This past weekend can only be described as absolute bliss. I was a little worried that having my family gone would mean I would feel homesick all weekend, but as we know, Rome is a very big city, with plenty of distractions! As such, I approached this weekend with absolutely no plans, and no agenda of what I “had to get done.” I let my feet take me where they could, and the rest was history.
On Friday, I began by visiting the Colosseum. I know it may seem odd that I’ve been in Rome for all this time and still hadn’t seen the inside of the Colosseum, but it was true, I had only seen it from the outside. After visiting, I can safely say that if you ever want to be reminded of how small you are, go inside the Colosseum. I spent my whole visit in awe, and I couldn’t believe I was there. The tour starts on the second level of the Colosseum, but “second level” in no way indicates being close to the top. When you look up and see just how tall this structure actually is, it’s incredible. I was looking around, taking in the architecture, the grandeur, and the preservation. I looked at all the other visitors and tried to imagine us as spectators, just your everyday Roman citizens attending the games that were held in the Colosseum. History definitely came alive, and I had flashbacks to the countless classes where I have studied and discussed the Colosseum. And finally to be getting to see this, well, that was awesome.
After visiting the Colosseum, I chose a direction and just started walking. Like I said earlier, I didn’t have any plans, so it was amazing to feel a sense of freedom as I was exploring Rome. One of our first days here, Hope, the Temple Rome Student Life Coordinator, told us that the best way to get to know Rome was by simply getting lost; I would definitely agree with her, but I would also supplement her statement with the classic quote that “not all who wander are lost.” I had no direction, no goal, yet I still felt like what I was doing had purpose. I didn’t care about getting to a specific place, because Rome, and all it has to offer, was the destination. While I walked, I got to see several new types of architecture, housing structures, churches, and community parks I hadn’t seen before, and that was exactly what I wanted. When I got back to the Residence that night, I was exhausted, but a good exhausted, because I feel like I had taken advantage of everything the day had to offer.
Saturday was a bit more mellow, filled with homework and grocery shopping, but still wonderful and peaceful. Sunday, however, I think was one of the best days I’ve had here in Rome. To begin, Sunday marked the official first day of Spring, and the beauty of this new season is so evident here in Rome! The trees are starting to bloom, the sun is shining, and just about everything is green. Being in all this beauty feels like a fairytale, and I am loving every minute of it. One of my roommates and I began our day by visiting the Porta Portese Market, which is in between the Trastevere and Testaccio neighborhoods. Porto Portese is described as a “mammoth of a flea market,” and that it is! I’m pretty sure it extends for at least mile, and vendors are lined up down the entire block. We strolled through the market, and it was such a peacefully-chaotic experience, if that makes sense. On all sides you hear shouting; vendors are inviting customers to their stands, prices are being negotiated, and music is playing all around. In a way, it was kind of like a fun block party, with a large gathering of so many different types of people. If you are in Rome on a Sunday morning, definitely go to Porta Portese!
After Porta Portese, my roommate and I strolled along the Tiber River, making our way down to Trastevere, then the Historic District. Along the way, we even got to see a church group celebrating Palm Sunday by reenacting Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem. After this, we made our way to Trajan’s Market, one of the most well-preserved ruins in Rome. For such an intact structure, it is weird that Trajan’s Market is not as popular of a tourist destination, but I still loved it. Just like with the Colosseum, I got to connect Rome’s history to its present-day, and when you’re standing on such a historic site, it’s hard not to feel a bit overwhelmed.
All in all, a wonderful weekend. If you study in Rome, definitely make sure you have a couple weekends where you have absolutely nothing to do; that way, the weekend is like a blank canvas, and you get to see what sort of masterpiece you create!