Anyone who knows me can vouch that I have been dreaming of traveling to Italy for years. This past weekend, while most of the American students in Prague took a train ride to Vienna, Sam and I made a tiny detour…to Rome!
Our apartment ended up being located in what was touted as the perfect neighborhood, Trastavere. Trastavere is on the southwest side of the Tiber River, below Vatican City, and it consists of several universities and an eclectic mix of restaurants, bars, shops, churches, cafes, and local Roman residents.
On our first night we found an aperitif bar that was just around the corner. At L’aperitivo, one pays around 8 euros for an aperitif, or an alcoholic drink that is normally consumed before one’s meal. Then, with the show of your receipt, you have access to a delicious and variant antipasto buffet. Freni e Frizioni was apparently appeared to be the most favored bar in the neighborhood, with groups of younger local patrons and tourists alike spilling out of the small locale and into the square along the main street.
Despite being intrigued by the nightlife that was peaking all around us, we collapsed in our beds soon after dinner, weary from our day of traveling, and woke up early the next morning when our tourist endeavors ensued!
The Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, the Sistine Chapel – we saw it all. The fountain is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome, and the Pantheon is extremely well preserved and has been in used consistently since its construction. Sam was an awesome tour guide and, having been to Rome before, she managed to map out some pretty efficient routes. Over the course of just less than 3 full days we were able to witness a striking collection of some of the most significant remaining architectural and historical structures that are still standing today. Watching slides of the Pantheon flash before your eyes during an Architectecture & Society lecture more than pales in comparison to seeing these structures in person.
What struck me the most about Rome is how condensed the city way. The historic center especially has several monuments packed into such a small area, with modern building having sprung up around every corner. I can only imagine living and working in a city where you pass the Fontana di Trevi every morning when you ride your moped to work.
And on our way to the airport on Sunday, only minutes before we caught the Metro to Termini Station, we stopped to take in the Spanish Steps at the Piazza di Spagna.