It’s been another busy week in Rome! Today marks the end of the third week of classes, but also the start of a new month! It’s hard to believe that I arrived in Rome last month, and everything is now in full-swing. I have a feeling that this semester is going to fly by!
Last Friday, I journeyed to Hadrian’s Villa with a group of fellow classmates. We were led on a tour by one of the professors from Temple, and it was a great experience. It was organized by Temple and I had to pay additional euros to attend. Excursions like these are offered almost every Friday, and they’re a great opportunity for students to explore beyond Rome. It’s one thing to go by yourself to see a famous site, but it’s another thing when you go with someone who has a lot of knowledge regarding the subject. I learned that Hadrian was the emperor of Rome in the years 117 to 138 AD, and that his Villa covered over 200 acres of land! Of course we didn’t have time to cover the whole site, but we saw a large amount of this beautiful site. I also learned that the reason Hadrian built his Villa 25 miles outside of Rome was because he had a negative relationship with the Senate, so he ruled Rome from the mountainside. The Villa was more like a vacation resort for the emperor, with many huge and luxurious baths, gardens, and fountains.
From the Villa, we traveled a short distance to Tivoli, which is home to the beautiful Renaissance estate, known as Villa D’Este. It was completed in 1572, and was built for Cardinal d’Este. It was so hard to believe that the Villa was built for a cardinal, and not for a king! It was so extravagant, with beautiful frescoes, sculptures, and massive fountains. After walking through the peaceful gardens that cover this big plot of land, you meet the incredible view that looks out along the mountains. It was a great day, and I got to learn and see so much!
Aside from all my sight-seeing, I am beginning to feel more and more comfortable with speaking Italian. Of course it’s not perfect, but I am becoming more familiar with phrases and how to ask for certain things. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was shy about using Italian, but I’ve learned that it is a necessity to speak it in order to communicate with the local people. For example, this week I needed to bring my jacket to a dry cleaner (I spilled some espresso on it, oops!). With the few phrases that I know, I was able to tell the woman that I would like to clean my jacket, and ask her when I should return and how much it would cost. The woman, who didn’t speak any English, was very patient with me as I slowly gathered my words, and most importantly, understood everything I said. When I left, I felt accomplished and very proud of myself. It just goes to show that I shouldn’t doubt myself, and to have a little more faith in Italian strangers- most of the time, they’re really nice!
I’m really excited for the weekend. My boyfriend is coming to visit, and he’s never been to Rome before. I’m going to take him to the Vatican Museums, the Colosseum, and Forum- places I have yet to fully explore! Ciao ciao!