Feeling at Home in Rome

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I have now reached the point where I now refer to Rome as home. When I travel to other cities and countries, without thinking, I compare everything about that place to Rome. Currently, I am approaching the end of my Spring Break, during which I have been traveling.  Without even realizing it, I am automatically comparing the food, people, and ambiance of “other” cities to that of Rome.

So far this semester, I have had the opportunity to travel to two other major cities in Italy: Naples and Milan.  I went to Naples for my Baroque Art History class, and found that Naples was more of a scenic city than Rome. It is right along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, and climbs up along the mountainside. Also, there is a beautiful view of Mount Vesuvius as well as some islands, such as Capri. However, I quickly discovered that Naples is a lot dirtier than Rome- trash and graffiti everywhere. Naples is well known for their food, particularly their pizza, which did not fail to satisfy my stomach! Also, there is something about the water in Naples that allows all breads to taste extra delicious. Naples is also famous for cooking with a lot of seafood since they are directly on the coast. Of course Italians everywhere care about the quality of the food, but I felt that in Naples it was more important, and more part of the Neapolitan culture.

My teacher told me that if you could drive in Naples, you could drive anywhere. The second I arrived in this city, I immediately understood why. I thought people drove crazy in Rome, but in Naples, people drive like madmen! I noticed that when the traffic light turned red, people still continued to drive! It just didn’t seem like the citizens of Naples followed the rules there, which could explain it’s bad reputation for theft and crime.

I spent this past weekend in Milan, just in time for Fashion Week! Even though I went for the same amount of time (2 days, 1 night), my experience in Milan was a bit different than my experience in Naples because I didn’t go with a class. Instead, I went with one of my best friends for leisure. While Naples and Rome are two of the largest cities in Italy, Milan is a lot smaller. It’s very compact and easy to great around. One thing that surprised me was that Milan had a more efficient subway system than Rome- it has four main metro lines while Rome only has two! I thought this was strange because Milan is much smaller than Rome, but then I remembered how difficult it is to do construction in Rome. Many times during the construction process, workers accidentally come across ancient ruins, and construction has to be put to a halt. In Milan, this problem does not exist.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to try many different foods in Milan. But I did get to communicate with its people a lot, and I quickly learned that people in Milan are very friendly. I also noticed that when saying goodbye, the Milanese ALWAYS say “arrivederci,” unlike in Rome where it is common to say “ciao” or “buena sera.”

While I was in Milan, I had the opportunity to see a small fashion show, go inside the Duomo, and see Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper. The Last Supper is Milan’s most prized possession, just like how the Colosseum is Rome’s.

In the next few weeks, I will be traveling to Florence for a class trip, and hopefully Venice for a leisurely weekend. I’m looking forward to not only comparing these cities to Rome, but also to the other Italian cities I have visited!

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