In my last blog I mentioned how it’s sometimes hard to remember that you are at school with all of the outside opportunities the city offers. What I should have told you is that Temple Rome does an excellent job of helping you have as much free time as possible by not having classes on Friday! By free time I mean they offer a million different activities outside of school that allow you to really experience Rome in a way that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to.
On Friday we went to the University of Rome with one of our favorite tour guides (and University of Rome alumni), Gianni to see just how different academics are in Italy compared to the United States. In Italian colleges you choose when you are ready to take the final! This may seem really cool, but if you’re any bit of a procrastinator you should be thankful you go to school in America!
On Saturday me, my roommate Joanna, and friend Kate set out for the Vatican. We knew we wouldn’t be able to get through -or appreciate- the whole thing in one day, but we had to try, and anyway, we really only had one MUST DO. Make it to the top of the Vatican for sunset.
We left our apartment at 10:30 a.m. and within 10 minutes of walking we were at the walls of Vatican City. I felt like we had VIP treatment when we crossed through the doors in to what was technically a different country. We expected to stand in some sort of line to buy tickets and go through security, but nope, right to the front. I think the trick to our success was going the last Saturday of the month. If we had gone on Sunday (the last one of the month) it would have meant free admission, but what is €16 (€8 if you’ve got a student card) when you have to wait in line for hours?
I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the Sistine Chapel. It’s sad that I don’t have any pictures of the ceiling to post, but if you were even touching your camera you had at least two guards yelling that pictures were strictly prohibited. After the Sistine Chapel we pretty much had to make beeline to St. Peter’s Basilica.
YES! YES! YES! After what seemed like hundreds of very tightly packed stairs we finally made it to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica! And if you got the chance to read my fist blog, you’ll know I’m all about those aerial views. See that white building that kind of sticks out against the rest of Rome’s skyline? Yep, that’s the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument from my first post, looks kind of puny from up here, doesn’t it?
After sunset we made our way back down into St. Peter’s Basilica and just marveled at the size and beauty of the church. We had seen enough artwork that day to make my head spin, but I got particularly excited when we came across the Pietà. Going to Catholic school for nine years this was one of the pieces that we studied that always stuck out to me.
We had finally decided to call it a day after St. Peter’s Basilica. We needed time to absorb everything we had just seen… and go through the hundreds of pictures taken in that day alone!
Even though traveling to surrounding counties is tempting while you’re abroad, it’s crucial to remember where you’re studying. There is so much history in Italy, and even in Rome alone, that you could spend every weekend in this city during your stay and still not see it all!