I truly can’t believe that we’re more than halfway through the semester. We have had seven weeks of classes, taken midterm exams, gone on life-changing spring break trips, and have already been back at Temple Rome for seven days. People weren’t kidding when they said this experience will fly by so quickly. Looking ahead, we can almost count on one hand the weekends we have left here in Europe, and I think many people are starting to feel the pressure of needing to see more in Rome and trying to scatter to figure out how we can travel to all the countries we came here hoping to see. I know I am definitely one of those people.
When I arrived in Italy, I made an agreement with myself that I would not waste any time while here because I know how lucky and fortunate I am to be able to have the experience of living in Rome. I also don’t think it is likely I will ever have this opportunity again, and when I someday come back to visit Rome, the experience simply won’t be the same as LIVING here. Minus the 12-17 hours of class we have weekly, we have morning, afternoon, evening, and night to spend exploring this historic and beautiful city. I feel like up until this point, I have done a reasonably good job of weighing out this colossal distraction with school work, as I have maintained good grades while still seeing a lot of Rome, but I want to do some much more.
To date, one of my favorite days in Rome was one when I went to Villa Borghese with a few friends and we rented a surrey (one of the covered bikes for 2-4 people.) It was a beautiful day in February, the sun was shining (as it usually is in Rome) and it was over 50 degrees. We rode around on that surrey for the allotted hour we were given and just laughed and joked and had a blast. It was such a simple experience but because of that it was honestly one of my favorite things I’ve done here. Despite my not being Catholic, I was also very moved by seeing the Vatican and Saint Peter’s Basilica. It is a beautiful structure and a touching experience to be in such a religious place.
Just today I finally went to see the
Vatican Museums. What a special experience. The paintings and sculptures housed by the museums are so ancient and historical. The Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo’s masterpiece housed in the Apostolic Palace (the official residence of the Pope) was breathtaking and a phenomenal representation of such an important part of Italian history, the Renaissance. It is intriguing to me that the Papal Conclave, the process by which a new Pope is chosen, takes place in this room, and shows the importance of the room and the artist.
As tourist season has very noticeably already begun, there is still much on the list of things to do in the near future. I have yet to climb the stairs and view the city from the top of Saint Peter’s Basilica, which I hope to do at sunset one evening soon, and I haven’t visited the Borghese Gallery or the inside of the Coliseum. As I continue to see and do more and more, I only grow more enthusiastic and excited for what I will see in the future!