Is Italy even real? It sounds crazy, but I've actually had to ask myself this question multiple times during my first week here. Ah, Roma, I love you! Leaving the fleeting familiarity of Paris was daunting, I won't lie. Leaving a place where I knew the language and going into a completely foreign city was surely something I thought was going to take an adjustment period, but as soon as we walked through the narrow Roman streets that first night, I felt at ease.
The Roman lifestyle is so different than that of Parisians. In Paris, I felt like the people had a certain, fixed pace of their everyday; from the Metro etiquette to the quick café stop to stopping at the markets on their way home from work. Adjusting into that routine felt like stepping onto a moving walkway -- thrust into a routine of acting like I always knew what I was doing when half the time I was just trying to figure out where I was. Italians, however, are strikingly relaxed. Their pace of life is noticeably slower. You don't speak Italian but try? Good enough. Don't understand the bus system? That's ok. Don't get me wrong, I loved Paris, but my goodness, Rome has my heart.
For one of the oldest cities in the world, Rome has a peculiar museum and conservation system. In the states, if a building is older than, say, 100 years old, it's guarded and treated as if it could crumble down if someone looks at it the wrong way. Here we walk past buildings that are 200, 500, 1000+ years old and the Romans give it no second glance. It's not that they don't appreciate it -- it's just the whole city is built layer upon layer of these historic buildings. A hodgepodge of history, if you will.
It's so humbling to see the history in a living, thriving city. This is Rome! We've all heard the stories and glories of the ancient, powerful city. The emperors! The kings! The glorious innovations and feats of engineering! Just the other day we took a walk down the Appian Way, one of the oldest -- if not the oldest -- roads in the world. It was built in 4th century B.C., and I got to walk on it. Some people may say, "Oh, Kelly, it's just a road!" Yes, but it's a road that's survived nearly 2,500 years and I can just take a leisurely stroll on it! In fact, I think it's been one of my favorite moments here in Rome thus far.
We've been so busy here in Rome, just as we were in Paris. We've visited several major churches of Rome (San Giovanni, Santa Maria Maggiore), the Colosseum, the Markets of Trajan, and many piazzas and important monuments all over the city. In our last week here, we're keeping busy with double visits to the Vatican, the Forum of Caesar, and an opera in the ancient Baths of Caracalla. Though we've been keeping busy, Rome's laid-back style and mild weather keeps us all in great moods. I'm already sad to think we'll be leaving at the end of the week, but I can't wait to see these last bits of Rome before departing for Madrid. In these last few days, you'll find me eating lots of pizza (seriously, the pizza here is better than I could have dreamed) and enjoying living in the Eternal City.
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<p>I'm Kelly, 21-year old senior anthropology and museum studies student at Indiana University. When I'm not working or studying, you can find me drinking too much coffee, watching unhealthy amounts of tv, or writing one of the 4 stories I've started - usually all at the same time. Lover of pugs, the color green, and good wines. My blogs are for you if you're interested in traveling with anxiety, culture discussions, bad puns, tourist-y photos, sarcasm, and many, many useless facts.</p>