Tag Archives: Rome

A Week of Lasts

This week has been a week of many ‘lasts’ I wanted to go to all my favorite places for one last time, as well as do a few new things. Sunday started with our last journey back home to Rome, I don’t know if I’ll ever again be able to say “I’m going home” and have that home be in Rome. But Monday was actually a first, Natalie, Caroline and I met Father Joe Farrell who used to work at Villanova and he gave us a tour of the OSA HQ in Rome and took us out to lunch which was awesome. Later I had my last class in Rome, Performance in Rome which was actually such a nice relief, but the work wasn’t over yet. After class some of us went to our last aperativo at Doppiozeroo, one of our favorite places for dinner.

Tour with Father Farrell
Tour with Father Farrell

Tuesday I spent all day pretty much working on my last assignment, a 10 page research paper for Performance, finished it and turned it in a day early so I could enjoy my last few lasts in Rome. For dinner, the Benzoni Girls (our whole apartment: Care, Pallavi, Meghan, Caroline, Natalie and I) went for a last roomie dinner at SPQR….it might have also been our first…haha it was so cute having our whole apartment together! Later that night Natalie, Caroline and I celebrated our papers being done by going to one of our favorite bars that is in Garbatella called Why Not. We hung out had a few drinks and talked with the bartenders (no one was there since it was a Tuesday). We got some pictures with the awesome bartenders there and had a fun night for our last time at Why Not.

Why Not Pub
Why Not Pub

Wednesday I went to my last Papal Audience with Pope Francis, I have now been to 11 and this was the first one that I wasn’t working at, I could just enjoy the atmosphere in the square. This was my last time seeing Pope Francis (for now at least), after 15 events with the Pope, starting at week one with the Prayer for Peace. I’m going to miss Wednesdays here, they have been crazy, it’s always my busiest day with work, class all afternoon and a usual night to go out with everyone. This Wednesday after the audience Natalie and I went to the office to say goodbye to TJ and Jose Miguel and everyone in the office. We said bye to Monseigneur Tighe and Archbishop Celli. Archbishop Celli was so sweet, he gave us rosaries blessed by Pope Francis, and wished us and our families well in the future. He then asked us if we had boyfriends and said, “you have to start thinking about these things.” Such a funny way to end a wonderful experience there. It was sad saying goodbye to everyone, especially TJ and Jose Miguel, but it was an amazing experience and I’m so happy I got to work with them this semester. After, we went to Piazza Navona and Campo de’ Fiori did some shopping around and taking it all in again. We walked that route so many times this semester, from the Vatican to Piazza Navona and then Campo and it’s always been a blast. Wednesday night some of us girls went to Dar Poeta for dinner for once again another last. Dar Poeta was my favorite pizza place in Rome hands down. We all split a dessert which I elected myself to cut into 8 pieces since it was right next to me…clearly my counting skills were off becasue I somehow managed to only cut 7 pieces…no one should have trusted me with that job haha. After we stayed out in Trastevere and went to the bars there for one last time. We went to Almalu, a bar with another one of our favorite bartenders, Alessio. We took an absurd amount of pictures there, went behind the bar, we really made ourselves at home. Jess started to create her own mixed shots and the other bartender let her make us all a drink! We hung out for a while and said our goodbyes to Alessio.

Last audience!
Last audience!
Almalu with Alessio
Almalu with Alessio

Thursday I went on my last run to the Colosseum, I really took the time to enjoy it one more time. It was actually one of the best runs I’ve been on here, it wasn’t too cold or too hot. There weren’t many people around and I could just go, it was therapeutic. Then Jess, Barrie, Natalie and I went to walk around a few places. First we went to a new place, the mouth of truth thats in the movie Roman Holiday, you stick your hand in it, in ancient Rome there was a ritual where you put your hand inside the statue and if you were not telling the truth you couldn’t take your hand out and it would be bitten off. We stuck our hands in the mouth (luckily we kept our hands), took some photos and went into the church that its in the courtyard of, Saint Mary in Cosmedin and saw a medieval crypt. Then we went to the Orange Garden that we went to our first night in Rome, we hung out and enjoyed the view. Everything has come full circle, we started out there all as literal strangers, and we went back after a semester and getting to know each other as great friends, it was sort of poetic. Our next stop was this keyhole garden, you look into the keyhole and you are supposed to be able to see Rome, the Vatican and Malta a small country off the coast of the Mediterranean. It was really beautiful but I didn’t see Malta. The other girls went back and Barrie and walked around Trastevere for a while going into shops, into the Santa Maria church there and just walked around and chatted about the semester and how weird going back home and to school was going to be. That night was our farewell dinner and the Museum class’s exhibition. They also had on display the photos from the CLC as well as showed the Video CLC projects. Our Performance class was supposed to do our performances but sadly only half could fit in and I didn’t get to go…I did not mind one bit. It was nice to get everyone together one last time because not everyone was going to be around on Friday.

My last run to the Colosseum
My last run to the Colosseum
Mouth of Truth
Mouth of Truth
Orange Garden
Orange Garden

Friday was my last day in Rome, I wanted to walk around and take everything in one last time. I walked around Testaccio and Garbatella for a few hours in the morning before taking some time to pack. Later I went to Basilica San Paulo, or Saint Paul Outside the Walls, it is a Papal Basilica in Rome only one metro stop from Garbatella. The basilica was so incredible, I felt so small inside. Lining the top of the inside , there are mosaic medallions of each Pope, Pope Francis was just put in a few weeks ago. The front facade was so beautiful with painted scenes and statues in the portico. Later for our last dinner about half of my program went to SPQR, then we went to the Colosseum to hang out and take it in one last time. There were some tears, but no ‘goodbyes’ only ‘until next time’. I can’t imagine not seeing the people I spent the past four months exploring Rome with, we have a shared experience that not many other people will understand. I made some incredible friends these past four months and had an amazing time. After two hours of sleep I went to FCO airport for one last time for my long journey home.

Basilica San Paulo
Basilica San Paulo
Last night shenanigans at the Colosseum
Last night shenanigans at the Colosseum

Visitors (part 3)

The last of my visitors was TYLER! My parents left Wednesday and I had a short break until Tyler came Saturday. She got to my apartment around noon and was exhausted, later I showed her around Garbtella and we went to apertivo with Natalie and her friends that night before going out to Trastevere. Sunday we went to the end of the Year of Faith mass in Saint Peter’s Square, it was cold but the highlight was Pope Francis holding the box with Saint Peter’s remains in them. Then we walked around Trastevere, went to the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. It was a fun day walking around showing Tyler the lay of the land and just hanging with my sister!
Out in Trastevere!
Out in Trastevere!
End of the Year of Faith Mass
End of the Year of Faith Mass
Monday Ty went to Florence for the day (and again Wednesday after the audience) to see everything there…I think she saw more than I have there!
Papal Audience!
Papal Audience!
Out Wednesday Night!
Out Wednesday Night!
Tuesday Ty did a Vatican tour while I was at work and after we covered a ton of ground together. I took her to campo de fiori and showed her the market, then we walked to the Trevi Fountain which was quite eventful, we saw some young girls getting caught by the police for stealing! After our photo shoot we went walked down Via del Corso to the Spanish Steps.
Trevi!
Trevi!
Making a WIsh
Making a WIsh
Spanish Steps!
Spanish Steps!
Thursday was Thanksgiving! My apartment decided to host Thanksgiving which became a huge potluck for 27 people. Around noon Natalie Tyler and I went to the butcher to get turkey breast because we were told we wouldn’t find a whole turkey. WRONG, we go to the butcher and ask for turkey for 25 people and he goes into the back and grabs an entire bird. We explained to him (through a nice man who spoke Italian) that our oven wasn’t large enough to cook the wholes thing, well he fixed that problem by chopping it into four pieces. Well we had our turkey and walked back to the apartment and on the way the turkey leg kicked a hole in the bag…this was going to be interesting to say to the least. My roommate Care and I took charge with the turkey she cleaned out the inside while I plucked the remaining feathers off, this was a farm fresh turkey. We managed to cook it and set up the living room for our dinner. Everyone brought other Thanksgiving fixins and it was an authentic Thanksgiving in Rome! We invited some Italians as well, it was some of their first Thanksgiving dinners ever. It was a great night with friends and food, I can’t believe we managed to pull it off, dinner for 27!
Sister Selfie
Sister Selfie
Thanksgiving Buffet
Thanksgiving Buffet
Friendsgiving!
Friendsgiving!
Friday was out last day together 😦 we walked around Trastevere, Campo, and Piazza Navona to do some shopping first. Then we went to the Jewish Ghetto for Hanukah they lit the Menorah at 415 in the center I enjoyed seeing the tradition here. Then (ironically) we went to see some churches, the Francesi Luigi with Carvaggio paintings, Santa Maria sopra Minerva to see the Michelangelo statue, and finally the Augustine Church in Rome. I had never been to this one, my parents found it walking around when they were here. It had gorgeous blue ceilings and they had a chapel on the side for Saint Thomas of Villanova! Others included Saint Rita, Monica, and others that are names of buildings at Villanova, it was so cool to see. Friday night we had a nice sister dinner together in Testaccio, Ty had an early flight Saturday and I had my field study for class overnight. It was a quick trip but so much fun to show Ty around when I could. I was so happy she could come (miss you already Ty!) see you in 3 weeks!
Jewish Ghetto for Hanukah
Jewish Ghetto for Hanukah
Saint Augustine Church
Saint Augustine Church
St. Thomas of Villanova Chapel
St. Thomas of Villanova Chapel

Visitors (part 2)

It has been one crazy week and a half for me, crazier than usual even. Sunday morning my parents arrived in Rome, after a little bit of travel troubles they made it to their hotel around the corner from my apartment, I couldn’t wait to get over there and see them. I was so happy when my dad opened the door to their hotel room, I could not wait to give him a hug. I missed my parents but I haven’t had much time to think about since getting to Rome because I’m always so busy doing a hundred different things. I was excited to see mom too of course, she was pretty out of it from the flight and getting bit by some weird bug or something, I knew she was tired. We went out to Trastevere for dinner one of the best pizza places I’ve been to here called Dar Poeta. We didn’t do much else because they were tired.

Monday they met me for coffee at the Bar I go to every morning before work (and they have every morning since) Dad loved the place and said it has everything you would ever need! They explored some, went to the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and Forum; I got a selfie from Trevi and met up with them after work and class for dinner. I took them to Monti, we found a cute restaurant where we all squeezed into the table and after we went to the AMAZING cannoli  place.

Tuesday was gross and rainy so it was lucky we had our Vatican tour booked for then. We started in the Vatican Museum, went to the Sisiten Chapel and made our way into Saint Peter’s Basilica which I hadn’t actually been inside until Tuesday. We had a great tour guide, Niccolo, who was a historian and had an incredible amount to tell us over the 3 hours. He told us a lot about the history, obviously, but there were also some more interesting stories that he told us that other tour guides may not have known. One of the first was that Pope Pio (Pious) (IX or X, I forget ) went around to the statues collected by all the previous Popes and cut off their genitals (and kept them all in jars) because it wasn’t the place to have nakedness. He said this is where the saying “don’t be so pious” comes from. He showed us all the illusions of the museum and the Rafael rooms. One of the coolest things he showed us was the Van Gogh painting that was sitting in the room of Borges before the Sistine Chapel. He said no one really knows it’s there, it’s just sitting on the wall with no attention drawn to it, it was amazing to see! I loved the Sistine, it was so massive and Niccolo gave a great introduction for what to look for in the massive masterpiece of this room. Then we went into the Vatican which was just striking it was immense, I really felt so small inside there, Niccolo told us that the Statue of Liberty could fit under the Dome inside there. I couldn’t even absorb all that was there, I don’t know if I’ve seen anything that could even come close to the majesty of the Basilica.

St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica
Wednesday we went to the Papal Audience which I think they enjoyed! We also went to Piazza Navona, the Pantheon and the church where Michelangelo’s statue that you can touch is. It was fun to be their little tour guide and show them some cool things I have seen in Rome. I left them to do some shopping while I had class, and we later met up for apertivo at Doppiozeroo. Early night because we had a long weekend ahead: Barcelona!
Audience with Mom and Dad
Audience with Mom and Dad
Barcelona:
We left Thursday morning for the airport at 5am (joy) and arrived in Barcelona with the whole day to explore! Before we could get into the hotel room we walked around a nearby square with the Cathedral of Barcelona which we went into it was very beautiful. After we walked around the side streets and did some shopping! We went into one store called le coq sportif which was mom’s favorite tennis brand that they don’t carry in the states anymore. By the end of the trip we had gone there multiple times and the people working there knew who we were (embarrassing haha). We walked to La Rambla one of the main streets in Barcelona and they had Dunkin’ there! It was exciting but we didn’t get any :(. After checking into the hotel we walked about a half hour to the beach Barceloneta. It was a little chilly but the sun was out, it was gorgeous. I stuck my feet in the water, it was too chilly to actually go swimming, but I have now been in the Mediterranean Sea from both east and west coasts! After relaxing by the beach we later went to the Picasso museum which was very interesting. It traces his artwork from when he started very young to his work as an older artist. We then went to dinner; a woman mom works with is from Barcelona and told us to go to a tapas place near the museum. It was called El Xampanyet and it was SO GOOD. It was intimidating at first because it seemed like no one spoke English, and there wasn’t a menu you just told the waiter what you wanted. We were a little hesitant to go in, but I went in and found someone who spoke English so we could order. We ate at a standup table and the guy brought us a bunch of little plates that we pointed to that looked good. The place was so busy and crazed, it was a lively atmosphere and a really delicious and unique experience! After we went back to the hotel and had a drink at the bar, mom and I wanted to try churros, so dad and I went on a hunt for them but everywhere was sold out! Dad noticed an ice cream place that had a special “gelato canna bis” we didn’t go in but we wondered if it was real or not!
Barceloneta
Barceloneta
Toes in the water
Toes in the water
Picasso Museum
Picasso Museum

Friday we went to Segrada Famailia, which is a Church designed by Antoni Gaudí. Construction started in 1882 and they are hoping to finish by 2026! The line to get in was long but it was worth the wait. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The stain glass windows had the entire place illuminated in color it was brilliant! We did the audio guides tour which was interesting there is so much symbolism within the structure and statues, it was absolutely breathtaking. After we spent some time there, we went to Park Guell which was also designed by Gaudí. The guy who sold us the ticket told us the actress from the show Castle, Stana Katic just went in (unfortunately we didn’t see her). Later that night we went to dinner and got churros finally! Before leaving for the airport Saturday afternoon it was rainy so we went to the Palau de la Música, a famous concert hall. We went on a short tour, I didn’t find it all the interesting it was a beautiful building though.

La Segrada Familia
La Segrada Familia
La Segrada Familia
La Segrada Familia
La Segrada Familia
La Segrada Familia
Selfie on the tower
Selfie on the tower
Dad enjoying Park Guell
Dad enjoying Park Guell
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday I only was able to meet up with mom and dad for dinners because of work, class, and doing schoolwork but there was a lot of togetherness in Barcelona haha. We had some really nice meals in one at their hotel, in Testaccio, and Campo…we were able to just enjoy spending time together!
Tuesday after work was our last day together. I got caught in a torrential down pour walking from work to their hotel so that was fun (as soon as I got to the hotel it got sunny). We walked all over town in Trastevere, Jewish Ghetto, Piazza Navona, Campo doing our fair share of shopping on the way :). We got caught in the rain on the way to dinner by the Pantheon that night. We had some wine and some laughs, it was a great way to end our loooong 10 days together haha.
I loved having Mom and Dad here it was so much fun showing them around (it was also exhausting). We have some amazing memories that I’ll never forget. It was so special having them here, showing them the city that I’ve called home for the past 3 months. Thanks for coming Mom and Dad and for giving me the opportunity to be here in Rome, LOVE YOU!
Dad, me and Mom by the Roman Forum one night
Dad, me and Mom by the Roman Forum one night

Cultura Romana

The culture of Rome is so interesting, unique and completely different from ours.

Arcadia (the host program) organized a few optional events for our group if we want to participate. I have gone to a few, one was the bike tour I already wrote about. I also took a cooking class, went to a wine tasting, as well as attended the ballet. These events were planned for fun as well as so we can learn some things about the culture of Rome. [These happened quite a while ago I just never found the time to write about them].

Cooking class was great we learned a few quick, easy, inexpensive but authentic Italian recipes. Made Saltimbocca alla Romana which is veal,  prosciutto and sage coated in flour and sautéed in oil, garlic and wine. Saltimbocca means “jumps in the mouth”  because its bite-size portions that you just pop in your mouth, they were deliciously savory. Next we cooked zucchini with mint leaves which gave such a fresh flavor. After we made Pasta alla Puttanesca which has a tomato based sauce, olives, capers, garlic and sometimes anchovies (which we did not add in). The woman teaching the class told us that pasta alla puttanesca actually means “whore’s style pasta” and was given this name because it’s quick and easy–now you’ll never think of it the same! Finally we had dessert, Tiramisu, which we actually made first so it could be refrigerated and ready by the end of the meal! It was so quick to make, we dipped ladyfingers in coffee and layered them in the bottom of the dish. Then you add the mascarpone cream mixture and put cocoa on top. Then you refrigerate it for a bit and it’s ready! I had no idea how easy it was to make and so delicious. Cooking class got me excited to start cooking in the apartment more. Natalie and I have been making dinner together we’ve gotten pretty handy some of our best dinners were stuffed peppers with balsamic chicken and veggies, chicken parmesan, some stir fry and some amazingly fresh salads!

Another really fun thing that we’ve done is Aperativo! Aperativo is like happy hour in America but better. Its a buffet of appetizers of pizza, pasta, veggies whatever, and dessert including a drink anywhere from 8-12 euro. It fantastic, it’s a part of their drinking culture, Italians don’t drink to get drunk they drink as a social activity and always with food (which is better for you). Its fun to just casually go to a place and have a drink and talk with friends it really is no big deal.

We also went to a wine tasting which was really cool, I enjoy drinking wine but don’t know much about it. It was really funny because the woman teaching us about wine was actually from New Jersey but has been living in Rome for the past 20 years. It was over a month ago so I don’t remember exactly what we learned but, we tried four wines all from the Lazio region of Rome which is where we are. We started with a prosecco, which is a specific type of bubbly wine, it’s not champagne which are only made with champagne grapes, and it’s also different from just a generic white wine with carbonation. Then we had a white wine, a rosé, and a red wine. They were all paired with different snacks to bring out the most in the flavor of the wine.

Another activity organized by Arcadia was going to the ballet in the Teatro dell’Opera to see Coppélia. We were up in the balcony seating which made us feel very important. The dancing was beautiful and the it was fun to see the story develop, and there is no language barrier in dance, it’s all about the music and the dancing it was so much fun to watch.

There are some other interesting cultural things that I have learned about Rome after being here for 7 weeks (seriously can’t believe it’s been that long)! There is no tipping here, for anything in cabs, at restaurants, everything is included. At restaurants sometime there is a ‘coperto’ which is basically a table fee, but I haven’t seen much of that here, its more-so in the tourist areas I think. Next is water there are two things about water here: water is not free, when you go to a restaurant and ask for water they bring you a bottle of natural or sparking water whichever you prefer. Occasionally you can get a ‘bicchiere di acqua’ which is a glass of water but a lot of the time they will say no. It seems funny that water always costs money because of the aqueduct system that was put in during ancient times that are still working. It bring water to the city and there are fountains everywhere and you can drink straight from them they are completely clean. I still don’t understand why I have to pay 2 euro for a bottle in the restaurant when theres a fountain flowing right outside! I’m enjoying learning the differences nuances of Italian culture, I’m sure there will be more to come!

Caroline and I at cooking class!
Caroline and I at cooking class!
Saltimbocca
Saltimbocca
Wine Tasting
Wine Tasting

IMG_2666 IMG_2667 IMG_2671

Coppélia
Coppélia