Tectonic processes, landforms & hazards
Mount Vesuvius dominates the Bay of Naples and is the only volcano in mainland Europe to have erupted in the last 100 years. The volcano is closely monitored by volcanologists ensuring the safety of residents living on its slopes and makes an excellent example of hazard management. Visit the UNESCO sites at Pompeii and Herculaneum, destroyed by the Vesuvius eruption of 79AD, to see how devastating a major volcanic eruption can be. The letters of Pliny the Younger formed valuable insight for early volcanologists.
The roman empire and its army
Palatine Hill is one of the original seven hills of Rome and is both the centre and oldest part of Rome, overseeing both the Roman Forum and Circus Maximus. Home to the cave where Romulus and Remus were found, this is the birthplace of Rome as a city, with inhabitants dating back to the 10th century BC. Emperors including Augustus and Tiberius lived here. The Roman Forum, located at the foot of the hill, was the centre of Roman life. Surrounded by important government buildings it also served a location for shrines and temples, government elections, military processions, gladiatorial matches, legal trials and public speeches. If Palatine Hill was the seat of power of the Roman Empire, the Forum was its beating heart. A tour of the architectural ruins on these sites will clearly demonstrate the power and importance of Rome in the ancient world.
Roman city life
The remarkable preservation of archaeological sites allows us to step into the empire of Rome, two millennia ago. Compare the plush residential town of Herculaneum, to the grandeur of Rome’s Colosseum and Circus Maximus, to the bustling market town of Pompeii. There’s no better way to feel a part of Roman life than relaxing in the buildings of the public baths in Pompeii. The Colosseum was a cultural focus of Roman society, with a wide range of entertainment hosted in the 60,000 seat arena. Take a guided tour inside and envisage the spectacle of gladiator fights, dramatic productions and re-enactments of the empire’s latest victories, all designed to impress the public and demonstrate the power of Rome.
Urban change & growth
Italy has had civilised settlements for over 3,000 years. Naples offers a wealth of archaeological riches showing what life was like in ancient cities – how do these compare with modern cities? Take a tour of Naples’ underground caverns; dug as mines by the founding ancient Greeks then developed as subterranean aqueducts by the Romans that were in use until the late 19th Century. Used since as both rubbish dumps and air raid shelters, these underground networks are now a popular visitor attraction, as well as sites of scientific research and unusual concert venues.
The Vatican is the centre of the worldwide Catholic church and home to its leader, the Pope, in the eyes of Catholics, God’s servant on Earth. The Holy See of Rome has been a site of pilgrimage for Catholics for centuries, seeking a more profound understanding of their faith and of the history and life of their Church. Take a tour of the Vatican to encounter these renowned places of worship, religious artefacts and architecture. How are they used and how do they impact on those that experience them?
The Vatican Museum is home to a world-leading array of sculptures, icons, paintings and sacred calligraphic texts. Investigate the impacts these have on believers and non-believers. The Sistine Chapel’s forty metre long ceiling frescoes were four years in the making and an ideal example of religious expression, depicting scenes from Genesis.
Central Rome’s architecture has many examples of religious expression from across a range of centuries. Compare the fifth Century triumphal arch and mosaics of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore to St Paul Outside the Walls with its 19th Century adaptions to the ceiling, columns and porticos. What are the architects trying to tell us?
Coastal processes, landforms & management
Study coastal processes along the Amalfi Coast and on the Isle of Capri in the Bay of Naples. Spectacularly eroded headlands formed of volcanic or limestone rock have created caves, arches and stacks. If visiting Amalfi, take a boat tour that steers through the immense arch of the Faraglioni stacks. These coastlines present a fascinating case study of coastal management, as the need to protect the local infrastructure and needs of tourism and industry, is balanced with preserving the physical and traditional human landscape of these UNESCO listed areas.
Nicknamed ’Campania Felix’ (fertile countryside), the rural environment which surrounds the Bay of Naples plays an important role in the agriculture of Italy. With fertile volcanic land, an abundance of water supply and an optimal climate, the area is intensively cultivated and ideal for farming. Explore how the region works with the seasonality of key produce such as tomatoes, grapes, citrus fruits, wine and olive oil. Visit a citrus orchard where secondary production creates liqueurs, jams, marmalades and gelato ice cream, or tour Italy’s only certified organic buffalo mozzarella farm.