On Saturday March 8, 1997, six Monmouth College students including Kim Taylor, Sarah Botkin, Wendy Kanapackis, Beth McGrew, Jennifer Cordes and Brook Cumorich, who were accompanied by Brian Bowen and Prof. Urban, departed for an eight day tour of Rome. Sites visited included Rome, Sorrento, Naples, Pompeii, Herculaneum, Cerveteri and Vatican City. After a smooth flight the plane touched down in Rome early Sunday morning. A seven hour time difference made no difference to the group as they set out walking the streets of Rome right away. By the time most church goers in the States were getting up to go to church the group had been to three churches!!! The beauty and magnificence of the inside of the churches can not begin to be described. A tour through the opera house was the highlight of the day. That evening a taste of the fine Rome cuisine was sampled at a local restaurant. Pasta, of course, was a main dish!! An early bed time was observed this night due to the long flight. The next day included a tour of the Forum and the Colosseum. At the Trevi Fountain everyone threw in their coin for good luck and a return to Rome. We even stopped at the first McDonalds in Rome. On Tuesday the group was to be found in Vatican City, the world's smallest country. We did not see the Pope but we toured through St. Peter's Cathedral. The newly renovated Sistine Chapel was a huge attraction for all visitors. On the public bus ride back to the hotel a new meaning of closeness was discovered. The following day we journeyed to Sorrento with stops at Monte Cassino, a monastery rebuilt after its destruction in World War II, and Herculanium, a city damaged by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Sorrento was a beautiful tourist spot located on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The next two days were filled with trips to Naples and Pompeii. In Naples we visited the National Archeological Museum which was filled with artifacts discovered at Pompeii and other sites. Pompeii had also been damaged by Mount Vesuvius, however, some rooms were still very much intact. Visitors could get a good picture of what life was like for early Roman citizens. On Friday night some of the students partook in the local night life which included a stop at the disco. Saturday was the return trip to Rome and was filled with shopping! The students explored the city on their own and did so with ease. A local parade was also witnessed that day. Our last day was a day with the dead. We toured Etruscan tomb sites and a museum of Etruscan burial artifacts. Some students actually laid on the beds where the dead had been laid out. A final bottle of wine and a Sicilian blood orange was had at the last supper in Rome. The trip was enjoyed by all and everyone hopes that their coin in the Trevi Fountain will take them back to Rome some day.

by Kim Taylor and Sarah Botkin