So as many of you may already know (thanks, active Instagram account), I spent the last leg of my European adventure in Italy. Naturally, I ate my way through Italy, one delicious gelato scoop at a time.
The Roman Holiday began as follows (also, please notice my Audrey Hepburn reference):
Arielle bids farewell to London on Sunday night after spending four months in quite possibly one of the most amazing cities in the world. Arielle wakes up at 5am and proceeds to Heathrow to catch 7:30am flight. The rest is a mixture of exchanging tired words with my mother, lugging my gigantic suitcase through the airport while running over a few toes, and holding back a few tears after realizing my time in London was finally over.
A few hours later, however, my flight landed in Italy and it was time for one chapter to end and another to begin. So I said buongiorno, Italia and began my next adventure!
The next step of this Roman adventure was getting my one very large piece of luggage and one carry-on over to our hotel. After settling in, the exploring began.
Now Rome is full of crisp blue skies, ancient ruins, amazing cypress trees, and an amazing history. The Spanish steps, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Colosseum, Catacombs, beautiful roses, delicious food, and more.
When you hear that Rome wasn’t built in a day, know that no truer words have ever been spoken. Having visited a number of cities now, I think Rome has left me the most awestruck in terms of history and architecture. To think that such grand structures were built so long ago, but have managed to withstand so much wear and tear is absolutely amazing!
As a student of art history, I’ve sat in my fair share of classes learning about the art and architecture of ancient Rome. The Colosseum is as grand in person as it seems in pictures. However, the building that left me the most wonderstruck was the Pantheon. The oculus is incredible. It’s like looking into a new world when you tilt your head up and glance through the oculus. The sun shines down in to the interior of the Pantheon, illuminating every amazing detailed corner in the structure.
The Trevi Fountain was equally as amazing as the Pantheon. The Fontana di Trevi is one of the most grand, pristine and lavish fountains I’ve ever seen. What adds to its beauty, however, is how light bounces off of every marble corner. Naturally, I had to be the typical tourist and snap a photo holding gelato up in front of it!
However, what really blew me away was not just seeing the Pantheon and a number of other famous ancient structures. Instead, on a Wednesday morning at 7am, I got up and took a trip to Vatican City (as one does when they’re in Rome). Well, kiddos, it turns out my trip was worth the early trek (and aggressive crowds), as I got to see the Pope! Why yes, I laid eyes on El Papa himself, as he toured around St. Peter’s Basilica on his “pope-mobile.” To see the Pope in the Vatican (not in DC when he came last year) was amazing. I, for the first time ever, was a “peregrino.”
What resonated with me the most, however, was a visit to the Catacombs. Now, to think that where you’re standing underground is where the first Christians where buried to rest (which was incredibly long ago) is surreal. I don’t think I can communicate how amazing and meaningful that experience was, but I can tell you that the moment of silence our tour guide asked us to take in honor of those buried there was an intense experience.
There is so much more to say about my Roman Holiday than just these highlights, but I think these few short stories are an excellent way to introduce an ancient city. Rome certainly wasn’t built in a day, and neither was all the literature written about the ancient city (like this incredibly late post).
So stay tuned for the next story of my Roman Holiday. Until then, ciao, bella!