Yesterday, I parted ways with Rome. I packed my bags, said my goodbyes, and left the place I’ve called home for the past ten weeks.
It’s been an incredible quarter abroad – from listening to lectures in the Forum, to traveling on the weekends, to learning how to properly taste wine, I’ve loved every minute overseas. But, more importantly, I’ve learned a lot. I have retained a surprising amount of Roman history and could probably put together a great historical walking tour of the city, replete with museum stops, church visits, and great photo-ops. On the flip side, I can also recommend great local eateries (the best pizza you’ve ever had), ex-pat/international student hang-outs (no Italian required), and weekend destinations within Italy (Tuscany, anyone?).
Here are some highlights from my time in the Eternal City (in no particular order, because ranking them is impossible). I’ll also be adding more (backdated) posts on Rome & my travels from the last few weeks soon.
Pumpkin & Amaretto Ravioli at Le Fate
Let’s just say it was the best dish I’ve had in Rome. It was one of their specials the night I went, and I split it with my roommate (we should’ve gotten one for each of us, in retrospect). My ravioli standards will never be the same again. For the record, this restaurant is great for reasons beyond just their ravioli – I’ve been twice because it’s just down the street from my apartment, and everything I’ve tried has been delicious. Other standouts include their eggplant parmesan, bruschette (trying at least a few of their varieties of bruschetta is a must), and tiramisu. It’s a charming little place, decked out with French-inspired, fairy-themed decor and plenty of twinkling lights.
Viale Trastevere, 130
The Bernini sculptures in Galleria Borghese are some of the most unforgettable works of art I’ve ever seen. His Apollo and Daphne, the Rape of Proserpina, and Aeneas, Anchises, and Ascanius are incredible beyond words – and no, I’m not exaggerating. I don’t mean to sound dramatic (maybe just a little); I was just blown away by the detail and skill exhibited in his work. The other highlights of Galleria Borghese are its five Caravaggio paintings. Learning about Caravaggio’s life, style, and significance in the Italian Baroque and then going to see his works in person was a great experience. A classmate and I also gave a presentation on a biography of Caravaggio in the very room that contains his five paintings, so that made it particularly memorable as well.
Piazzale del Museo Borghese, 5
‘Roma dal Cielo’ – A Visit to the Top of Il Vittoriano
The wedding cake of Rome offers some great views of the city – views that rival even those of the Gianicolo, the lovely hill on which my apartment is located (the second highest hill in modern Rome, but not one of “the seven”). I would suggest going at sunset, so you can watch the sky change colors as the city lights up. The top of Il Vittoriano has an incredible view of the Colosseum, which happens to be my favorite monument in Rome…reason enough to pay the 7 euro to get up there.
Piazza Venezia (entrance on the east side of the monument, on the left when facing it)
I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll mention it again – Dar Poeta è la mia pizzeria preferita a Roma (Dar Poeta is my favorite pizzeria in Rome). Their ‘Dar Poeta’ pizza is one of the best I’ve had. And it’s even better when followed by a Nutella and ricotta dessert calzone. Speaking of desserts…
Vicolo del Bologna, 45 (near Piazza Trilussa)
The best gelato in Rome is at Giolitti. A friend who studied abroad in Rome last year suggested it, and I finally made it there a couple of days before I left (right after I completed my final exam, in fact). I had a 3-flavor, chocolate-dipped cone, with champagne, rice, and ‘opera italiana’ (candied nut, I think). Champagne and rice gelato flavors?! My friends and I were all wowed by the champagne gelato, and I loved the rice (I’m a big fan of rice pudding). One of my friends also tried a delicious ‘caramel fig’ flavor. I wish I could go back. At least I ended my time in Rome on a high note.
Via Uffici del Vicario, 40 (near the Pantheon)