I wish I looked more Italian for my trip to Italy, so they would have recognized me as one of their own. Regardless of whether or not the Romans knew, when I got there I felt like I was coming home. The first three hours I spent in Rome, everyone looked like someone I knew: Poppy, Mimi & Pop, Gram Elaine… It really just made me want to hug someone. After that homesick moment, I decided that I would come back some day with my family. Bogues, remember this. Terrusas, Meagan, you’re invited. We might even have to stay in the Ivanhoe Hostel, whose owner was nice enough to host free spaghetti and cocktail nights! The only problem, I had to speak to him in Spanish because I can’t speak Italian and he can’t speak English. Spanish was our halfway point.
As you may have guessed, my Italian trip was peppered with memorable moments and casually-not-casual food & culture creations. Instead of rambling on about them…
This is an example of how the ruins appear. This is an old house, with some of the walls still standing.
More ruins on the Palatine Hill, which is a wide-ranging group of ruins next to the Colosseum which includes the houses and gardens of emperors and aristocracy such as Augustus!
Tunnel connecting two of the emporer/noble’s houses underground
A relief from the original decor of the tunnel that connects two old castles underground
People actually uncovering ore ruins! It was so cool to see them carefully brushing at rocks and categorizing what they found.
Aimee and I in front of a wall overlooking Roma on the Palatine Hill
I think someone died, because there is a mound inside this alcove with fresh flowers on it. Maybe it was Caesar.
Part of the Roman Forum
Aimee and Ben under a tree on the pathway beside the river that runs through Rome. We had to cross it to get from the city center to the area with all the cheap and delicious restaurants, per the advice of Salvatore (the owner of our hostel). It was so worth it!
Trattoria Pizza da Gino alla Villetta. Our favorite restaurant. We went twice!
An eggplant pizza and a sausage pizza. These are personal ones! HUGE!
Aimee’s interesting pizza. This is how they make pizzas with multiple toppings of this meat/vegetable nature.
Speaking of food, Dad, look what I found!
What the streets looked like in Rome, especially the cheap food section.
Penis pasta. Sorry, it was everywhere.
Rome has spacious, decorated squares called piazzas. They are close together within the city. Usually, each one has a church or important building, as well as a fountain. Artists and vendors set up their wares there to sell to tourists and locals that hang out in the piazza.
fountain in Piazza Navona
beautiful building in Piazza de Navona
Me in Piazza Navona
The Pantheon, which I did not know is a functioning church and final resting place of the famous painter, Rafael. His art is also featured within the structure, along with an altar and pews that people still seem to use.
Us in front of the Pantheon, but of course I got distracted. The people watching in Rome is just fabulous.
Much better. Group shot at the Pantheon!
couldn’t stop taking pictures of the streets in Rome, they were so cozy.
Such a cute little car. Dad, how about we get this one next 😉 ?
Dad, chestnuts!! I almost got some, but it wouldn’t have been the same.
The next day was Vatican Day for us! We tried to beat the line again, but taking the metro to the Vatican was a bad idea. We had to wait in line, but it was still fascinating! Here’s the entrance to the Vatican Museum! Which, by the way, is one of entrances into the walls surrounding the Vatican. NOTE: Women MUST cover their shoulders and knees when inside the Vatican.
An exemplary ceiling in the Vatican Museum. Such craftsmanship.
Rafael. In the Vatican. Where I was! So crazy.
At this point, I experienced the most profound moment on my journey, when I went inside the Sistine Chapel! Situated at the end of the train of rooms in the Vatican Museum, it is the climax of the entire exhibition. In our Augustinian Culture Seminar (freshman year-long required class) at Villanova, Dr. Kelley’s class explored religion through texts and Christian art–including art from the Sistine Chapel. At first, I didn’t even recognize the pieces we discussed, because every inch of the Chapel is covered in scenes, so the only thing I noticed were the harmonious colors and general forms. Michelangelo was a sculptor, so his people are painted in ideal form like sculptures would be, with expertly positioned flowing garments. The skilled artist’s use of color was such that the eye is prompted to move throughout the piece without being drawn to any one figure, at first. After a few minutes, however, I began to notice figures of importance, like Jesus and Moses. The scenes from Mount Sinai are on the walls, while stories of Jesus’ baptism and teachings are presented on the opposite wall. For me, the most amazing thing was the story of creation that graced the ceiling. From the separation of light and dark, to the creation of Eve, to the painting of Original Sin, Michelangelo’s masterpiece literally floored me. I had a stiff neck when I was done staring up at this inspired work. After almost an hour, I realized where I was, and had to exit the Sistine Chapel for fear of being kicked out by the guards to make room for new tourists. Unfortunately, no pictures were permitted, and I did not want to disrespect the art by attempting to capture it in such an elementary and ordinary way.
St. Peter’s Square and the Basilica!
Aimee and I with the Basilica
Basilica shot! Imagine the pope sitting up there addressing thousands of people. Even for non-Catholics, that must be an awe-inspiring sight to behold. We were going to try to get in, but by that time there was a line of a thousand people waiting outside, so we had to skip it.
Part of St. Peter’s Square (Did you know that some of the art here was created by a Danish sculptor?! The only non-Italian to be included here.)
Me climbing the Spanish steps. We had to wear pants to the Vatican, so climbing these stairs in the sun was kind of a sweaty experience… but worth it for the view from the top!
Aimee and I at the top of the Spanish Steps
The view of the Shopping Street from the Spanish Steps. The shopping here is CRAZY! Louis Vuitton and Prada are some of the names you’d recognize.
Finally, the Trevi Fountain. In the Lizzie McGuire Rome movie, this is where she meets Paolo (in case you didn’t know, this movie was a huge part of Meagan’s and my childhood)
Me & Aimee with the Trevi getting close to the fountain took a little time because…
…LOOK AT ALL THESE TOURISTS!!
Stopping at the bottom of the Trevi for a photo op! We hung out there for quite a while, listening to the water and taking pictures.
Throwing my Euro-penny into the Trevi Fountain! I made a wish!!
Aimee’s hilarious selfy in front of the Trevi. I couldn’t help taking a picture of her.
Me, Aimee, and Ben at the Trevi
Toshi and Marshall (two friends we made at our hostel) came with us for this day. They were both independent travelers for extended periods of time, backpacking through Europe.
us with Marshall
We used this building as a point of reference within Rome (since we didn’t have wifi, Aimee and I navigated our whole trip with a paper map–BE PROUD). It’s called Ill Vittoriano – Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II.
Il Vittoriano – Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II, from the side. I have no idea why this monument is so grandiose.
Me with Angelo, who I later discovered knows Antonella back in CT! The first night, we randomly went to his gelato shop, where he passionately creates new flavors and makes everything by hand. He was so friendly, and we ended up going there every night!
My mondo cannoli. Chocolate chip filling, pistachio crust. It took me four sittings to eat this thing.
Look how huge it is!
The bluest of skies as we mounted the plane from the tarmac. This was the flight home from Milan (we flew from Rome to Milan on Saturday at 1 pm, then stayed in the Milan airport until our 7:30 am flight to Copenhagen on Sunday morning). While we saved upwards of $100 this way, it was a long night in the airport.
That, my friends, was my trip to Rome! I know it was a long one, but now you know everything! You’re a lucky bunch, you readers.