Upper school Geography and Design Technology pupils spent October half-term holiday in and around the magnificent city of Bologna, Northern Italy. The geographers explored a number of exciting aspects of physical and human geography and the designers gained an insight into how iconic cars such as the Lamborghini were built.
Head of Geography Mr Howard Collison tells us more:-
Following a short flight from Heathrow, pupils were given a guided tour of Bologna. During the tour students gained detailed explanations for the range of Bologna’s nicknames including ‘the red, the fat and the learned’. On the main square, we gathered around the Fountain of Neptune, inspiration for the trident logo of the locally produced Maserati cars. Further time was spent in the Piazza Maggiore before a visit to the inspiring Basilica di San Petronio. The tour ended at the Anatomical theatre of the Archiginnasio. This was part of the University of Bologna (the oldest university in Europe) and the location of the world’s first plastic surgery. Before catching the bus back to the hotel students spent time in the various eateries and shops in Bologna seeing first-hand the importance of food to the area.
Venice was our destination for the whole of day two. We started with a guided tour of the city spending time in some of the less crowded back streets away from the main tourist areas. This included visits to the thought-provoking Venice ghettos, still home to many Jewish venetians. Students were made aware of how Venice’s geographic location and wealth of resources had been instrumental in making Venice one of the richest cities in the world. Enormous cruise ships coming into Venice also showed students the massive impact tourism has on this unique city. The tour ended at St Mark’s Square with its array of expensive coffee shops and the awe-inspiring Basilica San Marco. After some time for shopping and some wonderful ice cream, we took the vaporetto along the Grand Canal bearing witness to an array of wonderful buildings, magnificent bridges and skilful gondoliers.
Day three started with a visit to the Lamborghini factory and museum. Here students saw first-hand how the Huracan and Aventador are built. The museum also gave a full history of the company from its beginnings as one man’s idea to rival Ferrari, becoming part of the VW Group in 1998 and its more recent foray into SUVs. Several impressive cars were seen in the museum, including the iconic Countach as well as the more modern Urus. Some students were lucky enough to go on the virtual reality simulator although I suspect Lewis Hamilton has nothing to be too worried about. Quickly onto the Ferrari museum, students were able to contrast these two supercar companies. The importance Ferrari places on motorsport was clearly visible in the wonderful displays of past and present Formula One cars. The day ended with a tour of the Ducati factory and museum. Students were able to see how these iconic motorbikes were made as well as hearing about the history of the company including geographic reasons for its recent growth in Europe and the USA. Several of these classic red motorbikes including the Moto GP and Panigale versions were seen in the museum.
Our final day started with a visit to the Acetaia Sereni balsamic vinegar factory. Here we learnt how balsamic vinegar was produced and the importance the local soils and climate play in the production of the best balsamic vinegar in the world. The highlight of the tour was the tasting session where students tried a variety of balsamic vinegar. This included tasting the 25-year-old “Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena D.O.P” very different to the balsamic vinegar they had tasted back home. It was also interesting to see how the company has diversified its production, even producing a white balsamic vinegar and one with truffle infusion. This diversification was further highlighted at lunch which took place in one of their converted farm buildings now used for “agro-tourism”.
The final visit of the trip was to the Pagani museum and factory. Our tour started with an introductory movie of the history of Pagani. We learnt Mr Pagani originally started working at Lamborghini after being recommended by Enzo Ferrari himself. In the guided tour of the museum, we were given a brief history of the company as well as viewing all the Pagani models ever made from the early Zonda to the more modern models of the Huayra series. We then moved on to the factory which was unlike any other factory the students had seen before. Each station was operated by a single individual who worked on the car interlay by hand. No machinery could be seen, and no conveyor belt or strict deadlines had been set. The entire factory had been designed to look like a typical Italian market square, with a clock tower and lamp posts marking every workstation. We continued our tour into the parts construction area with every piece here being crafted entirely from carbon fibre-based materials. A quick trip to the airport and smooth flight home ended a most memorable trip.