I’ve finally graduated from the Italian version of Dora the Explorer (something I like to call Doria the Explorer-ia) in that I no longer need Map to jump out of my backpack and highlight the most direct route to wherever I’m headed. I can figure it out. But I have also learned that getting from Point A to Point B is the easy part. You see, Point B tends to be surrounded by an overwhelming amount of shops, restaurants, unidentifiable buildings, and very identifiable tourist traps. Throw in a couple of churches and fountains, maybe a statue or two, and I don’t know what’s important anymore (regardless of how many guidebooks I consult in advance). So, I do my thing at Point B and then walk around looking dazed and confused and then leave. Here in Italy, this is considered a great success—“You wanted to do one thing today and you did it?! Good for you!”—but I always feel like I’m missing something…
Remember the parade last Monday? I went, randomly got my picture taken on a motorcycle, walked around a little and left. That’s two whole things, you realize. But Wednesday I went back for Art History, and my class spent nearly three hours learning about the area. We saw Palazzo Venezia and the balcony where Mussolini addressed his people, walked past the place where Michelangelo died, and analyzed the architecture of Capitoline Hill. It was all really fascinating stuff. Now, to be fair, my first trip to the area was spontaneous…but you see what I mean about missing things? There should be an app for that. And it should be called Roam. And if it doesn’t exist, an informed Italian should start walking around the city plotting GPS coordinates of ALL THE THINGS, including but not limited to these places:
The Olympic Stadium, where I attended an international track meet last Thursday. I had a great view of the high jump event, a decent view of the various running events, and I could sort of see poles being vaulted and javelins being thrown in the distance. The stadium is nothing short of enormous. Highlights included a high jumper setting the national record and Justin Gatlin winning the men’s 100m.
Lido di Ostia, the public beach where I spent Friday with my roommate Jess. The beach was easy to access by metro, the water was beautiful, and the weather was perfect. We happily swam, soaked up some sun, and satisfied our burger cravings at a nearby shack.
Tony’s Restaurant in Trastevere, the one all our friends have been talking about. Wanting to see what all the fuss was about, a group of us decided to go out for dinner on Saturday. Turns out, it was a restaurant I had already tried, the one with the 4 ½ cheese pizza. (The aforementioned app would also make restaurant names a bit more explicit.) This time I ordered a caprese salad and the chicken parmesean, and I was a very happy girl. There was barely enough room on my face for the smile that appeared when the waiter brought free tiramisu out with the check.
The Pantheon, because it’s the Pantheon, but also because Sunday was the mass of Pentecost. The rose ceremony following mass was a breathtaking combination of beauty and wonder.
Old Bridge Gelato, for obvious reasons. This week’s guest judge was Gelato Monster, who stars in Via Sesame, the Italian Version of Sesame Street that I just made up. He likes caramel and french vanilla.