Hey all! So as I write this, I’m in the beautiful country, Italy! I am here on a study abroad trip with my college. I’ve always wanted to go to Italy. I’m a huge fan of Italian food and I was also (and kinda still am) obsessed with The Lizzie McGuire Movie, which took place in none other than Rome, Italy; the eternal city. So needless to say, as soon as I knew Italy was a choice, I jumped at the chance and now here I am! We are here for 10 days; the beginning of the trip is spent in Rome, then we have two days in Florence, then the rest is back to Rome, aside from the one day we spend visiting Ostia Antica and its beaches. I’m going to do my best to try and keep y’all up to date with what we do and where we go as well as show you some great photos from each day; just like I did for Ocean City last year!
Well first, the plane ride(s). From Pittsburgh to Charlotte was short but the turbulence bothered me. However from Charlotte to Rome, was a smoother ride. Although, it was a VERY long ride because I’m used to driving 8, 9, 10 hours but flying is a whole new ballgame. We arrived around 9am Tuesday (Roman Time, 3am Eastern Time) and we were all exhausted and moving on very little sleep. We got our rooms on the Roman Campus and had like 20 minutes to freshen up before we went to lunch downstairs, provided by the Sisters we were staying with. (La Roche is a Catholic, Liberal Arts college and they are partnered with the Sisters of Divine Providence, so it’s only fitting.)
After lunch, we had a short meeting and went on our way to explore. The first thing I noticed when we were landing was the fact that there was so much farmland. Like, it was crazy. Then, all of a sudden we start dropping down and boom, we’re on the landing strip. While on our walking tour, I noticed the cobblestone roads, careless drivers (something we all found quite hilarious), and how narrow the streets were. Cyclists of every kind were seen driving on the colored lines on all sides. At one point we saw some go into the opposite lane to avoid sitting in traffic. It’s crazy what these Italians can get away with. All I know is I would never want to drive in these streets… leave it to the crazy Italians. We took a bus to the heart of the city and public transportation is about as bad as it is anywhere, so nothing new there. Also, there are so many old looking buildings and I think that’s what is so fascinating to me; how they manage to keep these buildings and monuments and landmarks look as nice as they do and they don’t come crumbling down with crazy weather.
On our journey we got some beautiful views of the city of Rome in a park called Gianicolo. Absolutely breathtaking view of the city. You bet your butt I got tons of shots there. We did tons of walking around the park before and after looking and learning about the different landmarks surrounding us. We then ended up back down to the city to see Trastevere, a beautiful Roman neighborhood. It kind of seemed like a modern place for younger Roman residents. There were several places to hang out as well as tons of restaurants and gelato stores to enjoy in such a large square foot area. (I haven’t had gelato yet but I can’t wait to try it.) We made our way to Piazza Navona, one of Rome’s most iconic and large plazas. I learned prior to the trip it used to be a stadium, hence its round shape and large size. I’ve come to notice that most plazas and areas around here have fountains with statues who have a bigger meaning. So that’s pretty cool to me.
We ended our very, very long day with a wonderful dinner at Ristorante Virginiae, just a block from Piazza Navona. The food was crazy. Since we had a big group, it was prepaid for so I’m not sure just yet how they do things but for us, they came out with different (large) plates of different things for us to share. Kind of like a smorgasbord, I guess, just on different plates. Now I can be a picky eater a lot of the time, but I knew coming into this trip I had to give things a chance. I did! I haven’t liked any wines yet since I’ve been 21, and I tried a sip of both the red and white that were on the table for us (which if you didn’t know, wine is an extremely huge part of their culture). Bleh, not a fan. Too bitter. I had some bruschette, and mozzarella balls as well as some bruschetta, while we awaited our main course. The main course was pasta (of course). The first one we had reminded me of a spaghetti bolognese, but with pork or something along those lines. It was SO RICH and so good. I want more. They also had 2 other kinds that kind of tasted like a form of alfredo and the other tasted like it was just topped with parmesan. All very good, but the first was my #1. As if that wasn’t enough, they brought out some veal as the “main course” but by then we were all getting full so we only ate small pieces. 20 or so minutes later they bring out to us tiramisu. Oh boy was that rich. I scarfed it down because I didn’t want anything to go to waste.
We came back and all are getting a well deserved sleep tonight. Tomorrow is going to be filled with the Vatican and the Catacombs, neither of which photos are allowed in so I’m leaving my camera at home. So, any photos from that, check my social medias! I’ll take photos with my phone when I can! Still have 9 more busy, but fun-filled days ahead of us. In the meantime, I posted some of my favorites from the trip so far, below and the rest of my photos are on my Flickr page!
Stay tuned for more Italy Adventures!