Piazzas, sculptures, gelato, inscriptions … The Groton Rome trip has been a whirlwind of excitement and understanding. Not only did we have lots of fun, we also enriched our knowledge of Roman culture and the Latin language. Our journey started in Naples and ended up in Rome, where we spent most of our time.

In a brief ten days, I learned so much about both modern and ancient Italy. When I look back on the trip, it’s hard to imagine all the sightseeing and learning we managed to accomplish. We visited Mt. Vesuvius, Pompeii, the Villa Borghese, the Coliseum, the Forum, the Pantheon, many piazzas, Horace’s Villa, the Vatican, the Trevi Fountain, and many other places of historic and cultural significance.

Our days consisted of insightful tours and lectures of ancient sites, lots of walking, Latin translations, free time to discover and enjoy the beauty of Roman neighborhoods, and delicious food. We had a minimum of one gelato a day.

Throughout the trip, I gained insight into much more than just the history of Rome. At each ancient site, I experienced a subtle and distinct aspect of ancient culture and society. I realized that there’s a huge difference between learning about something on paper and physically being at a site to appreciate its significance.

My favorite sites were the Galleria Borghese and Horace’s Villa. The ancient gallery consists of a huge variety of paintings and sculptures. I loved the Bernini sculptures and admired how the artist was able to convey motion through inanimate stone. He was able to contrast different textures and perfectly capture expressions and thoughts. We spent a day at Horace’s Villa and enjoyed a scenic picnic by a waterfall. While eating local meats and cheeses, we soaked in the sunlight, relaxed, and listened to the sound of each other’s voices.

On this trip, I realized that although many consider Latin a “dead” language, it’s still living on in the many sites we learned about and visited. Language is never stagnant, and its roots are firmly planted in the rich soil of history and culture.