Between 10 to 14 March 2018, students Years 9 and 10 went on a trip to Sicily, Italy.
Helena Pryce, Year 9, told us all about the experience:
“Year 9 and 10 gathered at school on Saturday at 2:30am, being very sleepy students, and eventually got to Gatwick airport an hour or so later. A peaceful plane ride and we were in Sicily with incredible views, even just after we got off the plane we all were greeted with an amazing mountain view. The first day was mostly touring around Palermo, the capital of Sicily, and seeing the main sights within the city. These included the Church created by Walter Ophamil, the Anglo-Norman archbishop of Palermo and San Guiseppe dei Teatini, a Cathedral considered to be one of the most outstanding examples of Sicilian Baroque because of its stalactite-style roof carved entirely of wood!
Day two and we were in Selinunte touring amazing ruins of temples which were incredible to see in such a good state of repair! We learned about the structures of temples and how the pillars were created with extreme precision. There was also a fortifying wall for multiple temples that we climbed up and witnessed a breath-taking view at the top despite the wind! During the afternoon was a trip to Agrigento with more temples to carefully observe and sketch that was a nice time to relax and enjoy the experience so far. During lunch we even had karaoke and dancing in the courtyard of the restaurant where we were eating outside, apparently because of the Festival of Almonds that was taking place. It was very funny when Wendy got invited up to dance and even proposed to after! A short visit to Piazza Armerina and we saw a massive ancient Roman house that had an extremely large garden and many mosaics on each floor of every room (of which were at least 30 rooms).
The 3rd and 4th days were definitely the best as the temperature was just right especially in the evenings as we travelled through Syracuse, Orgytia and Taormina. The 3rd evening was amazing as the sun was just setting as we walked through the square of Orgytia seeing many beautiful Cathedrals and skimming stones off the shore as we ventured back to the hotel. Taormina was our final destination and was one to remember! As we drove up the mountain past Mount Etna we saw the coastline stretching far out to the north and again, stunning views of the sea. We sat in a Greek Theatre and enjoyed some downtime sketching objects from the stones and just appreciating the trip as a whole. The final night was a bit of laugh as we relaxed a bit and had some interesting conversations with some French students also staying in the hotel. The morning finally arrived to travel home and we landed safely in Luton later that afternoon. An incredible trip to have been on and I would definitely recommend Sicily to people.”
Clemmie, Dora, Ella and Tavi, Year 10 Artists, also wrote a few words:
“The trip to Sicily was inspirational and fun. We had an opportunity to visit a variety of sites that gave us all a genuine taste of the historical architecture and culture of the island. The journals that we were given were really useful for on-site sketching, they allowed us to experiment with different media and types of sketching. We got to practice using the ink and water technique, which has inspired some of us for our classwork. When visiting the fantastic temples in Selinunte we drew sections that helped us understand the structure and explore the texture of stone through our sketches. In Palermo we visited two churches which were decorated with Serpotto’s plaster creations. In the Oratorio di Santa Citta we learnt that Serpotto left sculptural signatures of his name; in this church he sculpted a small snake- meaning Serpotto, in a frame. In the Oratorio di San Lorenzo we were told the infamous story of how Caravaggio’s painting was stolen and possibly cut up into pieces by the Mafia!
In Taormina we visited the Greek amphitheatre which is very famous and breathtakingly beautiful, we sat and sketched some panoramic views here whilst listening to a to a tour guide who had body guards with his important group! We learnt about its history and the famous authors and actors that had been there.
On the penultimate day we had a chance to sketch in the Archaeological Museum in Syracuse, here we mostly focused on the statuary, learning that a Kouros was a youth. Dora sketched some votives by the cults of Ortigia, and some of the objects were quite bizarre such as a lady holding pig some funny grotesques and fools. Altogether a great trip, it would have been good to spend more time there as there was lots to see. ”