Ciao Lettori! I’m writing to you from my beautiful sunny windowsill in the dorm, looking out onto what promises to be another nice day. The weather has been more than amazing – high 80s, sun all day with an afternoon rainstorm that leaves the evenings clear and perfect for late night strolls.
Tuesday night, a few classmates and I decided to take our chances on the Italian night life and went to a bar. It was called ‘Mister Boom,’ yet the interior was nothing like we expected – the basement bar had a 100% western theme, with barrels and benches to sit on and the bar behind a giant covered wagon. Despite the reverse culture shock, the sangria was delicious. It had the perfect blend of fruits and red wine, so good that we took our friends back there last night.
Our itinerary for Wednesday included returning to the historic center to visit the Capitoline museums. I couldn’t remember if I had visited these in high school, but as soon as we walked in and saw the fragments from the colossus of Constantine, memories came flooding back. Thankfully during this visit we had more time to explore the museum and I got to appreciate more of the artwork. I can definitely say this museum is one of my favorites. Despite its winding and confusing layout, each room has so much to see, whether it is the murals on the wall or the various busts of Caesar.
After our exploration of the museum, I grabbed a quick lunch and headed back with some classmates to visit the Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli (required entry coming soon). After climbing its steep steps, we entered and the sight took my breath away. The inside is one of the most beautiful and ornate despite the basilica’s flat brick facade. This is also the basilica with the statue of the Gesu Bambino, or Sacred Baby Jesus. Located in a small chapel in the back left, the Baby Jesus statue isn’t very lifelike, yet it is the recipient of letters from visitors and Italians alike. Finding this chapel was really beneficial – I sat there and wrote an long entry in my journal, finding the peace and quiet absolutely sacred. That is, until someone bursted in with a camera. Maybe this is just personal, but I cannot stand when people refuse to acknowledge that there is no photography allowed – this basilica had a clearly stated sign saying no photos, so even when I was itching to snap a shot, I resisted. I wish others had been able to do the same.
Today we venture to the Colosseum as well as the Palatine Hill. Navigating has not really been a problem for me lately, which is really surprising, but I’m not complaining. It’s really fun to just walk around the Tiber at night and then be able to find your way back home.