When I decided to study abroad last fall, I expected to have a once in a lifetime experience. Yet what I did not realize is that I would, quite literally, fall in love with Rome.
To say the least, life in Rome was beyond my expectations. I am still daydreaming about the endless open-air markets, homemade pasta dishes, ancient ruins, and arguably the world's best espresso. As I sit here sunken into my living room couch, I envy the locals that have the privilege of living in Rome. I would give up my entire summer just to have one month, even one week, back in Rome.
The ultimate reason why I would return to Rome is for the Roman lifestyle. Romans only stay in their apartments to sleep, eat a meal or two, and recollect their selves throughout the day. They much prefer to be social and out and about, rather than seclude their selves in their homes. In Rome, I constantly was around other people, even when I was technically wandering by myself throughout the city. I felt more at peace drinking a cappuccino alone at a café, than I ever have lying around browsing the internet at my house back in the states.
Not only is the lifestyle more social and active, the city itself caters to every personality. If you are a history buff, there are an abundance of ancient ruins from the Coliseum to the Baths of Caracalla. If you just want to relax, you can spend the day lounging in the Borghese gardens or at a café in the Piazza Navona. If you want to shop, Via del Corso has some of Europe’s best shopping and Trastevere is home to Italy’s largest open-air market. And if you love cuisine, well you really cannot go wrong with any of Rome’s countless authentic restaurants. Life in Rome is simple and that is what makes the eternal city so captivating. I do not even have to hope that I will return because I know that when I go back to Europe, Rome is still at the top of my list.
Thursday afternoon, Brittany and I caught a train from Cinque Terre to Florence. Brittany and I stayed with her friends Amelia and Alex, who live in the center of the city. Florence is a beautiful, small, and walkable city in the Tuscan region of northern Italy. It is known for its delicious Northern-Italian cuisine (like prosciutto ham), Tuscan wine, and fashion (Gucci was founded there). Outside of the city is where an abundance of leather products are manufactured, so there is a huge and well-priced leather market in the city center. Most of the residents in the city speak English because it is a popular tourist attraction.
I have been to Florence in the past with my family, but definitely saw some different sites while exploring the city with Amelia and Alex. We started the day at the leather market and found ourselves some satchel purses.
Afterwards we bought sandwiches from I Due Fratellini, a small counter shop on a side street (thank you to my sister, Laura, for the recommendation!). We took our sandwiches and a bottle of wine up to the Piazzale Michelangelo. After only about a twenty minute hike we made it to the piazza, which overlooks the entire city. It was absolutely stunning. The colors of Florence are so beautiful, especially when photographed.
We climbed down the hill and walked out to the Ponte Vecchio, a street with expensive shopping that leads onto a bridge. The bridge has small shops boarded to its sides that have beautiful gold jewelry.
As soon as we got to the bridge it started to rain, so we went to a covered market that has the famous hog statue. They say if you rub the hog's nose, make a wish, and drop a coin from its mouth your wish will come true. Well, we should have wished for the rain to stop because it immediately started to downpour.
Luckily I was heading back to Rome soon, so we set up camp at La Proscuitteria, a hole in the wall deli. The shop does not have a restaurant license, so if people eat there they have to clean up after themselves. We ordered this huge board of breads, cheeses, spreads, and meats. I was in heaven! Definitely a great end to a relaxing day in Firenze.
When In Rome
Two of my most cherished hobbies go hand-in-hand. Writing is my favorite way to reflect after traveling to a new country. I have kept this blog ever since I studied in Rome to share my travels with families and friends. I hope you enjoy learning about my experiences and getting a sense for my writing skills. If you have any questions, please reach out!