The GoGlobal Blog

Roman Holiday!

Roman Holiday!

I promised to try to post more and here’s the next one! Let’s go back to my 3rd week in Rome. You would think after three weeks the thrill of studying abroad would have worn off, but I can assure you it has not!

After our Orientation Trip we all fell back into the rhythm of classes, homework, and mensa…until Wednesday, that is. On Wednesday I had my first on-site class for Art in Rome at the Roman Forum and Colosseum (more on classes in a later post). After spending three hours learning about the architecture and history of two of Rome’s most famous spots, we headed back to campus to prepare for the Mass of the Holy Spirit at St. Ignatius Church that night.

Fernando, Luke, and I in front of the alter

St. Ignatius Church, first, is absolutely stunning. You walk into this huge expansive space with these amazing frescoes that expand from the back to the front of the church (in my opinion their beauty rivaled that of the Sistine Chapel). A “fake” dome is frescoed above the alter, although it took me about halfway through mass to realize that it wasn’t an actual dome. I was lucky enough to cantor the mass with a few other girls from the JFRC. Although a little shaky we made it through without any practice! And the space is so incredible that any sound in it just echoes and turns into this haunting melody. Absolutely fantastic.

My reaction to the pear pasta

Following mass we went to dinner in a restaurant near Piazza Navona, where I had a life changing experience. We were served this pasta, which is really indescribable. The pasta looked like a type of tortellini, and was served in a cream with light pumpkin sauce. The real kicker was when you bit into the pasta where there was this rich pear flavor. I had to stop eating and just breath I was so overwhelmed. The food here never stops amazing me.

Mouth of Truth

That Friday a few of us went around Rome and “Church Hopped,” specifically seeing the Church of Santa Maria, made famous by the movie “Roman Holiday,” where you can put your hand in The Mouth of Truth and see if your hand survives! Luckily we all made it out alive (Even though my lie was “I’m from Switzerland”…maybe a secret heritage I just don’t know about??)

After the churches we went to the Capitoline Museo (Museum), which is this HUGE museum with famous pieces such as the She Wolf Statue and the Dying Gaul. We spent three hours wandering around and still didn’t see it all. Part of the museum also has this incredible overlook where you are right about the Forum looking out over the city of Rome. I’m telling you, everywhere you turn in this city it looks like a postcard.

The She Wolf Statue

The next day Father Al (one of the priests at the JFRC who is possibly the funniest person I’ve ever met) took a group of us on a tour of the Vatican. After running into one of his Swiss Guard friends (I’m telling you, he is the coolest) we headed inside. No matter how many times I’ve been inside, or how many pictures I’ve seen or documentaries I’ve watched the expansiveness of it never fails to amaze me. You are quite literally surrounded by so much history, it’s absolutely overwhelming. Father Al (after taking pictures with a number of tourists who we’re pretty sure thought he was the pope) took us around, pointing out different statues and giving us fan facts along the way. After an hour of seeing the Vatican we headed to what Father Al calls the “Walmart of Catholicism,” a great store with a lot of cheaply prices but good quality Catholic items. With the papal audience coming up we all stocked up, buying rosaries, holy water containers, medals, everything we could get our hands on. I think the store owners were a little scared by our enthusiasm! Finally after a quick stop for gelato at Old Bridge (I don’t care if it’s a tourist trap, I still think it’s some of the best gelato around) we headed back up to campus.

The Vatican

Saturday night Fernando, Tom, and I went out for dinner. Let me explain why this is noteworthy. Excluding dinners planned by the JFRC we hadn’t gone out for a “real dinner” since being in Rome. Needless to say we were very excited to try out our Italian and try some local food. The night, however, did no go quite as smoothly as expected.

Tom with one of our pizzas

Ordering dinner believe it or not, is not as easy as ordering gelato. After ordering wine for the table (vino tavolo) and an appetizer (which was fantastic even if we didn’t know what we were getting) we began to order our main courses. When looking at the menu we were struck with how inexpensive the pizza was. Only 5 euro for a pizza! Being the Americans we are we then assumed that the pizza must be individual sizes, and proceeded to order three. 20 minutes later we were shocked when three full size pizzas came to our table. Not only that but we also ended up with a cheese pizza, cheese and prosciutto pizza, and an anchovies pizza. What a mess! We had a great time though, and have vowed to return to redeem ourselves.

Finally, I ended the weekend by going to morning mass at Saint Ignatius, to see the church in the daylight (it was absolutely breathtaking). I went with a couple of friends to go to their English mass, but it turned out that the English mass was down the street at the Oratory of San Francesco. The church was beautiful and the community was so incredibly welcoming and excited to have us there. If you’re in Rome and looking for an English mass I would highly suggest their 11:00am!

The Oratory of San Francesco

Overall the weekend was a busy but fantastic one!

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