Here at Halsbury, we believe in visiting the destinations that we offer, so that we can provide our groups with accurate, first-hand information and advice. Niall, our history and humanities subject specialist, has personally visited most of the destinations that he recommends to our school groups. Last week, he travelled to Rome, which is particularly popular amongst groups studying classical history and religious studies. As well as sampling some delicious food and visiting some of the Eternal City’s most iconic sights, Niall also had a more serious job to do; inspecting some of the hotels that we work with to ensure that they continue to meet our high standards for health and safety.
On 7th May, with my guidebook and map in hand, I boarded an Easyjet flight from Bristol airport heading to Rome. My first experience of the city involved a significant amount of traffic, as the transfer coach slowly made its way to Termini, from where my hotel was only a 5-minute walk. I soon realised that the best way to see Rome is on foot, although being so close to Termini, the metro was also a good option.
My first evening was spent enjoying traditional Italian cuisine at Mina’s restaurant, which is a favourite for our school groups.
It was an early start the following day for the highlight of my visit – a guided walking tour of Ancient Rome, including a tour of the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. I saw first-hand the importance of our Itinerary Managers booking entrance for our groups in advance; as there were some pretty major queues for those who had decided to turn up on the day, without pre-booking tickets. After lunch, I returned to Hotel Archimede, to carry out its regular health and safety audit, before heading off again to visit the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps and, of course, the Trevi Fountain. A local tip-off meant that I was fortunate enough to taste what is considered to be the best pizza in Rome that night at the Re Degli Amici restaurant, close to the Spanish Steps.
My final morning of what was an all too short a stay was spent carrying out another audit at the Hotel Dina, before I decided to transfer back to the airport via the Leonardo Express train, rather than the coach.
With my coin tossed into the Trevi Fountain, I am assured of my return to Rome and look forward to advising schools groups, particularly those studying classical history and religious education, on the hotels and sights of the city very soon.