University of Wisconsin–Madison

A Roman Holiday

I cannot even believe that I have been in Italy for over a month now. Time has gone by so fast, I have made so many new friends, and experienced so much more than I thought was possible. By now, I have settled into a regular schedule and honestly I cannot imagine going back to America. UW in Italy is truly an amazing program; in our program we have two trips planned the first being Rome and the second is Venice. Valentine’s weekend we went to Rome. It is a trip I will never forget!

We left bright and early on the 14th at 7:50 am. My day did not start off very well; you see I have this thing about people waking me up early. I do not like it especially when it is a person on the opposite end of the villa chanting “ROMA, ROMA, ROMA”. Aside from the unpleasant awakening, I got up and grabbed my bags and was on my way to the train station. We left a little over an hour before our train left; this should have been plenty of time. Of course, we were stuck in traffic for almost an hour. Our bus got to the train station at 9:00 am and our train was leaving at 9:04. Our resident assistant, Evan, said that we needed to run to the train. We all get off the bus and start running as fast as we possibly can. People were telling us to hurry up and not miss our train. When we got about half way to the train one of my friends yells out “I can’t do this” and one of the guys in our programs runs over to her grabs her bag and we kept on running. We barely made the train and I wish I could have been watching us run through the train station. The train ride from Firenze to Roma was about an hour and a half. It was a beautiful ride; the sun was shining, animals were grazing, and the country side of Tuscany and Lazio (the region where Roma is located) were breath taking. Most people slept on the train but not me! After my run from the bus to the train, I was wide awake and ready to go.

There was so much to see in Roma. The first day we had free time in the morning until our tour of the Colosseo. A group of us went to get lunch and of course, gelato. Right around the corner of hotel was the most amazing gelato place that I have been to in Italy. I went there four times in the three days we were in Roma. For lunch, we went to a traditional Roman restaurant that was close to the Colosseo.

our delicious lunch at the traditional Roman restaurant
our delicious lunch at the traditional Roman restaurant

After lunch, there was a little time for some exploring. We made our way to some ruins and bought sunglasses for 3 Euros!! While we were buying sunglasses, we made friends with this Italian guy that would not stop talking to JJ (the tallest guy in the picture).

Our new Italian friend, clearly the guy on the far right-hand side of the picture
Our new Italian friend, clearly the guy on the far right-hand side of the picture

 

All of us with our new 3 Euro sunglasses. I have no idea what I am pointing at.
All of us with our new 3 Euro sunglasses. I have no idea what I am pointing at.

Finally, we made it to the Colosseo. It was a beautiful day at the Colosseo; 65 and sunny. Our tour guide was studying archaeology so I am fairly certain that we could not have had a better guide. Our tour guide or Mamma Bear gave us some very good advice for crossing the street in Italy. She said “When Mamma Bear isn’t with you, close your eyes and just start walking.” Apparently, cross walks in Italy are more or less just a street decoration. Her advice has worked out pretty well for me so far.

The group inside the Colosseo with our Mamma Bear and Professor Mike.
The group inside the Colosseo with our Mamma Bear and Professor Mike.

Saturday, started bright and early as well, we had a full day at Vatican City. This was absolutely amazing. I simply cannot do the Vatican justice. This place was enormous and the best part is the prices inside were not ridiculous because Vatican City is its own separate state. There are no taxes inside the walls of the Vatican. The artwork was impressive and we again had Mamma Bear as our tour guide. The Sistine Chapel was 100 times more beautiful than it looked when we studied it in class. It is really nice to study these famous pieces of art and then actually go see them first-hand.

The group in Vatican City at St. Peters Square
The group in Vatican City at St. Peters Square

I cannot wait to go back to Roma and see all of the things that I missed. I better start preparing for midterms. Yes, you read that correctly. Contrary to popular belief, when you study abroad there is still homework and there are still exams.

Ciao! Ciao!!