WHEN IN ROME
Documenting my travels across the globe
After waiting for what felt like hours, my dad finally stepped out of the train station's elevator. I was so excited for him to come visit me that it took me a few seconds to register that it was actually him standing in front of me. It had been almost three months since we last saw each other in person.
For the majority of my dad's visit, I showed him my favorite spots in Rome — most of which he had never been to before. The most enjoyable part about sharing these spots with my dad was seeing how excited he was to experience them for the first time. Roma is not only mine but his favorite city in Italy as well. He was impressed with my street smarts and how well I knew my area. Although, he was more impressed that he could buy a fantastic cup of coffee for only $1.50, versus the $5 he spends on Starbucks back in the states.
One of the best experiences we had was going to our first football match together. I have been meaning to go to one of the games and decided to wait for my dad, since he has never been to a Roma match either. The match took place in Stadio Olympico, the Olympic Stadium from the 1960's. We really enjoyed seeing the giant Roman statues lining the track fields. The actual football match was also a blast. We loved being a part of the crowd, especially since our section was the most rowdy. The Roma football fans are so prideful that I got chills listening to them sing their national anthem. My dad loved that when they call each player's first name, the crowd yells out their last name. I am definitely glad we got to experience our first football match together.
For his last day, we visited our relatives west of Rome, in the ancient hillside town of Tivoli. Tivoli is older than Rome and is home to ancient ruins, musical gardens, and natural beauty.
After enjoying a four-course meal made by my Great Aunt Enza, my father and I ventured into Villa d’Este. Villa d’Este is an Italian garden that was constructed under the rule of Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este during the 1560’s. At the time, Ippolito lost the election to become the next Pope and was sent to govern over Tivoli as a sort of conciliation prize. His villa overlooks Tivoli as well as Rome in the distance. The back entrance to the villa overlooks a spectacular garden built upon terraces in the hillside.
The most interesting part of the gardens is that all of the fountains are intricately engineered and strategically placed. Each fountain has a symmetrical equivalent on the opposite side of the garden. The water that flows through them is from the Aniene River, so the water pressure depends on the river’s conditions. My great aunt demonstrated their symmetry by pressing her finger over one small fountain, as we watched the water rise higher in the opposite fountain. I still am perplexed by how well thought out every little detail is.
The most infamous fountain plays music purely through water pressure. At certain times throughout the day, water is sent through the pipes and plays an instrumental song. For almost fifty years, the musical fountain was broken and no one knew how to fix it. Recently, one engineer was finally able to make it sing again. Interestingly enough, dozens of the villa’s beautiful fountains no longer work for unknown reasons. The engineers from hundreds of years ago were so brilliant that today no one knows how to fix them. Unless, of course, today’s engineers were to break them open to see inside, which would destroy them in the process. Even though I was disappointed to not see some of them in action, I respect the intricacy behind them. Villa d’Este is a beautiful mystery.
After waiting almost three months, I could not be happier with my dad's visit. I am so grateful that he had the opportunity to experience a taste of what life is like for me in Roma. I just wish he could have stayed a little bit longer! Unfortunately, I had class and he was off to Sicily to see more of our relatives. The rest of my family and I will join him in Sicily this weekend.
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!