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Latin students from Madison tour Italy

During their tour of Italy, Bob Jones High School students trained in gladiator school outside Rome. CONTRIBUTED
During their tour of Italy, Bob Jones High School students trained in gladiator school outside Rome. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – Ruins of ancient civilizations, museums and even gladiator training were on the itinerary for Italy during Spring Break for Madison students of Latin.

“Apart from the sites, students had a chance to engage in cultural activities,” Latin teacher and lead chaperone Raymond Congo said. Departing Huntsville on March 10, they arrived in Naples on March 11 and returned March 18.

They lodged in Sorrento and Rome and took day trips to historic sites. They visited the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, Amalfi Coast, Island of Capri, Emperor Tiberius’ Villa, Pompeii and Ostia Antica, ancient port city of Rome.

“At the cooking school in Sorrento, students prepared Gnocchi, a traditional Italian pasta using potatoes,” Congo Said. “In Rome, we visited the Colosseum, Catacombs, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica.”

They visited the Roman Forum, assassination site of Caesar, coincidentally “on the Ides of March,” Congo said. “Outside of Rome, we trained as gladiators at a school.”

Tourists from Bob Jones High School were Avery Behr, Jacquie Bloodsworth, Shandi Burrows, LouAnn Crosby, Diane Hudson, Daniel Leaphart, Isaiah Preston, Andrew Smith, Daniel Swinney and Kenji Tyler. Emma Waldron from James Clemens and Andrew Ruiz from Haleyville high schools also toured.

“To have a hands-on experience with these sights allows students to appreciate the Roman world on a deeper level,” Congo said. “It’s one thing to explain Pompeii’s size and complexities of life. It’s very different to have students see that for themselves.”

Students were excited to witness sites they had discussed in textbooks — one reason that Congo savors these trips. “Each time I get to see it through their eyes and their excitement is contagious,” he said.

Students had scenarios to apply their knowledge of Latin. When guides asked questions, the students usually answered … and correctly. “I was very proud of each of them for being willing to participate in discussions and their grasp of historical events,” he said.

For Italian cuisine, students raved about the gelato at Della Palma ‘gelataria’ near the Pantheon. “I can’t remember any dishes they disliked. The first night, however, we did have apples for dessert. Students weren’t impressed,” Congo said.

Bob Jones Choir Director Randall Fields also chaperoned.

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