I’m sorry I haven’t been able to blog as much as I’d planned! I’ve been so busy, and most nights I barely have time to answer emails. But here’s a quick wrap up of the things I’ve done in Italy:
- St. Peter’s Square
- St. Peter’s Basilica
- Papal Audience
- Papal Angelus
- Sistene Chapel
- Vatican Museum
- Piazza Navona
- Roman Forum
- Palantine Hill
- St. Mary Majore
- St. John Lucerne
- St. Cecelia
- San Castillo Catacombs
- Trastevere neighborhood
- Piazza Santa Mara
- Piazza de Popolo
- Castel San Angelo
- Spanish Steps
- Piazza de Barbarini
- Michaelanglo’s David
- San Lorenzo Market
- Piazza del Campo
- Il Duomo
- St. Mark’s Basilica
- Murano glass demonstration
- Church of St. Francis
- Church of St. Clare
What have I missed? I have two weeks left, and I don’t want to miss a thing! I have a free weekend coming up, and I’m deciding between going back to Florence for a cooking class, going to Sicily or going to Cinque Terra on the coast. Thoughts?
I’m slowly uploading my photos to Flickr, and waiting on a Pro account but check out what I have up so far! This is one of my favorites. I’ve taken over 500 and was trying to upload about 140 that I’ve edited, but it’s going to take a while with my slow connection here. Italy has not yet been introduced to the T1 line (or Diet Dr Pepper but that’s another tragic story for later.)
I’d love any and all advice on taking and editing photos, especially when shooting in manuel! Email me or leave comments, I’d really appreciate it.
Rome is gorgeous! After leaving a day late, I got here early Saturday morning, and have had a whirlwind weekend catching up. My group is staying in a villa in Braccione, which is about 40 minutes north of Rome by train. It’s like taking the Caltrain into San Francisco, but the train goes further into the city, all the way to the Vatican. So there’s a less of a chance I’ll ended stranded for the night like I have at Milbrae. Braccione is a beautiful little town, and our place located directly between the main town and a huge, beautiful lake with a beach and waterfront area with bars and restaurants. We take the train into Rome for our classes, which are next door to St. Peter’s Square near the Jesuit Headquarters. Father Locatelli actually lives part of the year down the street from where we have class. (For my LSU friends, he’s the former president of SCU who left this year. Like O’Keefe but without the pornostache. Speaking of which, GEAUX TIGER BASEBALL! I met an LSU guy in the Rome airport and was happy to report to him the score of the game, thanks to Ginger.)
- Our hotel in Braccione, Hotel Villa Maria
Braccione is the town where Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes got married, in a huge castle up the hill. I know, gag. They’re pretty proud of this fact, as evidence by this poster hanging in the restaurant by the waterfront.
- Bracciono <3s TomKat
We have to hike up a huge hill to get into town and to the train station to get to Rome. I am not exaggerating, this hill is a nightmare, especially for my recently sprained ankle and all around klutzy self. Anyone want to take odds on me leaving Rome in a bodycast? ‘Cause it’s a definite posibility. I don’t even know what to compare this hill to. Hayes Street has nothing on this hill. I’m not exaggerating y’all, I swear. I need to learn how to say The Hill of Death to My Ankle Tendons in Italian.
On the flipside, you make up the hill and you can eat all the pasta you want. The food here is great, we eat breakfast and dinner at the hotel and fend for ourselves in Rome for lunch. Breakfast is croissants, bread, doughnuts, and oddly enough, cold scrambled eggs. Not I woke up too late cold eggs, but refrigerated eggs. I skip breakfast a lot, either because I’m sleeping or already off in Rome.The bread here is also interesting…it’s unsalted. That doesn’t really sound like something you’d notice, but you do. It’s good, just different. We had calamari last night and spaghetti alla carbanora, which I’ve always wanted to make but was scared off by the raw eggs, even when Erin told me it wasn’t that hard. Needless to say, I’ve got a grocery list going in my head for recipes to try when I get home. South bay people, get ready to do some serious eating. My favorite thing is the pizza. It’s very cheap, and I just get a slice and eat it in the street or find some steps to read a book. Best of all, lots of it doesn’t have tomato sauce
- Our villa
After making it up the hill, we spent all of yesterday in Rome getting our bearings in the city. We saw St. Peter’s, the Pantheon, Piazza Novana and from far away, the Coliseum. We’re definitely going back to all these places, but we wanted to get a quick look at all of them and start to navigate the city. I’m having serious high school latin flashbacks because most of the stories we read in class revolved around Roman landmarks….the Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, the Tiber River, etc. I wish I knew as much Italian as a I did Latin. Quintus assinus est, anyone?
- The building we have class in, next door to the Vatican
We also had our first gypsy experience yesterday. The train was delayed about an hour, and this woman walked by us with a gaping hole in her skirt. Some of the guys starting laughing, and she turned on her heels and stared us down. It was definitely a Drag Me to Hell situation, and I’m convinced she put a hex on us.
As you can probably tell from all the photos, I’m really loving taking pictures here and finally feeling comfortable with the riddle that is my SLR. Roman architecture has such great angles, and I’m starting to fall in love with photography. I’m nowhere near being an Erin Parker, but I’m trying. It rained off and on yesterday in Rome, and the light was awful, but I got in a few good pictures. I took over 250 in a day, and only liked about 30 which I guess is par for the course. I don’t know when I became that crazy camera girl, but I love it, even if I’m still much more employable via the written word. My best ones still need to be messed with in Photoshop, but I’ll pot them later.
The drivers here are insane. I think chapter 2 of the Italian driving manuel is how to run over dumb Americans. I think I’m better suited to driving here than I am in the US. Let’s just say my insurance would be cheaper, if they even have that here.
I’m currently sitting in an Italian bar listening to an acappella version of Justin Timberlake’s “Ayo Technology.” It’s in english, but definitely not JT. I kind of like it. Bars here aren’t necessarily bars like the Hut or Chimes, some of them are more like coffeeshops. There’s two girls my age sitting next to me, wearing University hoodies and talking more than reading the stacks of books they brought in — not unlike what we do at Crema. It’s good to know that gossip tops homework in other countries too, even if we are lazy Americanos.
I have class in Rome tomorrow and Thursday, and I’ll probably go exploring on Wednesday. Until then, email me or text me! Miss yall!
- Dwarfs in pasta? Come si dice…lost in translation?
I’m not entirely sure what my internet situation will be in Italy, but hopefully I’ll be able to upload information and pictures to this blog throughtout my trip and send emails. I leave for Rome tomorrow morning, and I will be there until I go back to the Bay Area on July 26. Until then, this is how you can reach me:
My current American AT&T cell phone will be able to receive free text messages while I’m in Italy, but it will cost me to text back. So make your text REALLY good, and maybe I’ll respond 😉 But keep me updated, send me texts and emails and I’ll respond as soon as possible!
I’m staying here:
Hotel Villa Maria
Vial del Lago, 24
00062 Bracciano (Rm)
Send me mail, love letters, care packages loaded with Diet Dr. Pepper or what have you 😉
I’ll post here, send emails, twitter and generally try not to annoy y’all to death with too much information. Email me, keep me up to date with what’s going on back home! I miss you all already. See you in a few weeks!