Over this past week I have done so much and not enough! While I *still* cannot say that I’ve been to the Trevi fountain, I have done a couple of other cool things in terms of exploring the city and assimilating to Italian culture. I attended Temple University’s “Chit Chat with Italians” night where I got to meet many other Italians (mostly students) who were in high school/college. I learned about how their high school/college system is set up completely differently than ours—their high school classes are specialized, meaning you basically choose your career path/main interest of study when you first enter high school—and I talked with this student named Eduardo about how he learned to have the perfect American accent (his answer was: YouTube videos) as well as what makes him so interested in linguistics. There was also this forum/panel-like session in which the Italian students and us American students got to ask each other questions that were open to everyone to respond to. It was a lot of fun getting to practice my Italian and learn more about Italian culture and the various stereotypes that American’s hold towards Italians and vice versa. One of the more interesting things that we discussed was America’s drinking culture vs. Italy’s smoking culture.
Later in the week, I went on this walk to see graffiti with my Anthropology class. We walked around parts of Rome (near the Pyramid subway stop) and saw the many different displays of graffiti that exist there. It was very interesting learning how a lot of the graffiti (if not all of it) is very politically and socially charged. Our teacher explained the various ways in which communists had taken over entire buildings to create street art on them, conveying a certain message to the entire area. A lot of the pieces of street art we saw around that neighborhood were along the lines of saying no to global capitalism, not letting it brainwash you and change you. It was also interesting to see the way American culture had influenced and continues to influence the street art scene. One of my favorite pieces that we saw was the A-Z wall that depicted many different influential/popular figures with names from A to Z.
While I make it my mission to tour the Colosseum, take the classic coin toss picture in front of the Trevi fountain, and crane my neck looking up in the Sistine Chapel, I’ve learned that there are so many other things that I can do to really see Italy and Rome besides those! I still have time to do the most popular things and see the most historic sites, but it’s also worth spending the time to do the things that not many people would immediately think to do. For instance, I really want to make a trip to the Jewish Ghetto. It may not be the Forum, but it’s still an incredibly historical area that I think would be worth it to visit.