A tint of oranges and yellows covers Rome, between dawn to dusk. The golden sun gives a vibrant touch to all its brick and marbles that overflow the cobblestone streets. But when the night hits, the city comes to live. All the landmarks, light up and it gives a magical feeling to it that cast a spell on you. Despite all the technological advances, Rome is frozen in time, preserving all its history and allowing us in the 21st century to still relive its greatness that prevails.
Throughout the month in Rome we were able to appreciate all its nook and crannies and visit all the important landmarks Rome has to offer. We stayed in Borgo Pio, a neighborhood next to the Vatican City. This was extremely convenient for us, since it was close to everything by walking. The first week we did a long walking tour where we saw the Castel San’t Angelo, crossed the Tiber Bridge to the Piazza Navona. At the Piazza Navona where we encounter shops, artist vendors, street performers, delicious restaurants, beautiful fountains and marvelous architectural sites. Piazza Navona is a perfect example of the juxtaposition of Ancient and Modern Rome; the artists, street vendors and performers in an antique setting entertain you with the fountains, churches and circus shape. Then we continued to the Pantheon, followed by the Santa Maria Sopra Minerva church. At the Trevi Fountain we all made our wishes and later that day we visited it at night to get a different feeling and make a wish again just in case the first one didn’t work. We continued our tour with the Spanish Steps and ended at the St. Peter’s Basilica.
During the month of June we visited the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. The Colosseum was recently cleaned and we were able to see it’s original color. Recently, luxury brands have started to offer donations to clean, restore and repair landmarks in a way to give back to the city. For example, Fendi donated €2.2 million to clean the Trevi Fountain and Tod’s, a luxury shoe designer, donated around 25 million euros as well to complete the restoration of the Colosseum. We also visited the Vatican Museum, which has the Sistine Chapel. I was so amazed by the Sistine Chapel ceiling that I spent 40 minutes there just contemplating such beauty; Michelangelo has definitely outdone himself with that one. We finished the month of June with the Gladiator School, where we learned about gladiators and took a lesson on how they fought each other.
During the month of July we visited the Catacombs of San Sebastian, which was my favorite just because it was around 50º F down there while the city of Rome felt over 90ºF. We also visited the church of San Giovanni in Laterano, Cinecitta, which is the “Hollywood” of Rome, and we finished our study abroad with the Borghese Gallery. Since our classes were mostly field trips so we got to visit smaller neighborhoods such as Trastevere and Testaccio. Both are up and coming and offer a variety of restaurants, shops, modern art and nightlife. These field trips allowed us to learn the history of Rome, but also understand and appreciate modern Rome. Even though we covered a lot, a month was clearly not enough to enjoy this city to its full potential. However, I leave with a soft spot in my heart for Rome and I already started counting the days until I get to come again.