In this Summer 2022 highlight, our Greece & Italy group shares their exciting last few days in Naples and Rome. 

The last few days have been BUSY—in the absolute best way possible. We finished our time in Santorini with an amazing pottery class with master potter Andreas Makaris. Andreas helped each of our students craft their own beautiful pottery vessels from mounds of clay.

Group of students and leaders in pottery studio.

Man showing student how to make clay bowl.

After an amazing last day in Santorini, we woke up early to make our way to Naples. Our island living was quickly swapped for the bustling streets and alleys of Naples, Italy. One of our first excursions in Naples was to visit Via S. Gregorio Armeno—nicknamed Christmas Ally because it’s famous for being a place where artisans make Nativity scenes. Our leaders Dimitri and Michael had the opportunity to meet and speak with an amazing artisan, Aldo Vucai, who has been making dioramas and nativity scenes since he was a little boy. He first learned his craft by working with his grandfather.

Man building diorama using natural materials.

Close up of figurines in a diorama of old streets.

After settling into the city of Naples, we woke up the following day to head to the ancient city of Pompeii! We were especially excited because our Smithsonian Expert John Dobbins finally joined our group and has spent years studying and excavating in Pompeii! What a treat to have him along, engaging our students with really amazing details about everything from the structure of the ruins to the curvature in the roads. He really made us all think about how intentionally the city and its struct was designed.

Three students holding trays of pastries.

Penelope, Sophia, and Lea with some early morning Italian pastries, which made for a perfect breakfast before a day in Pompeii.

Man presenting in front of old columns.

Our Smithsonian Expert John Dobbins, who has spent years studying and excavating at Pompeii, was such a perfect person to have along in the ancient city!

Student taking photo of baths in Pompeii.

Andie taking photos at the baths in Pompeii.

Large old columns in front of blue sky.

Some of the ruins in Pompeii (Photo by Grace Hammons)

After a few days in Naples we headed into the final chapter of our program—ROME! With so many sights to see, after landing in Rome we hit the streets with John who gave us an incredible walking tour of the historical structures just a few blocks away from our hotel.

Today we had a chance to see the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, again with John’s incredible narration. We have a couple more days in Rome and are excited to see many more ancient sites and to continue to spend such amazing times all together. What a beautiful trip it has been!

Guide speaking with students in front of old Colosseum.

John sharing his extensive knowledge of the Colosseum and connecting it to current day.

View of the Colosseum against blue sky.

The exterior of the Colosseum. (Photo by Andie S.)

An old building against blue sky.

A beautiful building in Rome. (Photo by Andie S.)

— Dimitri, Michael, and Giulia