ostia and servant and palace rooms seen at Hadrian's villa.
-Learning about Hadrian and Antonius and their relationship. While the girls acknowledged that this was a little strange by todays laws and morals they were pleased to discover that love did exist in Roman times as the relationships they had studied appeared to be about convenience or improving status rather than love. Many also found it interesting to learn about the talent that Hadrian had in terms of knowledge of science and art, his sense of enquiry and exploration, and his ability as an architect. But above all the girls were moved by the depth of feeling in the relationship between Hadrian and Antonius and the quotes illustrating this continued to be discussed during dinner.
-At Ostia the girls were impressed with the number of different rooms and discovering the extent of the trade with countries in the Roman Empire and those beyond.
-Other highlights included the little island palace at Hadrian's villa, the smaller theatre at Ostia which wasn't as grand as some we've seen but was more 'real' for some of the girls.
-Toilets seem to feature a lot in our days, the lack of public toilets and the state of cleanliness are certainly common discussions but as we are able to flush toilet paper again since leaving Greece we are usually able to over look most things. So it wasn't really a surprise that the remains of a private and communal toilet at Ostia also featured in the highlights. The girls also learned the origins of the saying 'got the wrong end of the stick' today, perhaps ask your girls about this one when they get home!
A bit of a low point at lunch today with undercooked pasta, over charging and a lack of change but our wonderful guide Laura helped get it sorted and as it was our first bad food experience we can't really complain. We've made up for it again tonight!
We have an early start tomorrow, leaving the hotel at 6am to visit Pompeii and Naples, so it is breakfast on the bus for us!