Days 3 and 4 of the Honors trip to Rome were dedicated to day trips to two major locations:  Vatican City and Ostia.  Read all about it here!


DAY 3:  WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17, 2015

Our trip to the Vatican started off on quite an exciting note when Dr. Umberto Utro, curator at the Vatican, brought us into a generally closed area of the museum so that we could see the Jewish Lapidary of the Vatican, which contained the remains of the Jewish catacombs — numerous ancient Jewish tombstones marked with menorahs.  We spent the next few hours exploring the rest of the Vatican, where we saw some of the greatest works of art in Rome, including Raphael’s famous 16th century fresco, The School of Athens.

Our group at the Vatican

Our group at the Vatican

Prof Cwilich with Dr. Umberto Utro, curator at the Vatican

Prof Cwilich with Dr. Umberto Utro, curator at the Vatican

On our way back from the Vatican, we visited St. Peter’s Square, the famous piazza designed by Bernini in the 17th century under the direction of Pope Alexander VII.


DAY 4:  THURSDAY, JUNE 18, 2015

Our destination for the day was Ostia Antica, a large archeological site that was the location of the harbour city of ancient Rome.  It started falling into decay by the end of the Roman Empire and was finally excavated in the 20th century.  We walked through the ruins of this ancient city, looking at its surviving frescos and mosaics.  

One of the highlights for our group was seeing the ruins of an ancient synagogue that had been discovered at Ostia Antica and was in the process of being excavated.  We were lucky enough to meet the excavation team while we were there and to daven mincha in front of this ancient synagogue!

Mincha at the ruins of Ostia Antica's ancient synagogue

Mincha at the ruins of Ostia Antica’s ancient synagogue


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