This time of year, you can look around the streets of Rome or the metro and find every Italian man, woman, and child bundled up head to toe in scarves, puffy jackets, and boots. You can imagine their surprise then, when one and a half dozen American college students clambered onto the Cipro metro early Saturday afternoon, clad in denim shorts, tank tops, swimsuits and sunglasses. We were even carrying a (American) football. The forecast read sixty-six degrees and sunny, weather we deemed perfect for an afternoon on the shore.
Ostia Lido beach is the closest beach to Rome, and it’s possible to get there from the Temple Residence for the low low price of one metro ticket (1.50 euro if you don’t have the monthly pass that most students here buy). We entered the metro at the Cipro stop by the Residence and transferred to Line B at the Termini stop. From there, we rode to Pyramide and took a train to Ostia Lido Centro. Our excitement only grew as each stop on the train carried us farther and farther outside of the city. The trip in total is about an hour and a half – but definitely worth it!
Once we got off at the Lido Centro stop, the boys ran into a nearby Cafeteria, where the owners pointed us in the right direction. We followed our noses towards the smell of the sea, and we weren’t disappointed. Finally, the sight we had all been awaiting sparkled in front of us – the Tyrrhenian Sea. The Tyrrhenian Sea is part of the Mediterranean, located off of the western coast of Italy and named for the Tyrrhenian people.
The Italians on the beach were exactly like those on the metro, bundled up from head to foot in dark jackets and boots. We laughed, not sure whether or not we were in the wrong or they were.
The beach was glorious. The sun sparkled off of the sea, and sailboats floated lazily in the distance. Half of the girls in our group immediately threw down towels and ripped shirts off, soaking in the suns rays, only to put them on minutes later as the wind chill crept in. Maybe it really was too early in the season for swimsuits.
That said, one of the boys jumped into the freezing water and floated around for at least a half hour. I don’t know how he did that. Wrapped in my sweater, I chose to walk to the waters edge and cool off by letting the icy waves lap at my feet. It was short lived, but I can say that I was in the Tyrrhenian Sea! In case you’re wondering, apparently beach weather for Italians is late April and onward. We were just a little early.
Later, we picked up a (Italian) football that one of the girls had brought, and formed two teams. The stakes were high – losers had to jump in the sea. Luckily, we didn’t hold each other to that, and pride was the only thing won after a good game amongst friends.
As the sun went down, we headed home. Needless to say, without the sun, and dressed as we were, the walk was freezing. Freezing, but well worth it :).