Sorry for the delay, we were stuck without internet for a few days at our apartment in Rome but that just means a bigger and better post for tonight! Another week in Italy has come and gone, time is flying by. This past week was our last trip as a class and my last weekend with the amazing friends I’ve made on this trip and we saved the best for last: ROME! Rome wasn’t necessarily my favourite city, but this weekend was by far my favourite. The people, the adventures, the nights, and the sights!
My favourite sites in Rome were definitely the Piazza Navona and the Tempietto. The big monuments such as the Colosseum, Trajan’s market, and so on were all amazing as well but it was the little things that are either hidden or less massive that made more of an impression on me. One thing that I won’t forget, and was rather tough, were my repeats on the cobble stone around the Colosseum. At 7AM and barely anyone in sight, the area was the perfect place for a grueling workout in the already hot and humid air; but it was all worth it.
So, the Piazza Navona was particularly impressive because Bernini is nothing short of a master. His fountain of the Four Rivers looked so life-like that the water spilling down could quickly make the people move along with it. The feet in particular had been perfectly studied; the muscles, the tension of their position and the way some of the characters are straining their bodies could be demonstrated through the most impressive carving skills that Bernini possessed. As the water came from the four corners of the monument, its movement could have easily awaken anything in the scene.
Another architectural marvel was the Tempietto. Designed by Bramante, the columns on the small monument are all spolia (ancient columns) from across the Roman Empire. Collecting and incorporating these columns sounds simple enough, but each had different lengths and in order for them to work together, Bramante adjusted every single capital to fit in porch of the monument. Without having had the chance to enter the courtyard or the monument itself, the structure still oozed perfection and impressed me beyond belief. The simple nature that draws upon the ancient Roman traditions as well as biblical importance exemplifies everything about the Renaissance. With a woosh of beauty upon first glance, I could barely take my eyes away.
But let’s get to the food! Every single night in Rome was amazing; Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in particular are night’s I don’t think I will ever forget. We had originally looked for a place for aperitivo on Thursday, but without much luck we ended up at a quaint little restaurant on a slightly sketchy alley of town. But lucky for us, it was probably one of the best meals we had had this entire trip. The little place boasted local and fresh products that travelled solely from their farm just outside the city. Fresh fruits and veggies accompanied all our dishes. I personally had ground lamb stuffed in a zucchini gourd; the lamb was incredibly tender and sweet and was placed on a bed of salad with slices of crunchy apple. The mix of textures was particularly amazing, while the combination of flavours was mild in order to not overpower. Their homemade tiramisu was also very good! But Alex, yours is still my fave. 🙂
When Friday night came around, we were finally joined with our group for the adventures to come on the weekend. Our dinner that night was also filled with laughs and great food. It was Saturday night, the same four of us that went out for an aperitivo across town that made my weekend. To start, the drinks were amazing! Spritzes, bellinis, negronis, and mojitos were going around; all with flavours that left a lasting impression. But it was the company that made the evening; I’m thinking back on the night we had, filled with laughs, stories, foosball games, old tunes, and strolls on the river, there wasn’t a single thing I’d change. Olivia, Dimana, and Joe (another mention! :P), I can’t even get over how much more we got to know each other and how much fun we had, lost soccer balls and all.
With only a half day left before our bus, a quick trip to visit a fascist building was in my agenda and was followed by a get together at our favourite shop in Rome: Gezzo Raw Chocolate. In the same little area as our dinner on Thursday, we found this little shop that made all their chocolates, smoothies, gelatos from scratch and with ultimate precision (as demonstrated by their views of staff in the kitchen). Their nuts are all sundried rather than roasted or baked in order to preserve their nutritious integrity and then mixed into their various products. Friday I had a gelato with raw almond, hazelnut, and cocoa. The nutty flavours tasted exactly as if I had bitten into them still whole and the cocoa was still bitter but slightly cut by the cold in order to avoid that dry taste that is sometimes accompanied by cocoa. Having not had enough by Sunday morning, we picked up some homemade smoothies; mine had cocoa, banana, avocado, and almond milk. Yum! And for a snack later on, I picked up a raw brownie filled with walnuts. Anything that has a chocolate taste but isn’t overly sweet manages to satisfy my sweet tooth, and this did the job perfectly!
With nothing but amazing memories left of Rome, I’m hoping that someday I could return and finish some of the places I didn’t have time to see. For a big city, the mix of old and new was really something. It’s getting harder and harder to believe that our time here is almost up, but we definitely went out with a bang on our last weekend.
Ciao for now!