St. Stephen’s School: regarding Spring Trips

This just in. For real? You tell me.

Dear Students and Parents,

After the success of Fall Trips, it is time to begin planning for the longer ‘Spring’ excursions. These are scheduled for the week of March 2 to March 6, 2015, but some will leave the weekend before or return the weekend after. Participation, other than for seniors, is mandatory and part of the school curriculum. In addition to a wide variety of organized trips away from Rome, there is a Rome-based program for those students who choose not to travel.

Below, you will find a list of trip descriptions. You are encouraged to read each description carefully and choose the trips you prefer on their own merit.  Precise information on itineraries, arrival and departure times, accommodation and what to bring will be circulated later. Now is the time to think about the proposals and make your selections. Costs of the trips will vary between 700 and 1000 euros and are not covered by tuition. A deposit of 400 euros was included in this year’s fee schedule, and the balance will be payable after Christmas vacation.

The procedure for Trip sign-up is exactly the same as in the past, and every attempt will be made to give each student one of his or her four preferences. You should select four different trips in no particular order, plus the one trip you have no interest in going on. Make sure that all your choices interest you, and please don’t select a trip to a destination with which you are already familiar. All trips will run and, as such, no guarantees can be made regarding placement on one of your choices. 

Please print out, complete and hand in the trip sign-up form (last page), including parental or boarding head signature and a photocopy of a valid passport, to Tina Samath in the Front Office NO LATER THAN MONDAY, NOVEMBER  17TH  AT INTERVALLO. Please ensure that the passport is the one you intend to travel on – flight bookings will eventually be made on this basis. Late forms will forfeit all preference. A list of trips and student participants will be sent home on Monday December 1, along with release forms to be signed and returned by parents. No students will be confirmed on trips until signed release forms have been received.  Please feel free to email me at with any questions or comments you may have.


Dr. Paul Treherne
Trip Director

Iceland – and The Northern Lights

Join this trip to witness the beautiful natural phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis – often referred to as the Northern Lights – and to discover the nature and culture of the Nordic country, Iceland.

In order to see the Northern lights and take advantage of the unpolluted skies to stargaze, we will spend two nights outside of Reykjavik in a farmhouse where during the day we can enjoy walks out in nature and opportunities to interact with farm animals. We will spend three nights in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, where we will enjoy the biggest flea market in the country. We will taste traditional Icelandic food and browse antiques! We will visit the biggest church in Iceland, the Hallgrimskirkja Church, and climb up to its roof to take in the fabulous views.  We will take a journey through the mind of the Icelandic artist Einer Jonsson as we browse his famous 1880’s sculptures at the Einer Jonsson Museum before heading out to the National Museum of Iceland and learn about the heritage and history of this unique country. Depending on the weather, we will hike one of the mountains of a volcanic mountain range just outside Reykjavik. Here we will enjoy spectacular views of Kjalarnes and Reykjavik. After a long day of sightseeing or hiking we can relax in the famous geothermal pools. Other activities might include seeing a farm where the particular and adorable Icelandic horses are bred, whale watching, a visit to the Thingvellir National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), a walk through Elliðaárdalur (a wild parkland of woodlands, rabbits, waterfalls, and a salmon river which leads to the Árbæjarsafn open air museum), a guided tour which takes us to see a volcano crater, a geyser, hot springs, and a tour through a geothermal power plant.

Sign up for this trip for a mix of scientific discovery, adventure, nature and relaxation, but make sure you have a good jacket! Average temperatures in early March range from -2 to 2 degrees celsius!

Ms Levenson, Ms Wotanis and Mr Maggio


Cappadocia, Central Turkey

Cappadocia (‘the land of beautiful horses’) lies in the deep heart of Turkey. It is like no other place on earth – ‘a region of weird volcanic landscapes and rock-carved churches’, of extraordinary geological formations known as ‘fairy chimneys’, a surreal and spectacular landscape which will take your breath away. Largely forgotten by the west until the beginning of the 20th century, it is now a major tourist destination, but in early March (it will be cold; there may even be snow!) we will have a great opportunity to avoid the tourist hordes and revel in the natural and man-made beauties in relative peace and quiet.

We’ll be based in the town of Goreme, living as troglodytes in one of the many atmospheric cave hotels, carved out of the rocks. Goreme was one of the great centers of Christianity from the 6th to the 10th centuries, and the area has become a vast open air museum of UNESCO World Heritage site churches, many with stunning frescoes.

From Goreme we’ll visit places of interest in the region, such as the amazing underground cities. They seem like places out of a science fiction film, but were probably created 3000 to 4000 years ago, and could accommodate around 20,000 people. 8 levels can be visited, but it is thought that some of the cities had up to 20 different levels beneath the surface of the earth. The picturesque town of Avenos offers charming cobbled backstreets, and tumbledown Ottoman, Armenian and Greek buildings, as well as a distinctive red pottery and a bizarre Hair Museum.

There will be plenty of opportunities to walk off our delicious Turkish dinners by trekking through spectacular landscapes of the valleys and gorges in the area, such as the Valley of the Monks and the stunning red canyon of Ihlara, with its numerous churches cut into its sides.

And we’ll learn something of Seljuk architecture as we visit caravanserais (a whole chain of them was built across the Anatolian plains by the Seljuks rulers in the 13th century), and the town of Kayseri (named Caesarea by the emperor Tiberius) with its fine mosque and beautiful covered bazaars of carpets, textiles and over 500 shops.

Other activities planned are a special viewing of the Whirling Dervishes, and a visit to the local Hamam. We may even go horseback riding in this glorious “land of the beautiful horses”.

Dr Pope and Ms DiCataldo



Walking. Perambulating. Exploring.


Picasso. Chagall. Van Gogh. Gauguin.

Local cuisine.

This is about challenging ourselves physically and mentally whilst immersed in the stunning beauty of southern France. By removing ourselves from the routine of city-life, we will follow in the footsteps of pilgrims and artists who have sought out this area for its mystical beauty.  Our days begin with yoga, followed by an exploration of trails and pathways of the region, perhaps the spiritual pilgrimage route of St. James, which would lead us to Santiago de Compostela in one direction and home to Rome in the other.  We shall spend some part of the week exploring artwork by those who sought refuge and inspiration in the landscape and vistas we will be observing on our forays.  Enjoying foods of the land, those specific to the area, is an integral aspect of our trip. Afternoons may include meditation, the chance to try your hand at the canvas, or a cooking class. This will be both a physical and mental challenge, as well as an enriching escape.  Expect to feel strengthened, recharged and rejuvenated. 

Ms Young, Ms Nicholson and Mr Ostrow

Lampedusa: a Land on the Frontier

On this trip we will discover a small Sicilian island in the middle of the Mediterranean, a small part of Europe that almost touches Africa because of its geographical position and its history, both long and more recent. We would like to reflect on a magnificent island where gorgeous landscapes and an enchanting sea are mixed with stories of tragedy and suffering.

This land on the frontier is a door that closes off one world and opens onto another, a world of hope for all who flee from their own land in search of a better life. We would like to discover the beauty of Lampedusa, its landscapes, its sea, the narrow streets of a fishermen’s village and the people who with great solidarity receive those in need. We would like to bring to this island so close to Africa the music of African drums that unites and brings to our minds stories of migrant people. Staying at Lampedusa will give us the opportunity to admire the natural beauties of the island, from the white-sand beaches and blue depths of the sea to the gorges and cliffs that dominate the island. We will get to learn about the life of the islanders, their rhythms connected to the sea, the harbor, the narrow streets, and the local cuisine that combines Mediterranean, Sicilian and African traditions. But most important of all, this trip will be a moment of discovery of “a land on the frontier”, a moment to encounter its people. It will be a place where all can express themselves freely through music and an opportunity to learn to reflect on the current and complex matter of immigration.

Ms Musilli and Ms Weustink

Exploring Italian Opera


Opera was born in Italy around the year 1600. Our trip will remain in Italy where we will explore the nuts and bolts of modern opera. Earlier this fall, the Italian conductor, Riccardo Muti shocked and disappointed theatergoers and the Roman public when he resigned as Musical Director of the Rome Opera. Upset by government budget cuts and ongoing disputes with the various unions that contribute to the daily workings of the theater, Muti refused to continue in his present role.

Our exploration of opera will look behind the beautiful stages and bright lights in an attempt to better understand the daily lives of the people who construct the grand performances. We will attempt to meet with artists as well as the behind-the-scenes workers and laborers. We hope to meet with ambitious students of opera who dream of one day achieving fame on the international stage, and we hope to meet with the technicians who control the lighting and build the sets. By the end of the week, we look forward to having gained a more well-rounded understanding of how a modern opera theater and company survive.

We will also learn more about the history and traditions of opera.

At this time, our goal is to attend two opera performances, Tosca at Teatro Costanzi in Rome and Aida at La Scala in Milan. The first weekend of this trip will be spent in Milan where students will also have an opportunity to visit at least one other cultural site.

Water adventures

Water covers three-fourths of our planet and makes up 55-78% of our body!  Join us to appreciate the different sources and importance of water in Venice, Slovenia or Austria.  In this trip we will be visiting the lakes, castles, natural protected areas, thermal springs and lots more.  This immersion in nature will allow us to appreciate and understand the importance of natural heritage and sustainable tourism.  In addition, we will be going to Europe’s deepest swimming pools, where you will be able to discover or learn how to scuba dive or even advance your diving skills!   This will all be under the guidance and safety of specialized professionals.  If you choose to do a course, by the end of the week you will have an international diving license; meaning that in future you will be able to explore the underwater world even more!   So, get your walking/hiking shoes and swimsuits ready and join us to for more water adventures!

Note: When selecting this trip as one of your options, please keep in mind that there will be some walks in nature and of course that you will be getting in the water!  Please also make sure to indicate if you are already a qualified diver, the qualification you hold and if you have already been on one of our discover scuba diving trips.

Ms Mantzarlis and Mr Monaco


Discovering  Paris was always your dream…you are interested in the arts…you would like to practice your French…. There are so many good reasons  to embark on our Parisian Adventure. With us you will explore the Paris of the XXIst century,  the multi-ethnic aspects of the city, visit the most amazing collections of modern and contemporary art,  admire the architecture of outstanding buildings and of course taste  lots of different cuisine.

Our  program will include the visit of the Louvre by night, the Orsay Museum, The Quai Branly, The Beaubourg Center, The Arabic Institute, a temporary exhibit, an evening at the theatre and lots of surprises.

Paris vous attend! Venez avec nous….

Paris is waiting for you! Come and join us…

Ms Martin and Ms Guerra


Heidelberg and Environs

Heidelberg is small, charming city (120 000 inhabitants) with a rich history and certainly one of the most exciting places in Germany. Its world famous castle and the beautiful surroundings made it the center of German romanticism at the beginning of 19th century. Hölderlin, Eichendorff, Mark Twain were enchanted by its charm and the fame kept the city from being destroyed in WW2. The university (Ruperto Carola) is the oldest in Germany, one of the best in the world (many Nobel-prizes awarded, Martin Luther, Hegel, Jaspers, Gadamer taught here). US-Army installed its European Headquarters during the Cold War in the city, which than became a target during the student rebellion for left-wing terrorism in the late sixties and seventies of last century. In past and present the student (more than 30 000 inscriptions from all over the world), is the most evident feature of the town; he gives this place such a unique young, dynamic and international appeal unlike everywhere else in Germany. You should not miss this trip, as you might lose your heart here, like in a well-known folk-song, approved of by one of your tour-leaders and so many others.  

The tour suggests visits Heidelberg and excursions nearby such as:

      Old town, castle and university of Heidelberg

US-Forces/NATO-installations in the city and their task in post-Cold War times

DAI  Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut Heidelberg, Riverboat-Shuffle

DKFZ– Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, German Center for Cancer Research

BASF Ludwigshafen, world`s biggest factory of chemical products

Outside Heidelberg:

    Strassbourg – European Parliament, Munster, Old city, the real choux-croute

    Frankfurt: Stock-Exchange Market, European Central Bank, Goethe-Haus

   Rothenburg ob der Tauber/ Dinkelsbühl/ Nördlingen – best restored places of   

  medieval towns in Germany

Mr Uhlmann and Ms Buening


“Knossos, a mighty city” said Homer.  Explore the labyrinthine Palace of Knossos, the home of the legendary Minotaur, before the city was destroyed in approximately 1400 B.C.  Besides archeological sites (Knossos and Haghia Triada), accompany us through botanical gardens planted with Mediterranean spices like dill, mint, oregano  – before cooking lessons where we will  learn how to use the same spices and vegetables to prepare traditional Cretan dishes. Join us for our stay in an ecotourism village housed on a large ranch planted with olive trees and surrounded by steep gorges, caves and natural springs. Donkey rides, Byzantine monasteries, ancient frescoes, hikes, archeological museums, stalagmites and stalactites as well as visits to  local  villages.  Explore the wonders of the island which gave birth to the Minoan civilization, with its legendary King Minos.  Come and seep in the culture that preceded the Mycenaeans and Dorians on an island which then, many centuries after both had disappeared, was governed by the emperor in Constantinople before it was sold to the Venetians.  An island, and trip, which combines nature, art, history and fun.

Ms Chemeissani and Mr Brouse

History, nature and fairy tales in the magic North

We will move away from the ruins of ancient Rome to experience a journey through natural beauty and charming places: we will leave to discover Denmark, the land of the Vikings. By cycling, we will visit Copenhagen with its harbour, the Nyhavn, where colorful buildings line the canal and hint at a history of small-vessel traffic. Admiring the Little Mermaid, the Tivoli Gardens and Amalienborg Palace, we will let us be enchanted by the wonderful world of the famous fairy-tales writer Hans Christian Andersen. Keeping on jumping back into the past, we will go to Kronborg Castle, immortalized as Elsinore in William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet”, now added to Unesco’s World Heritage sites list, and to Roskilde, where the Viking Ship Museum is located.

Surrounded by magic landscapes, we will walk on the beaches of Amager and spend an entire day to Funen, a lush island known as the “garden of Denmark” that can be reached through the Storebaelt, one the world longest suspension bridge.

It will be an experience to know magnificent and different sceneries in a unique atmosphere made of history and legend.

Ms Negroni and Ms Bececco


Andalucia: Seville, Granada and Cordoba

On this journey in the South of Spain, we will sample flamenco, Islamic architecture, bullfighting, fiestas and great food.

The name “Andalusia” is derived from the Arabic word Al-Andalus (الأندلس) and this term derives in turn from an older word: Vandalusia or land of the Vandals. It is believed that geographically it referred only to the harbor from which the Vandals departed Iberia for (North) Africa—the location of which harbor was unknown. As well as Muslim and Roman influences, the region’s history and culture have been influenced by the earlier Iberians, Carthaginians/Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Visigoths, Byzantines, all of whom preceded the Muslims, as well as the Castilian and other Christian North Iberian nationalities who regained and repopulated the area in the latter phases of the Reconquista.

We will wander around Seville, the soul of Andalucía, with flamenco as our soundtrack. We will take in the extravagant tradition of fiestas and bullfighting. Then we will move on to Granada, where Andalucía’s enduring historical legacy is brought to life. We will imagine ourselves as Islamic rulers in the Alhambra palace: a vision of paradise, of earthly power, and of vanity. Our last stop will be Cordoba, the long-time center of Moorish Spain.

Last but not least in all these great historical cities we will enjoy one of the best cuisines in the world: we will have great fresh gazpacho, pescaíto frito, Cordoban salmorejo, pringá, jamón ibérico, and aceitunas. For desserts we will taste: pestiños, alfajores, amarguillos, polvorones, and Calentitos.

Mr Di Marco and Ms Monaco


Art in the Czech Republic

Some artists have visions that transform the face of a city, leading them to be identified with the city itself, where their works become iconic. By shaping its forms, by instilling their artistic views in the forms of the city, it becomes a living creature.

These artists consider the city a natural exhibition gallery, to disseminate with their visions, that often take the forms of sculptures or paintings. We will visit the two most important cities of Czech Republic, Brno and Prague, focusing on the modern artworks of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and David Černý. These artists will guide us on a journey where we will be able to question our understanding of arts.

Czech Republic does not mean only modern art, of course, because being in Prague means also visiting the wonderful Prague Castle, the gothic-style Charles Bridge, one of Europe’s most recognizable bridges, and the unforgettable vision of the Old Town Square. Brno, likewise, is the city of the Spilberk Castle, the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul and the original Freedom Square. 

Mr Boccuni and Mr Astremo


Malta is a group of seven islands in the Mediterranean Sea. Only the three largest islands – Malta, Gozo and Comino – are inhabited. The terrain is low and rocky with coastal cliffs.

Malta, in the heart of the Mediterranean, is a melting pot of civilizations with a history stretching back thousands of years. The country has been inhabited since around 5200 BC and a significant prehistoric civilization existed on the islands prior to the arrival of the Phoenicians who named the main island Malat , meaning safe haven. Later the islands were for centuries the seat of the Order of Knights of the Hospital of St John and then part of the British Empire.

The national language is Maltese, which is part of the Semitic language family that includes Arabic.

Traditional Maltese food includes soup (minestrone, fish), pasta and pastry dishes. Stuffed dishes are also a feature of Maltese cuisine. Stuffat Tal-Fenek (rabbit stew) is a national dish.

Come and explore Malta with us.  Share in the traditions, culture and the island.

Ms El Taha and Ms Stewart

Southern Morocco

We will depart Rome for Marrakesh by plane then by private bus to our camp outside Agadir. We will spend 5-6 days learning the basic skills and safety of surfing in various conditions. Because of the time of year, students should be aware that water temperatures will be around 18°C or 65°F. We will be supplied full wetsuits. But cold water will be part of this experience.

Our days will begin with a hearty breakfast and yoga to stretch and warm up.  We will surf and explore various beaches and surf conditions. Also included is a hike into the mountains with guides and a visit to Paradise Valley. We will get to jump into giant pools and explore waterfalls. Students will receive a cooking class on Sunday night on preparation of an authentic Moroccan meal. Nights will be for relaxing overused muscles and playing games.

Leaders will try to teach some basic astronomy and star navigation if the nights are clear.

Requirements: Students must all be able to swim 25 meters without significant effort. If you cannot perform this, do not sign up for the trip. You will be replaced if your parents do not confirm that you are able to swim 25 meters.

For those who have never tried surfing, it is very strenuous in the beginning but rewards you the first time you stand up on top of a wave. You will quickly learn to identify details of waves that make them good and bad to ride. This will be a physically demanding trip. But once you discover the joy of surfing, you will never look at the sea in the same way, ever again.

This trip is for beginning surfers only.

Mr Mottola and Mr Moore