I am sitting here on the morning of my departure from Rome in shock. How did six weeks pass by so quickly? It felt like yesterday I was unpacking my suitcase, eating my first plate of true Italian pasta, and still unsure of what to expect. I wish I could go back to the first day and tell myself not to blink or else the time would be gone. As sad as I am to depart from Rome, I would not go back and change a thing. In six-weeks I have managed to conquer two classes (The History of Art in Rome and Introduction to Risk Management), jam as much Roman history into my brain as possible, eat an obscene amount of pasta, pizza, and paninis, and enjoy my summer in Rome.
When I first arrived six-weeks ago, I created a “Rome Bucket-list” on my phone. At first, the list was simple, like “see the Trevi Fountain at night” and “Tour the Sistine Chapel,” but as I became more familiar with Rome, I added new items like “See the Aventine Key Hole.”
The list got long, even daunting at times, but my Roman bucket-list is a big reason I explored the eternal city until the day of my departure. Some items were completed without a hitch, while others were not. I enjoyed completing every item on my list, but the two highlighted below stand out as the most memorable.
Seeing the Pope
My watch read 11:58 a.m. and the energy in the crowd was palpable. I glance around at the mass crowds filling St. Peters Square: to my right is a large tour group, all comically wearing blue ball caps, and to my left a group of people waving flags I can not identify. After two minutes pass, Pope Francis finally steps out onto the balcony and the crowd erupts in cheer. I suppose that the excitement of the crowd on that Sunday morning was just a fraction of the excitement and noise that happened just a few months ago. Although Pope Francis addressed the crowd in Italian and we could not understand a word, seeing the Pope with our own eyes was surreal.
Every Wednesday and Sunday, Pope Francis makes a public appearance from a Vatican building. I would recommend to any student studying in Rome or person vising the city to make time to attend one of the services. You do not need to be catholic, as I am not, to appreciate the presence of such a powerful figure in the world.