I’ve been to Rome before, but for whatever reason, it is my favorite city and it could never get old. I was expecting to come home with a new favorite city, a new favorite culture…but I didn’t. The feeling of walking down a winding Roman street is, for lack of an appropriate way to word such a thing, incredible.
Maybe it’s because I was with family, or maybe it’s because I was in the center of some of my favorite historical stories and legends, I’m not quite sure but I think that not being sure, is part of the reason why I feel as I do toward Rome.
This particular trip was important to me for two reasons. The first, I went to visit my cousin who I believe, if she lived in the United States or I lived there, we would be best friends. The second is, I traveled alone. This was a goal of mine all semester. I had the desire to explore alone, get lost in a beautiful city and find my way, and listen to my favorite songs as I wandered. I got to do all that in Rome and it was perfect.
I got on a train my first full day there and found myself getting off in the hustle and bustle of the business class. I plugged in my earphones looked quickly at my directions and went on my way. I put my phone in my pocket and walked up to pace with everyone else in attempt to look like a native. Knowing the language was a plus, but there was still a barrier because of the dialect they spoke, the dialect I spoke, and my accent.
I decided on going to the Sistine Chapel and doing tours of the Vatican museums. Of course, I took a ton of pictures but my camera, while in my backpack got switched to a setting that literally made my photos turn out black. I was upset but quickly got over it with the mindset that there is something nostalgic about only having memories.
We walked past all the sculptures, paintings, and tapestries that were too numerous to remember all of their stories, but I do remember that they were all tales of battles, beliefs, and superstition.
After about two hours I finally walked into the sistine chapel where my eyes stayed very much fixed on Adam’s finger coming so close to the finger of God. What can I say? Sometimes there are certain paintings you just take to.
Our tour guide explained that the faces of those individuals on the ceiling that were painted in the underworld portion of the chapel were actually faces of people that Michelangelo didn’t quite like – who knew that he had a sense of humor?
The tour ended outside of St. Peter’s Basilica and I asked my tour guide where to go to catch a bus to the Colosseum. Did I mention my tour guide’s name was Saverio? This was also my mother’s father’s name…talk about this entire study abroad experience sending me some much needed signs. Needless to say, I felt I was in good hands.
I walked through St. Peter’s, spent some time in prayer, then went on my way to catch the bus.
I got to the Colosseum and unfortunately it was closed. I spent some time walking up and down the Roman Forum and Imperial Way, then grabbed a bite to eat and read my book. The perfect day.
I then caught another bus back to my cousin’s apartment and waited for her to return from work. When she arrived, she informed me that it was time to experience a Roman night out on the town.
Her friend picked us up and we grabbed something quick to eat. I’m surprised I kept my dinner down due to the “Italian way of driving.” We pulled up to this club that was right next to the Pantheon. LIKE WHAT?! Sure, let’s listen to The Chainsmokers directly next to the highest man made dome in the world that is also a sacred church… how crazy is it that two worlds collide so naturally there? My cousin’s friend pointed out a man across the street from us and told us that he was a famous Italian actor. I said to myself, “what in the world is he doing here,” then realized that I was in the middle of one of the most popular cities in the world.
The next day my cousin and I decided to go to the Colosseum. We’ve all seen Gladiator right? It was something like that.
We walked around some of the streets that your average tourists may not find, and those streets were the best ones. We popped into this little shop that you could buy pasta to make at home and they also made two kinds there. Your options were limited to two pastas and two kinds of sauce. It came in a to go container with a small cup of wine in a dixie cup, (They’re very casual wine drinkers there, did you know?!). This pasta from this hole-in-the-wall shop was probably the best pasta I’ve ever had. Then, because of course it was necessary, we stopped at a dessert shop specializing in tiramisu. I’ve never tasted calories so worth eating before. Highly recommend. Top of the list. To die for.
We walked to this garden at what seemed like the very top of Rome, and I overlooked the entire city at sunset. I’m not sure how many people make it to the high points of Rome but to look from above has this surreal feeling of knowing that this is the way that the world is supposed to be seen.
When it got dark, we met our other cousin, who happens to be a priest, at the Pantheon. We walked through and he explained some things to me that seemed to be only knowledge of those who had to go through the seminary. We also got to walk past the very crowded Trevi Fountain. Last time I was in Rome, the Trevi was closed but this time is was open and flowing, a must see at night time in Rome.
Before I knew it, my trip was up…the Rome trip and my study abroad experience…