One week of school in Italy is like a month in the States. Arriving on a weekend we were free to explore Rome, get lost, and learn that the best restaurants are most often down side alleys instead of the main street. Here are some quick pointers for traveling in Italy that I have either learned through personal experience, friends, or through the advice of my Italian neighbors and my ISA contact, Andrea:
Posts from the ‘Rome’ Category
The Roman adventure began at 11 am on Thursday. My lease was taken care of, bags were packed, and all other personal belongings had been locked in a friends closet. I hadn’t been out of the country since I was, quite literally, a baby…but the time had come! Customs was a breeze, with three changeovers and a fresh passport I had been expecting at least a stop or two, but never had more than ten minutes between gates. Might I add that international in-flight service is fantastic? Much better than stale peanuts, or maybe I’m just a little bit excited. The only catch is the +30 hours without sleep. More than enough time to learn a few new words and read The Italians again.
It has been a busy week for me so far and I realize that this is only the beginning of my exciting journey. To start everything off, I had to hurriedly apply to business school at the University of Georgia, finishing just before heading to the airport, and then say my final goodbyes to everyone at home. The stress of applications and packing was finally over and it was time to leave. I found myself forgetting how confining the bubble of Virginia Beach can be, a comfort and curse that would soon be broken within hours. Going from the tiny Norfolk airport to JFK is like traveling between two completely different planets. The hustle of people exponentially increased, with trailing suitcase creating a maze for me to navigate in order to reach my gate. Panicking for just a split second, I calmed down and remembered that anxiety will get me absolutely no were in the next five months. Letting go of all my trepidations, I patiently awaited to board my flight to London Heathrow.
I never thought that the day would come but on Thursday, December 13th, I found myself facing the last day in Rome. I wondered what I could possibly do with my time on that final day, aside from necessary packing of bags. I ended up making the decision to brave the biting cold outside and give myself a walking tour of my absolute favorite parts of the city (so basically the whole thing). Winding down around the charming streets of Trastevere, up through the bustling city center, along the river to Vatican city, and up the hill to get back home, I got to spend some serene last moments appreciating the insane amount of beauty that Rome beholds. My favorite moment had to be later on in the day when I reunited with my roommates and we ended up being the first ones to see the Vatican City Christmas tree get lit up. It was a truly beautiful end to the best few months I’ve ever had in my life.
Armed with some snacks to go and my iPhone, I attempted to capture some of these moments with my shaky yet well-intentioned filming skills.
Rome is a very busy city full of leisurely people. Despite the fact that walking at a .001 MPH pace is the norm here, the city center is constantly buzzing with both tourists and locals- sometimes to a point where you just really need to pause and breathe in some fresh air that isn’t being closely shared with thousands of other people. This is when a place like Villa Pamphili becomes a much-needed retreat. Read more
When I tell people that I am spending my semester at the American University of Rome, I can’t help but feel like I’m letting them down a bit by admitting that I’m going to an American university, rather than a completely Italian university. However, I am quick to mention the need-to-know fact that, in truth, the AUR is quite different than the university I attend back home in the U.S. Aside from the fact that you can get an American four-year degree from the school and take all your classes in the English language, going to school in Rome has proven to be quite the unique experience. Read more
Last week I turned 22, and my friend had the most brilliant birthday idea: blow out my birthday candles at the Trevi Fountain, and then I get two birthday wishes! Why was this possible? Because I was lucky enough to spend my birthday with two of my best friends (Sam and Kara) in Rome. There is no way I could describe everything we did this weekend, so I will just keep it to our three nights in Roma:
I sat on the bus to Florence nervously tapping my foot for the four hour bus ride. Would I like it? Would I feel safe? Would my apartment be OK? Would I like my roomies? Would I be able to find my classes? Would it be clean? Would I like it?
Most importantly: Would it feel like home? Read more
Like an angsty teenager, Rome is misunderstood. Although most people I spoke to prior to leaving for the eternal city (correctly) told me that I would absolutely fall in love with Rome, there were a couple of people who told me that Rome just wasn’t their cup of travel tea. I quickly realized that I would have to make up my own mind about the city. Having been here for over a month now, I figure there is no better time than now to give my own opinions, and maybe even trump some downright rumors about Rome. Read more
Being a Seattle native, I spend a fair amount of time in coffee shops. I am completely content when I can order a light roast coffee and relax for hours on end with my laptop in a cozy local café. When I thought to do some pre-study abroad research on the coffee shop culture in Rome, I found myself feeling discouraged.