Our first full day in Rome is 3/4 done, but it was jam-packed with activities. After a breakfast of ‘un cappucino e un cornetto,’ we took the metro from our lodgings to the Colosseum (which we’re visiting later in the trip). From there, we walked through the Imperial Fora and saw all the big ones – Nerva, Augustus, Trajan and Caesar. The most impressive was seeing the layout of the Basilica Ulpia spread out before me. After that, we crossed the street to the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II, climbing all the bone-white stairs to the Tomb of the Unkown Soldier, and then to the musuem inside the right side. From there, we exited to the top of the Monument, right next to the Campidoglio. After descending the steep staircase in front of the Chiesa di Santa Maria in Aracoeli to break for lunch, some classmates and I found this super ristorante called ‘Il Giardina Romano,’ where I had a salad and artichoke parm. The food was amazing and the back garden we ate in was perfect for some peace and quiet. I highly recommend it if you’re ever in the area.
Upon meeting on the steps to the Campidoglio, we descended upon the Ancient Forum. The arch of Septimius Severus was the first thing in our line of sight and seeing it in person rather than in a Piranesi sketch was amazing. The rest of our walk in the forum followed that formula – I would identify something by remembering how Piranesi depicted it, see it in real life and be totally astounded. At the close of our forum tour, our teachers set us loose, but the impending thunderstorm had most of us running back to the dorms.
Once back, I went for my first roman jog and absolutely loved it. The weather had turned out perfectly, the streets were pretty clear and the scenery was all brand new. I also discovered the path right next to the Tiber where one can run without triple checking the intersections. I deem my runs successful if I’m smiling by the end and this one got an A+. A few classmates and I are going out to dinner later (Roman dinner time is later and it’s taking me a while to get used to), then out for a night on the town. We’ll see what this Tuesday night in Roma brings us. Gelato and the Spanish Steps, anyone?