We have been exploring the world from our computer screens for some weeks now, and for now it seems that is how we will continue!
Each week we’ll be putting together a digital tour of our best destinations which you and your students can explore from anywhere! These resources are easy to share with your students and aim to help bring learning to life and support their learning as they cover topics at home.
This week we look forward to the brighter times to come and travel to the beautifully sunny, Sorrento! A traditional and picturesque town sitting on the outskirts of many historical sites. We use Sorrento school trips as our Italian base from which to explore the Neapolitan region and the Amalfi Coast.
Hop aboard the famous wooden train around SORRENTO!
We begin with Mount Vesuvius which can be seen from all around the town, proving hard to ignore. Although in a dormant phase, the composite cone volcano is highly active with some 3 million people living in its shadows. This volcano’s most notable eruption was in 79AD when it covered the nearby Roman settlements of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Since then it has erupted almost 40 times with the last eruption occurring in 1944. Towering over the skyline of nearby Sorrento and Naples, you can’t help but admire the overwhelming presence this natural landmark has on the region. Visitors can learn more about the geological processes and landforms within the volcanic landscape in the now protected national park surrounding the volcano.
Arguably, one of the most well-known and popular historical sites, is that of Pompeii and its ruins. Once a bustling Roman city, the volcanic explosion of 79AD captured a day in its life preserving its inhabitants and buildings for centuries to come. Buried under several layers of ash and rock, the extent of the preserved city wasn’t discovered for centuries after the fact. Perhaps the most moving preserved casts are of people and animals hiding from the terror that was fast approaching their homes. The explosion of Mount Vesuvius pumped out hundreds of tonnes of hot ash onto the city during its eruption caused by the convergent plate boundary of the African and European plates meeting and forming a subduction zone. Pompeii is an extraordinary and fascinating experience and definitely not one to miss.
Like its neighbour Pompeii, the ancient Roman town of Herculaneum was also buried by the 79AD volcanic explosion. Buried under approximately 20 metres of ash, it lay hidden for many centuries before being discovered and excavated in the early 18th century. Today, only part of the town remains explored with focus now on preserving the already excavated parts rather than uncovering more areas. However, unlike Pompeii, Herculaneum was buried much deeper and so much more has been preserved. Additionally, the heat of the volcanic material thrown onto the town preserved lots of wooden household objects as well has preserving the upper storeys of many buildings. Unfortunately, the inhabitants suffered a much more painful fate as recent research shows that they were exposed to toxic fumes from the pyroclastic flow and subsequently suffocated, whereas previously it was commonly thought that inhabitants were vaporised in the extreme heat.
Another excellent geological landmark is that of Campi Flegrei which can be translated as “Burning Fields” in English. Otherwise known as Phlegraean Fields, this is a specialist geological site situated around 40km north of Naples and made up of 40 ancient volcanoes making up a large supervolcano. It is known for its bradyseismic uplift phenomena which is the gradual uplift of the Earth’s surface by the filling of the underground magma chambers in calderas. One of Campi Flegrei’s highlights is a dormant volcano called Solfatara which is full of bubbling mud pools and fumaroles from which jet streams of sulphur are emitted. This reminds us of the molten lava that still runs underneath the ground surface below our feet.
Why not take a virtual boat trip to the Isle of Capri over the clear blue waters and explore the island which has been a acclaimed beauty spot for many years. You will also be able to take in the many rock formations such as fissures, caves and the limestone crags called sea stacks. Whilst on the island, you can visit Anacapri which is the island’s tallest summit allowing you to see the impressive top of Monte Solaro and giving a wonderfully unique perspective of both sides of the island. Additionally, the botanical Gardens of Augustus offer a beautiful and panoramic view of the ocean and cliffs. Overall, the island is a jewel in the Mediterranean Sea.
While travelling to the Isle of Capri, take the time to stop at the island’s most famous tourist attraction, the Blue Grotto. This sea cave was formed after years of erosion and sunlight illuminates the crystal-clear water, impressing visitors with its intense blue colour. You will have to disembark your boat and get onto a small wooden boat to fit into the cave. Close to this Blue Grotto is the Green Grotto which, although popular, is much less crowded. The waters are as beautiful and as impressive at the Blue Grotto’s as the water is a stunning green colour, an effect caused by the reflection of the light within the cave.
Our final excursion is a Coastal Road Drive along the Amalfi Coast from Sorrento to Amalfi, a 40km stretch of coastline, winding past villas, vineyards and cliffside lemon groves. An outstanding example of Mediterranean landscape, the mountains plunge into the sea just metres from the road. The cliffside village of Positano sits along the way with its pastel-coloured houses and pebbled beach fronts and the drive is full of stunning oceanic views until you reach Amalfi itself. Home to artistic and archaeological excellence, the Arabic-Norman Cathedral will draw you in while the turquoise seas and stunning piazzas cement Amalfi’s status as a picturesque tourist hub.
That brings today’s virtual trip to a close, we hope you have enjoyed exploring Sorrento’s stunning attractions. Check back on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for our next virtual trip!
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