In Rome I found that if you don’t look up, you might miss something wonderful. Every detail to make the city as beautiful as they could was taken into account my the Romans. There were many street corners which had little to big paintings, such as the one pictured above, quietly decorating Rome, there for those that pay attention. Angels were placed at the base of the painting, graceful creatures in the amidst of the traffic of cars and scooters, smoke from cigarettes, the chitter-chatter of pedestrians and the street sweepers. Now, why can’t all cities be as lovely as Rome?
When I was reading Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr, he describes the oculus of the Pantheon and how it sucks your vision upwards, to the high ceiling dome as soon as you walk in. He describes his desire to see snowflakes fall through the oculus, drifting down in the pool of light that comes in. Of course, there was no snow in September when I found myself living in Rome but visiting the Pantheon, especially after reading Doerr’s book, was one of the things that I had to do.
Prior to visiting, I had read up a bit on this ancient church which was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus and rebuilt by the emperor Hadrian around 126 AD. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. To think that this was built without any…
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Good ol’ German writer Goethe, in the late 1700s, was visiting enchanting Rome. He kept a journal which my class and I had an opportunity to read. Some of his journal entries are so relevant today as they were when he first wrote them.
Here is one of his entries, dated November 10, 1786:
I am living here now with a feeling of clarity and calm that I have not had for a long time. My practice of seeing and taking all things just as they are, my constancy in keeping a clear eye, and my complete rejection of all pretensions are proving very useful again, and make me quietly very happy. Every day a new remarkable object, every day some new great, extraordinary pictures, and a totality that is past imagining, however long one might think and dream.
My time in Rome has been relatively short, although, it feels…
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Writing is not easy, no matter what anyone has to say. Writing, good quality writing, is an art that takes practice, time and dedication. Before coming to Rome I had started a blog in March of this year and had been posting on it on a daily basis. I’d post creative pieces, pictures, drawings or recipes. Being in Rome for the first time with only two weeks to experience all that you possibly can can be difficult for any writer, simply finding the time when I wasn’t out and about exploring or when I wasn’t super tired was a challenge all it’s own. There was always some beckoning me to go out and see,hear, touch, smell and taste.
Last Thursday, our class went to the Keats Shelley Memorial which is the apartment that both men lived in when they spent time in Rome. I had never read much of Keats…
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… what would I think? This may seem like an odd thing to wonder about but I do. For the time that I have lived here I have come to think of myself less and less like a tourist but more as an honorary citizen of Rome. Today on my way to mass at St. Peter’s, a young woman stopped me and asked me in Italian “Parla Inglese?” and I said “Si!” She had mistaken me for an Italian! This really made me feel at home. I get annoyed now at the huge tourist groups that crowd museums, sidewalks, piazzas and even bathrooms. How annoying it must be for the real Romans that live here year round and have to maneuver around the thousands of people that want to visit their city and take millions and millions of photographs to post on Facebook. What do they think of tourists? Do…
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The wall I’m on is cold to the touch and radiating into my body which is tired but somehow still able to get up in the morning and walk several miles a day. I am not alone, I’ve walked up the Janiculum with a friend that has been a good friend over the course of our travels. There are two other men further down the wall with a camera set up facing east and waiting for it too. I have never actually gotten up just to see the sunrise, Rome will be my first. I we get to the top early and sit on the cold wall. There are clouds in the distant sky.
I read “Rome, Open City” out loud to pass the time and realize that there was no more perfect moment to read this poem than at sunrise, a dedication to this wonderful city as it begins…
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Every night before I go to sleep, I get a small moment of dread: will I be able to go to sleep?
This dread stems from a night I had of terrible sleeplessness, tossing and turning and frustration. There comes a point in any trip that you have to slow down and let your body take a little break, rest and sleep. One night last week I was particularly good about getting to bed earlier than I had been (this is an exciting city, after all). The sound of the dinner rush outside our window was quite loud and lively but I’d fallen asleep to it every night for almost a week and I was getting partly used to it.
Side note: one thing that I didn’t realize about Rome is that this is a city that never sleeps. Never. There is always groups of people, big or small, traipsing…
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At 4:30 yesterday, I woke up and didn’t go back to sleep. We had a day trip planned to Viterbo which is 2 hour train ride from Rome. At 5;30, I got up and by 6;30 we were by Santa Maria in Trastevere, ready to get to the train station. At 7:48, we got on the train.
Our guide, Anna, was a lovely woman, incredibly knowledgeable about Viterbo, passionate about citizens of the city to learn about their history and so desirous of making the day a fun, learning experience which it completely was. Viterbo is beautiful, each little tucked away street is picturesque, flowers spilling out of flower boxes, vines hanging off arches and the sun peeking through the clouds to warm us up.
The moment to say goodbye to Anna was sad, she was very fun to be around and she wished us a good rest of our…
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I haven’t worn in a bathing suit in a very, very, very long time. I didn’t even own a bathing suit until very recently. I had been debating whether or not I even wanted to bring it with me to Italy.
Here’s a list of my excuse for not bringing it to Rome:
1. I won’t have any opportunities to wear it
2. I don’t like to get wet
3. The water will be cold
4. I don’t know how to swim
5. I hate my body
6. It’ll just take up space in my luggage
All these thoughts went through my chaotic mind at one point or another before saying what the who, I’ll just stick in my luggage. When I weighed my luggage and found it to be 5 pounds overweight I took it out, semi-relieved to not have to take it with me and semi-disappointed that I…
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It’s been a little over a week in Rome and already I feel so at home, as if I’ve been here forever in my new city. Yesterday, coming back from the beach it was odd to find myself thinking “I’m going home to Roma”, which is really my home away from home. My apartment is right above a busy restaurant I still haven’t eaten in, I live surrounded by Italian life but at times I do feel as if my experience is diluted a bit by many things but the main one: language. While I have had absolutely no major issues of being stuck in a sticky language-barrier situation, I can’t understand a phone conversation of the woman that sits next to me on the train to Ostia Antica or the woman that I am fairly sure cursed at a person offering her something to buy. She obviously wasn’t interested…
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