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A Jesuit College Preparatory Experience

Students Explore Greece and Italy on 2019 Classics Tour

On this summer’s Classics Tour, thirty one rising juniors and seniors studying Greek or Latin spent three weeks travelling across Greece and Italy. Students encountered firsthand the historic sites, art and culture they have studied in their Greek and Latin classes and had the opportunity to explore some of the most astounding places in the world.
The first Classics Tour was hosted in 1979, making it Loyola's oldest continuously-run immersion trip - now in its fortieth year! This trip is unique because it enables students to earn academic credit for Honors Classical Civilization. Students write journal entries, complete group assignments, take quizzes and work on projects to earn their credit. 

“It was incredibly fast-paced, as we visited a new city almost every day, and I really loved seeing both popular landmarks like the Erechtheion’s Caryatids (my favorite!) and lesser known gems like the Pomposa monastery,” says Isabella Lombardo ’21. “I think one of my favorite moments of the trip was visiting Siena right before its famous Palio horse race; you could just feel the excitement in the air!”

“I had a blast learning all about what today’s societies are built on. Some places, like Il Gesù, were also extremely spiritual and really helped me grow in my faith,” adds Mia Rode ’21.

Chaperoning the trip were Loyola Academy Latin and Greek teachers Mr. David Mathers, lead chaperone, Ms. Amanda Pagnotta, Mrs. Becki Wick and Ms. Jessica Harrington

“The students grew a lot in their knowledge of art history, certainly, and came to be able to discuss the stylistic and thematic choices of artists and architects over the ages,” Ms. Pagnotta reflects. “But what I think was most exciting for me to see was the awe that they felt when they went to those places that they had learned about in class. Standing on the cliffs of Mycenae and Delphi, walking into the Pantheon and in the vaulting of the Vatican, the students were able to live and breath what these places meant, not only to themselves, but to the ancient people who set foot there. It was those moments that I enjoyed being a witness to because I saw these stories and lessons become real to them, not just grades on a test or facts to be learned.”

Ramblers visited historic sites such as the Acropolis, the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Continue reading below for an overview of this incredible trip. 

June 16-17: Greece
  • Students departed from the United States and arrived in Athens.
  • After students settled in, they walked around the Acropolis area.
June 18: Athens 
  • Ramblers toured one of the most impressive sights of the city, the Acropolis (a World Heritage Site) and visited the New Acropolis Museum.
June 19: Athens 
  • As the day began, students engaged in a city tour and visited the massive Temple of Olympian Zeus.
  • They also spent a substantial time in the National Archaeological Museum. This museum has the golden “mask of Agamemnon” from Mycenae and great examples of Classical Greek art.
June 20: Delphi
  • Students visited the ancient oracle of Delphi, one of the holiest sites for the ancient Greeks and a World Heritage Site today. While they were taking in the incredible views, they saw treasuries, the theatre, the stadium and the museum. 
June 21: Mycenae
  • Ramblers started the day touring the legendary ruins of Agamemnon’s Mycenae (a World Heritage Site). This is the place where Heinrich Schliemann, a pioneer archaeologist, discovered the beehive tomb, the Lion’s Gate and the citadel palace.
  • In the evening, students walked around the Venetian town of Nafplio, which is considered to be the most beautiful town in Greece.
June 22: Epidaurus and Ancient Corinth
  • After touring parts of Greece, the students returned to Athens and stopped at Epidaurus (a World Heritage Site), home to the sanctuary of Asklepius, god of medicine. Also at this site, they toured a theater with amazing acoustics. 
  • Later that day, they visited Corinth where, with the second-oldest Doric columns in Greece behind him, St. Paul exclaimed his famous quote to the Corinthians, “Faith, hope and love abide - and the greatest of these is love.”
June 23: Greece to Italy
  • In the morning, Ramblers did some final explorations in Athens and then flew to Milan, Italy.
June 24: Mantua and nearby
  • The students first stopped at the Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin in Curtatone, one of the most unusual churches in Italy with a votive crocodile hanging from the rafters.
  • They then stopped at Mantua (a World Heritage Site) to see a Renaissance church modeled after the Roman Baths of Caracalla and the Palazzo del Te.
June 25: Verona and Ferrara
  • At the beginning of the day, Ramblers explored the city of Verona (a World Heritage Site), which is full of remains from all the time periods of Italian history.
  • They then arrived in Ferrara (a World Heritage Site), where a guide led them on a tour through the contrasting medieval and Renaissance areas.
June 26: Ravenna and nearby
  • Ramblers began the day by visiting Ravenna (a World Heritage Site), which has some of the most impressive early Christian architecture and mosaic work to have survived.
  • On the way back to Ferrara, they stopped at the beautiful Romanesque Abbey of Pomposa and the Po Delta.
June 27: Bologna and Arezzo
  • Ramblers stopped at Bologna (a World Heritage Site) and saw its arcades and newly restored Neptune Fountain. They then visited Arezzo and saw its paintings of Piero della Francesca.
June 28: Siena
  • Students visited Siena (a World Heritage Site) shortly before its July Palio Horserace. The streets were filled with colorful flags and other markers from each of the participating neighborhoods.
June 29: Florence
  • Ramblers toured many sites in Florence, including: the Dumn, the Piazza della Signoria, and the Accademia Gallery (site of Michelangelo’s “David”). 
  • They also visited the incredible Uffiza Gallery, where they traced the birth of the Renaissance.
June 30: Medieval towns and Renaissance Country Villas 
  • As the Ramblers travelled south to Rome, they stopped at impressive sites both medieval and Renaissance: the village of Bagnoregio, the Villa Lante and the Villa Bomarzo (Villa of the Monsters).
July 1-6: Rome
  • The students ended their trip in Rome. With a substantial amount of time to spend here, Ramblers toured many significant sites: the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Vatican, Borghese Gallery, Church of the Gesu (the mother church of the Jesuits), ancient Roman port of Ostia and the Via Appia and its aqueducts. 
  • At Cerveteri (a World Heritage Site), Ramblers visited the Etruscan tombs. 
July 7: Departure
  • After an amazing three weeks touring Greece and Italy, the Ramblers departed from Rome and travelled back to Chicago.

The next Classics Tour is scheduled for the summer of 2021. For more information, contact Language Department Chair Margaret Rice at

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