Saturday, June 15, 2013

Rome, Italy

I am in love with 'la citta eterna'. I traveled to Rome + Southern Italy last March as part of Academic Travel and even though I am only just now getting to blog about it, Roma just might have my heart forever ♡ 
In the last ten months I have traveled to 9 different countries, 25+ European cities, and in my view, Rome tops them all. They say that everyone has a "soul city" and I think that I have found mine in Rome. I love how every street is steeped in history and every block has some kind of monument. But it is not just the history that attracts me, the city truly lives. Many cities I have visited are so utterly dependent on tourism for their economy that the culture has somewhat stagnated. But Rome (like DC or NYC, two cities I also love!) hosts millions of tourists every year, yet many more still live and work there. It truly is the eternal city. 

A view of the Palazzo dei Senatore on Capitoline hill. This building (and the square) was designed by Michelangelo in the 12th century. It once housed the archives of ancient rome. 

A gorgeous view from the top of Capitoline Hill overlooking Rome. 

Centuries ago this area was the center of Roman commerce and government. Now it is known collectively as The Roman Forum. Located between Capitoline Hill and the Colosseum this area is now a treasure trove of ancient monuments, shrines, statues and other pieces of archeological importance to Rome. 

Just your typical "alley" in Rome 

Il Colosseo a spectacular feat of Roman architecture which has stood in the center of Rome since 80AD (nearly 2,000 years!) Not only is it breathtaking but the stadium was designed to house everything from gladiator battles to theater productions to mock sea battles. It was also home to elaborate animal hunts with imported beasts from Africa and the Middle East (such as rhinos, hipos, elephants, giraffes, lions, panthers, tigers, etc!) The arena was elaborately staged for these hunts with movable trees and buildings. To celebrate his victory in Dacia in 107 Trajan  staged a hunt involving 10,000+ animals and 10,000+ gladiators over the course of 120 days. Basically the ancient Hunger Games.  

One of my favorite photos of the whole trip. My roommate caught this candid photo when I was utterly absorbed in the city. This window was nothing more than a stairwell to the main floor after exiting an art exhibit at the Piazza del Quirinale, but I could have stood there for hours over looking all of Rome. This photo doesn't quite capture the spectacular view but it certainly captures the feeling of awe I had. 

A beautiful church in Rome! I am embarrassed to admit that I don't remember its name, we went to so many! But I guess that's perk #274 of visiting Rome. Pop into any of the dozens of churches you see on the streets and the architecture is sure to impress you. 

Piazza Navona and the iconic Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (aka Fountain of the Four Rivers), more proof that every square in Rome is more beautiful than the last. The fountain was designed by the famous Bernini and when we visited the square on a Tuesday afternoon it was also hosting an art market.

I think you know by now why I am smiling! (ps this is the vittorio emanuele monument)

Highlights of Rome 
▷ Speaking Italian with the locals 
▷ Five course Italian dinners.. EVERY night.  
▷ The best Pizza + Panini in little cafes for lunch 
▷ Gelato! {can you see a common theme in my highlights?}
▷ The Pope's inauguration 
▷ Fontana di Trevi (see here
▷ The Vatican Museums 
▷ And so much more! 

Ciao for now Roma! Grazie per ogni singolo momento nostro! 

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