Over the past seven weeks, I have walked, jogged, ran, and frolicked all over central Rome. No matter where I was going or what I was going to do, I always made it a point to observe the new foreign land which now engulfed me. Without my IPOD or cell phone, this was typically a very easy task, and most times it was more entertaining than any piece of technology I owned. I took notice of facial expressions, fashion, routines, food preferences, drinking behavior, dog walking, exercising, conversation, tourists, and piazzas alike. I wouldn’t trade some of the moments I experienced during this time period for the world. I learned so much about the Italian culture by just monitoring the daily life of Roma.
In particular, I researched three main ideas which helped me to allocate a greater deal of focus to specific concepts rather than merely gaining broad images of countless themes and places in Rome. My first theme was Italian café. I researched different kinds of café, the bars which contain these drinks, and towards the end I highlighted multiple famous and delicious coffee bars located around the city. Although it was interesting to learn about café, my favorite part was tasting all different kinds in various bars. The firsthand experience I gained along the way was priceless. Visiting the prestigious bars was definitely an eye-opening experience, but I learned just as much from frequently the local ones as well. This was by far my most rewarding and interesting theme.
My second theme, Roman water, was a much broader concept than café. I focused not only on some drinking fountains and aqueducts, but I also covered artwork and the way it influences markets and the human body. I learned valuable lessons about the quality and dedication of the ancient Romans and how meticulous they were about the tiniest details. Their aqueducts still supply the entire city with cold, fresh, clean drinking water. Not only is it refreshing, but it’s free – a rarity for the €2 water sold in the supermarcados. I also enjoyed observing how water was used in various sculptures and how without it, we could not take pleasure in some of the daily markets which provide us with fresh fruits, vegetables, and sauces.
Finally, my last concept was a place – The Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere. I wanted to get to know the neighborhood I inhabited for about two months; what better way to do this than to physically visit places in this quaint section of Rome on a daily basis. Once I became familiar with the narrow, windy, and crowded cobblestone roads, it was easy to visit many different restaurants and shops. I literally could have popped into a new store or ristoranti every single day. My favorite spot to hang out in Trastevere though was by far the busy piazza which was alive and well during most days and nights. It was always filled with kids my age and with elderly men and women as well. If one of the latter would have told me that they were 200 years old, I would not have thought twice about believing the story. I do not mean this in a negative sense at all. The people just seemed so ahead of their time and knew everything about anything in their city. Trastevere is extremely historic and ancient, which to me is one of the most attractive things about it. It was like living in a flashback and everyday intrigued and entertained me. I hope that I did each of these three specific ideas justice; I strived to portray each as accurately and honestly as possible.
This is one of my favorite pictures that I took while abroad - St. Peter's Dome and the bridge at night.