Since being here in Rome, Loyola’s JFRC (JFoRCe, as it’s affectionately called here by the students) has taken great care of us. As part of our orientation package for the first week and a half, we explored the magnificence that is the Colosseum and walked through Imperial Fora, all of which was done during a beautiful day trip. And after the first week of classes, we ventured down south for a bit of history hunting!
The Colosseum and Fora grounds were absolutely awe-inspiring. The most striking thing about these monuments and ruins is the history that is behind them. Centuries upon centuries of gladiator fights, animal hunts, political empires, and so much more are still standing tall and strong, waiting to reveal their secrets to anyone who will listen. The different Roman forums were particularly amazing simply because of their sizes! We explored the ruins for a few hours and I still think I missed a couple of monuments that were hidden there!! But no matter, I still have plenty of time to get back and explore the ruins, and it’s only a short commute from campus.
The beauty of Italy continued as we took a journey down south for our longer orientation weekend trip. The first day of our trek brought us to Paestum, where we saw three beautifully preserved temples and ruins. The three temples were absolutely enormous, and one of the things our tour guide told us is that temples back then were built facing East/West because that’s how the sun rises and sets. Absolutely stunning. We then traveled on to our hotel which was located inVietri sul Mare. The entire hotel was essentially built on the side of a cliff overlooking the sea…needless to say, our view of the sunrise each morning was breathtaking, look:
And that’s one of the temples from Paestum!
For the next two days of our trip, we explored a buffalo mozzarella farm and a wine vineyard located at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. By far, the best mozzarella and wine I’ve ever tasted in my life. Since the vineyard was located at the foot of a volcano, the soil is ridiculously enriched, making their wine some of the best! However, it amazes me that so many people settled at the base of this active volcano…I know living there would make me a nervous wreck.
This was our guide around the vineyard. Rumor has it he gave Leonardo DiCaprio a private tour!!
Anyway, as per usual when having fun, the orientation trip ended way too soon. Just as I was getting used to multiple course lunches and dinners over the long weekend, it was time to pack up and head back to JFoRCe. The Campania region we traveled to that weekend was by far one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen. I hope I can head back there and to Napoli and have some of their famous pizza soon! And if I’ve learned anything so far being in Italy and in Rome, it’s that I could spend my entire semester (heck, even entire years) exploring Italy, and I would never get enough. There’s enough beauty and history here to last a lifetime. I can’t wait to see where the next couple of weeks take me!
Ciao for now!