There is so much to do and take in here in Rome that it starts to feel overwhelming. However, I keep reminding myself that I don’t have to do every single thing in one week because I’m here for 3 ½ months! However, that hasn’t stopped me from having fun and going out to experience what Rome and the surrounding areas have to offer. Temple has done a great job at organizing some unique events to help us all experience the Italian culture.
Mario Teleri, the printmaking professor, hosted an evening of Italian cooking – his other passion. He provided a demo on how to make a sauce from scratch and provided everyone in attendance with a sampling. He also provided everyone with a copy of his original recipes so we could experiment with cooking some true Italian recipes in our own apartments.
The Sunday before classes started we were treated to a special trip to the hill towns of Todi and Titignano in the Italian countryside. Early in the morning, four buses greeted us near the Residence and we got on board for a two hour drive to Todi. The scenery along the way was breathtaking with the many rolling hills, vineyards, and sunflower fields. When we arrived at our first destination, Todi, we had to hike up a steep hill but the reward was an amazing view of the countryside. We then had a couple hours to explore the small town that was once used for filming Romeo and Juliet. After walking around with some friends it was time to head back to the bus to go to Titignano, where a traditional 13-course meal was awaiting us.
When we got to Titignano there were tables outside of the ancient castle with hor’dourves. As I ate the delicious prelude of what was to come, I took in yet another breathtaking view of the countryside. The lunch meal took about 3 hours to complete and consisted of so much food and wine. It was truly a great cultural experience and a great way to end the week long orientation and prepare us for the first week of classes.
Even though classes have started, Temple is still organizing great events to immerse us into the culture of Rome. Gianni, the student’s activities coordinator, hosted a tour of the University of Rome. We not only got to see what an Italian university looks like but also heard the many ways that college education differs from the American system. For example, it can take an Italian up to 20 years to complete their program because it’s done at their own pace, and they have to pass up to 30 oral exams in front of professors who question them about books that they have written.
Early on a Sunday morning we were treated to an 8 hour walk of 12 miles of the ancient Aurelian Wall in Rome. This is the wall that used to confine the original city of Rome, and many parts of it are still standing today. It was definitely a long and tiring day; however, how many people can say they walked around the historic perimeters of the ancient Roman city?!
Yet another event that took place was that we got to experience a ballet in the middle of the Roman forum. How cool is it that I get to say my first ballet was in the middle of ancient ruins? The show featured contemporary jazz music and professionally trained Italian dancers who moved with such grace and beauty. It was definitely a memorable and fun experience.
Temple has done a great job at organizing events for us in and around Rome which allow us to have an enriching look into Italian culture. There are many more events coming up over the course of the semester, so keep checking the Temple Rome blog to read all about them!