Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Roman Holiday!

As a surprise when we got to Florence, our program directors told us about a weekend trip to Rome they had planned for all of us.  As excited as Julia and I were, we realized this happened to be the same weekend we had planned to go to Paris with our fellow Drexel friends in London.  Determined to find time to pack Rome in during our 6 weeks, we were able to find a weekend to sneak it in.  Neither of us could come home saying we hadn't been to Rome, so we were determined to make it happen!

Like a few of our day trips, we planned this weekend all on our own.  With the help of Trip Advisor, Rick Steves, and our best friend and D&M student Jessica Mattern, we were able to plan 48-hours of non-stop Roman fun!  I have seen plenty of pictures of the city and certainly studied key pieces of art and sites that inhabit Rome in art history classes, but seeing things first hand in Rome is truly an experience.  A quick two hour high-speed train ride from Florence, we were in Rome!

We checked into our hostel called Alessandro's Palace (highly recommended if anyone is looking for a hostel in Rome!) which is really close to the Termini train station.  From there, we grabbed a quick bite to eat at a local pizza shop and headed for the Colosseum.

Colosseum in Rome, Italy

The coolest thing about seeing the Colosseum in person, was realizing that we have nothing like this in America.  When I talked to locals in Italy, they had been to New York City and Orlando at most, and they define our country based on the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, and Disney World.  This was really upsetting as I explained to them that there's more to the United States then Mickey Mouse, but realized that ancient cities such as Rome hold so much rich history that our country doesn't have yet.  It's moments like these when I'm really thankful for my abroad experience!

From the Colosseum, we walked to the Spanish Steps, Pantheon, and Trevi Fountain.  The Trevi Fountain is one of my favorite places in Italy, minus the fact that it is always flooded with tourists.  We went twice, once in the afternoon and again at night to see the difference in how the statues looked and to see it lit up at night (and two wishes, of course!).

Tossing my wish into the Trevi Fountain!

We had done an incredible amount of walking in 95 degree heat, so we called it a night and walked back to our hostel.  We spent Saturday roaming around the busiest shopping streets of Rome, and spent the afternoon and evening in Trastevere - one of Rome's best kept secrets.  For two days I hadn't seen a single Italian in Rome due to the extremely high tourist traffic, and once we got to Trastevere, I was finally a minority as an American as I am in Florence.  Trastevere is a little neighborhood on the outskirts of Rome that has artists, incredible restaurants, boutiques, and winding cobble stone streets.

Trastevere, Italy

If anyone is planning on going to Rome, Trastevere is an absolute must!  It is by far the best food you can find in Rome and is a nice escape from the tourists.  Although it was a very lively city and I loved seeing the historical sites, I would definitely not return in the Summer or Fall months.  There are too many tourists that water down the Roman experience.  I'd love to return again in the Winter or Spring however, and enjoy returning to some of my favorite sites.


1 comment:

  1. I stayed in an apartment in Trastevere and I definitely agree that it's the best part of the city! Freni e Frizioni is an aperitivo bar on the street by the river, so if you ever happen to go back you should definitely check it out! I loved how quaint it was and, most of all, how removed the neighborhood was from the tourist madness of the historic center.