In the short period of time I have in Rome, every event seems like it was forever ago, even though it may only have been a day or two. Every moment is a new memory, and every day is another adventure to be had. I’ve learned so much already about the culture, the people, and especially the food here that every new day excites me!
For our class’ first two field trips, we did a walking tour of the main historic center including the Pantheon, Spanish Steps, and Trevi Fountain, followed by The Colosseum and Roman Forum. The Pantheon in particular is quite a marvelous sight. It’s one of the few monuments offering free entry in the city, and features the largest concrete dome in the world. All of the attractions were an amazing lesson in culture and history which predates most modern civilizations. One of the wonders of Rome is how well preserved many of the 2000+ year old buildings are, and it truly came through on our walks with the class.
After having had my first gelato in Rome 2 weeks ago at La Gelateria Romana (absolutely amazing by the way), I’ve tried so many new foods here. One of the best things this city does is Aperitivo, which loosely translates to appetizer, but it is much more than that. All you do is buy a drink which ranges from 6-10 Euro, and you get to enjoy an unlimited buffet of pizza, pasta, bread, and various sweets. Moreover, there’s many small bakeries and sandwich shops where you can get a Panino (sandwich) with anything you want for less than 3 Euros (there’s a fantastic one less than 2 blocks from campus)! Interestingly enough, the city is filled with halal eateries, mostly called “Istanbul Kebab,” which offer items similar to the halal trucks on Temple’s campus, so my cravings are never unfulfilled.
No study abroad program to Rome can be complete without travel around one of the world’s most beautiful countries, Italy. My roommate, Mike, and our friend Nikhil, embarked on a Journey to Naples this past Friday. There, we explored the magnificent cathedrals of Naples and toured the mysterious Galleria Barbonica. Nothing however, could beat the experience of eating at the number 1 rated pizzeria in the world, Da Michele. For just 4.50 Euros, we each got a massive pie, which was absolutely amazing. The following morning we visited Mt. Vesuvius, as well as the ruins of Herculaneum and Pompeii, all by train and bus. We capped off our trip to the south on Sunday with a visit to the Amalfi Coast by bus and boat, an unforgettable experience with scenic views out of this world. Then the next day we took a train to the medieval Tuscan town of Siena. It was nothing at all like Rome or Naples. There is an old, rustic feel to the town that really made it seemed trapped in the 15th century, and I felt a sense of calm as I walked down the narrow alleyways which were devoid of throngs of tourists.
I’ve realized so far that sleep is a secondary concern of mine on this trip. There is so much to see and do and time is such a luxury. My parents are actually visiting Italy right now so I am looking forward to this upcoming weekend with them. We shall be visiting Florence, Pisa, Milan, and Venice along with Rome so there will be lots to cover!