Julia Szeto
December 16, 2015

Now that I'm done with finals (!!! Just finished five minutes ago), I can write about my visit to Rome last weekend/week. As you probably don't know, the Holy Year of the Jubilee started last Tuesday. Incidentally (or not so incidentally), last Tuesday was also the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which was a holiday in Italy. There were many security concerns in Rome because the Pope would be appearing in the Vatican to open the door of St. Peter's Basilica. Thus, 700 extra troops were sent to Rome. 

I was in Rome for three nights, and I steered away from the Vatican. After spending the entire semester in tiny, walkable Siena, I was warned by friends that Rome was a REAL CITY. And a REAL CITY it was indeed. It is gigantic! My boyfriend and I were staying in the Tiburtina area, which seemed very convenient at the time of booking - but actually very far from the main city center. Luckily, the street we were staying on (Via Michele di Lando, named after one of the leaders of the famous Ciompi Revolt in Florence in 1378) led right to the Bologna Metro station, and Rome has black car Uber (very very nice Ubers). 

Here's a list of my thoughts from the visit: 

1. Though the Colosseum and the ruins were going under construction, walking around the ruins were spectacular. It helped that weather in Rome was 60 and sunny. 

2. The tanks and camo-clad militia at the entrance to every subway station and on the streets of the busiest parts of town were off-putting, but also comforting. Definitely comforting to know that they're there, but frightening to know what we could need that level of manpower for. 

3. Carbonara is DIVINE in Rome. Roman carbonara makes American carbonara look like a puddle of cream and cheese. In reality, real carbonara is light and just right - I often feel that American carbonara overwhelms my taste buds. If you have the chance, try carbonara with truffle oil. 

4. Trastevere (a neighborhood across the river south of the Vatican) has some adorable second-hand bookshops stocked with many English books. Also try Da Poeta, a pizzeria with great pizza and the best and only nutella calzone I've ever had. 

5. Fontana di Trevi is huge. Remember to make a wish. 

6. The Pantheon is pretty cool - in my opinion, more grand than the Colosseum. 

Alright! That's it! I'm happy to report that nothing happened in Roma while we were there. I hope that the Year of the Jubilee continues with no instances of violence. 

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Julia Szeto

<p>I am a junior at Bates College, where I study English, Creative Writing, and Chemistry. Though I left the beautiful forests of Portland, Oregon for snowier seasons in Maine, I&#39;ve discovered that there are valuable stories to be heard and told in ever corner, or coast, of the world. I am interested in people and the words they have to say, and I am thrilled to be in a city as rich with history as Siena. I hope to explore new perspectives of culture and life in Siena through words and photographs. Outside of story-telling, I am a varsity coxswain on the Bates rowing team, and I enjoy hiking, trail running, singing loudly in the car, and getting hopelessly lost in a good book.</p>

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