Getting to Know Rome

Submitted by Paige Sullivan on the 2023 spring semester program in Rome, Italy…

Spending an afternoon in Tivoli

After five weeks of living abroad in Italy, it is crazy to think how normal this lifestyle has become for me. After three weeks in a row of travel, my friends and I decided to take this weekend off to just reset and refresh. This week gave me a lot of time to reflect on what I have learned so far in my journey abroad. First and foremost I feel as though I have learned the importance of independence. Coming to a new country alone is never easy, so it is important to have a sense of security in yourself to be able to get through any tough days. Also, despite how great the people you may meet abroad are, it is important to recognize that not everyone is going to want to do the same thing as you all of the time, which is totally okay! Independence is key here, because as long as you have a sense of comfort in doing thing alone then there is nothing stopping you. 

This weekend, I spend time resting and resetting, but also exploring Rome a bit more. Though I only live 20 minutes walking distance away from Vatican City, I had not yet been so this was a great opportunity to visit. I got the chance to go to mass inside of St. Peter’s basilica, which was an extraordinary experience. Vatican City was overall amazing, and I still cannot believe that it is its own nation!

I also went to the Porta Portese market which takes place every Sunday in my  neighborhood of Trastevere. This market truly has anything you can imagine, from bags to clothes to household needs. It had hundreds of vendors and was a super cool experience! Overall, it was a very chill but good week! (Submitted during Week 5).

Today marks the end of another week in Rome! This week was another great week. I found some new great parks, as well as some great sports for treats like tiramisu and gelato Once again we did not book any overnight trips as we had some makeup days at school, but my friends and I took a day trip to Tivoli, Italy. The train was only about 45 minutes from Rome, and it was super affordable! Tivoli is known for Vila d’Este, a museum and garden. The museum had lots of wonderful art, and the garden was absolutely beautiful. Apparently the fountain is seen in the Lizzie McGuire movie, which I thought was pretty funny!

My first time having cacio e Pepe

The people in Tivoli were insanely nice and friendly. We went to a cafe as well as a delicious restaurant with a beautiful view, and the staff at both were so friendly and welcoming. As much as I love Rome, the people are not as friendly, but this is simply because it is a big city and also because that is just the culture.

This was my first time having cacio e Pepe surprisingly! Cacio e Pepe is a Roman dish centered around Pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper, and it was absolutely delicious! I will certainly be ordering it again.

I am so grateful to have been able to see this beautiful little town that filled my heart with so much joy (Submitted during Week 6).