When in rome…eat as much gelato as possible! Thats how the saying goes, right? Well, that was my motto this weekend in Roma anyways. I was one of the only students in my group who hadn’t been to Italy yet this year, and I was determined to remedy that situation! So three good friends and I hoped on a (long!) train to Rome after class Thursday night.
The first thing we saw when we stepped out of the metro station was the Colossuem! BAM- I fell in love that quickly. The Colossuem is truely breathtaking. Not only is it a site of great historical significance and architectural mastery, but it is also an important part of Christian history. Built in 70 AD by emperor Vespatian, it was used for gladiator contests and public events. The thought was, in order to keep the people from uprising, all one had to do was give them bread and entertainment. That’s where the Colosseum came in!
Next stop: the Trevi fountain. I’m sure it was gorgeous, under all the scaffolding! But we technically saw it, and I threw a coin in the dried out fountain for good luck. I’m pretty sure it still counts!
Then we jetted off to the pantheon, an ancient temple designed famous for it’s large domed ceiling. The Italian’s ceiling game is on point. They do ceilings right, the rest of us could learn a thing or two from them. The dome on the pantheon has a round hole in the top through which you can star gaze!
Then to bed, and up early to see more incredible things. First stop on day two: none other than the Vatican. Am I allowed to count that as another country I have visited? I think yes. When we arrived at the entrance to St. Peters Piatza, the main square in the Vatican, there was a huge crowd pushing to get through the gate. We didn’t know what it was for, but we figured it must be something good, so we pushed our way in! Turns out, a ceremony celebrating the anniversary of a saint’s death was taking place, which culminated in the appearance of THE POPE!!!!! Thats right, I stood five feet away from Pope Francesco!!! I screamed ‘VIVA IL PAPA’ with thousands of other Italians as the pope waved from his convertible. And then I died in peace because my life was complete.
Experiences like this remind me that sometimes the best moments are the ones you don’t plan. Ask anyone, they will tell you I am planner to the T. I like to know exactly what I’m doing before I do it. But if we had stuck to the plan, we never would have seen the pope! This year abroad has taught me to take a deep breath and be flexible- you never know what fun God’s got in store for you today, so don’t let your plans get in the way!
After I regained my composure (Papa Francesco is a big deal, people), we saw the Sistine Chapel and St. Peters basillica. As a painter myself, I was stunned speechless by Michaelangelo’s masterpiece. The attention to detail is mind boggeling. He worked on the chapel for four straight years! How did he know when to call it quits? What was the finishing touch? How did he stay inspired for so long?
St peters basillica houses the supposed bones of Peter the apostle, who was crucified in Rome. It is hands down the largest and most ornate church I have ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot of churches. My favorite part was the basin of holy water that is blessed by the Pope. I filled up a flask I had bought for this sole purpose, and will keep it forever as a tangible reminder of God’s favor and blessings on my life.
Last but not least: the Forum, an area of ancient roman ruins that used to be a warehouse, then a marketplace, and finally the Senate. Julius Caesar was actually assasinated outside the senate in the Forum (apparently William Shakespeare got it wrong. Way to go Will). The apostlePpaul was also executed in the forum, as it was the center of roman life at the time. It was unlike anything I had ever seen or will ever see again. We were there at sunset, which casts a magnificent glow on the ancient columns, tomb stones, arches, etc. By the time we sat down to dinner that night, I knew I was head over heels for this city, which made it ten times harder to leave for home that night! All in all, my weekend was crazy good. There is so much more to see in Rome, and this trip only wet my apetite. I wil return one day Italia, mark my words! Ciao for now friends.
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