I spent last weekend, in the city of Rome. My study abroad program offers two overnight trips during the semester, the first one being Rome. This was my first trip to another Italian city outside of Florence and I was eager to see how other parts of Italy compare to Florence. My weekend started bright and early Friday morning when my roommates and I packed our backpacks and sped walked to catch the 7:30am bus to Rome. After a 3 hour bus ride and a solid nap later, we finally arrived in Rome. The next day and a half were packed with tours and exploring.
Our first tour started in Vatican City, headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church and home of the Pope. Here we toured Vatican Museums, long halls of paintings, statues, and Renaissance artifacts. After a brief history lesson, we entered the Sistine Chapel where Michelangelo spent years painting the ceiling and large wall mural. This was possibly my favorite part of this trip. Not only was seeing Michelangelo’s work incredible, but I was fascinated learning about the history of the artwork and Michelangelo himself. I was so thankful for our tour guide at this point who taught me so much more than my Wikipedia search did. Everything was made more interesting, knowing the history of it. The tour ended in St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peter’s Square, where Pope Francis holds the Papel Audiences.
Our Saturday was packed with even more excursions than the day before. We met up with our group and tour guide for our guided walking tour of the Roman Forum and Colosseum. The Roman Forum is an area of ruins of several ancient government buildings that were destroyed during the fall of the Roman Empire. Our tour guide lead us down Via dei Fori Imperiali towards the Colosseum, giving us historical background of every building and statue. Standing at the gates of the ampitheater, our guide explained to us the gladiatorial shows and entertainment events that took place in this building. I did not go into the Colosseum because I will be back to Rome in March when my mom and sister come to visit and want to go inside it for the first time with them.
The rest of the day was left to us to explore wherever we wanted until catching the bus back to Florence. The first stop for my friends and I was for carbonara, a famous Roman dish that my Food and Culture professor insisted that we get while here. It did not disappoint.
Next, we headed to the Pantheon, a former Pagan Roman temple. The construction of this building and it’s dome specifically actually inspired Brunelleschi in his construction of the Duomo here in Florence.
Naturally our next stop had to be to try some famous Roman gelato at Giolitti. It was delicious of course, but I am still biased towards my favorite Florentine gelateria.
We strolled down the streets of Rome, gelato in hand, towards the Trevi Fountain, for our obligatory Trevi Fountain coin toss. Completed in 1762, the Trevi is the largest Baroque fountain and most famous fountain in the world. There are many legends about throwing coins into the fountain. Fun fact: an estimated 3,000 Euros are thrown into the fountain each day.
We ended our day basking in the sun on the Spanish steps, chatting about our time in Rome. I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed the city even though we were only here for a short period and only had time for the major tourist attractions. I am looking forward to coming back in just a month with my mom and sister!
Touring Rome has made me so appreciative of the history of everything. I was never a big fan of history classes in school but being in Europe and being surrounded by so much history makes me want to learn the history of everything around me. Traveling to another Italian city has also made me realize how much I love the Italian Culture. I am happy to be discovering my love for this country and its culture and am eager to plan more trips within Italy. In fact, this weekend I have spontaneously booked a trip to Sicily, Italy!
I have so much more I want to share with everyone and am working on more posts so stay tuned for more from my life abroad!