The GoGlobal Blog

Category: John Felice Rome Center

Exploring the Pantheon and the Church of Saint Ignatius

Exploring the Pantheon and the Church of Saint Ignatius

Last week I took a bus to the city center to explore the area in between classes. I visited the Pantheon, Minerva Square and The Church of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

I started by visiting the Pantheon, a Roman temple, originally built in 27 BC by Marcus Agrippa and then rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian around 120 AD. It was later repurposed as a Christian Church dedicated to all martyrs. Its dome inspired the Florence cathedral dome, the dome of Saint Peters, and the US Capitol dome in Washington.  The oculus on top lights up the building and the altars along the walls acting as the only source of light.


Along the walls are a series of altars and tomb stones added in the 1700s once the temple was turned into a Christian Church. They were commissioned by Pope Clement XI and designed by Alessandro Specchi.

The main altar is decorated with gold and bronze elements as well as mosaics.

Statues of San Rasso and Saint Anastasius adorn its sides.

The Chapel of the Annunciation with a fresco painted by Melozzo da Forli.

Tomb of Umberto I, second king of Italy.

Tomb of Raphael, an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance.

Tomb of Victor Emmanuel II, father of Italy.

Afterwards I kept walking around the Pantheon and found the square of Minerva through an alleyway behind the Pantheon. I keep getting surprised whenever I find these churches, piazzas and obelisks around the city. Unfortunately the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva was closed but I might go back and visit it later.


I kept walking and after looking at Google Maps I found the piazza of Saint Ignatius of Loyola was nearby. It felt like a fun coincidence and since I am a Loyola student I thought it would be a great idea to go inside and explore.




After entering the Church I immediately turned to look at the ceiling and I saw this beautiful painting, depicting Saint Ignatius accompanied by angels. It includes an optical illusion of height and looking into the infinite sky.






I then walked to the front approaching the main altar, painted during the late 1600s and early 1700s. The paintings illustrate key moments in Saint Ignatius’s life and his vocation as well as the foundation of the Society of Jesus.




The altars and tombs around the main area dedicated to Jesuit saints. They are decorated with impressive marble statues, golden details, frescoes and spiraling columns. Each altar has a small dome on top with images of the sky and angels, including a light source illuminating the paintings.


I really liked this church, I loved all the detail put into the structure and the way a building itself can embody and honor the life and legacy of Saint Ignatius.

Then I continued walking around until it was time to go back to campus. I enjoyed simply walking around Rome without a clear destination, finding obelisks, fountains, and monuments around the city. There is an undeniable charm to a city filled with so much art and culture at every turn.

Renaissance Art and History – A day trip to Villa Farnese

Renaissance Art and History – A day trip to Villa Farnese

As a part of our orientation we went to Caprarola to visit Villa Farnese. The town is surrounded by volcanic hills and the view of the region from the entrance of the villa is breathtaking.

Palazzo Farnese

View from the entrance of Villa Farnese

The house was commissioned by Alessandro Farnese, also known as Pope Paul III. It was designed by a team of architects, artists, scholars and members of the family to represent the power and accomplishments of the Farnese family.

After entering the reception hall and walking to the courtyard, along the walls you can find paintings depicting the coat of arms of other powerful families the Farnese were allied with, demonstrating their influence in Europe.

Painted arch in the courtyard

Then, as you go up the Royal Stairs, you can see depictions of the Farnese’s many territories, these beautiful landscapes reinforced the idea of the Farnese as powerful and influential. In addition, the dome above the staircase includes the Farnese’s coat of arms with 6 lily flowers.

Royal Staircase
Dome above the stairs

Entering the room on the second floor you can see the Loggia of Hercules, a room depicting the story of how Hercules brought water to the land of the Farnese family and made it fertile, providing food and work for its citizens.

Fountain depicting the abundance of water in the region
Hercules providing water to the people of Caprarola

Then you step into the chapel built by Federico Zuccari after his brother Taddeo Zuccari, who was originally working on the project, passed away. There is an alter and in the center of its dome there is an image of Christ creating the world.

Chapel’s dome

Next you can enter the Sala de Fasti Farnesiani where big paintings adorn the walls depicting scenes of Farnese family members marrying into European royalty, the role of the family in the war against protestants and their participation in the Council of Trent.



Walking onto the following rooms you encounter Alessandro Farnese’s living spaces. He studied, meditated, and slept surrounded by art, carefully curated to guide him as he acted to enact God’s will on Earth. In these rooms scenes from mythology and characters from the Renaissance are intertwined to show the appreciation of past and present ideals and how they complement each other.

Room of the Philosophers
Room of Aurora
Room of Dreams

Continuing onto the shared spaces we can find the dining room, decorated with motifs of penance designed to prevent the gluttony and greed often seen in wealthy families of the time. 

Dinning Room Ceiling

Next to this room we can encounter the Room of Judgement where Alessandro Farnese took on the role of judge for the community. This room has depictions of King Salomon, who represents fair leader and an example of righteousness for Christian judges.

Room of Judgement Ceiling

Afterwards you can find the Room of the World depicting several maps of the continents along the walls and the portraits of Christopher Columbus, Americo Vespucci, Hernando Cortes and other Europeans who explored the American continent. It also contains a map of Italy and a map of Judea.  

Map of the World

Finally we visited the Room of the Angels where meetings were often held due to its incredible acoustics. 


After exiting the villa we continued onto the gardens. The Lower Gardens are characterized by hedges in geometrical shapes and rose gardens. 


Then we walked through the chestnut forest to the Upper Gardens decorated with statues of the Citizens of Caprarola at work and fountains often visited during the summer. 



I really enjoyed learning about the history of the family and imagining what life was like during the 1500s and 1600s. The art and sculptures were very impressive and walking through them felt magical. I look forward to visiting more villas in the region. After our tour of Villa Farnese we had a traditional Italian meal in Caprarola and got on a bus back to campus.  

Love at First Sight – An Evening Stroll around Ancient Rome

Love at First Sight – An Evening Stroll around Ancient Rome

I cannot believe I finally landed in Rome! These few days have been full of adventures and I am already starting to discover everything this city has to offer. From architectural wonders and monuments to small cafes and gelaterias, there are opportunities to learn about Italian culture, view works of art, and embrace a new lifestyle everywhere.

On my second night in Rome I joined some of the Rome Start students (who have been on campus since September 2021) for a evening stroll around Ancient Rome. Since they are more familiar with the area and some of them took a class on Art in Rome last semester, they guided us through the historical sites. We took a bus from the JFRC to the Vatican City where we saw Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Obelisk at Saint Peter’s Square.

We continued down Piazza Pio XII through the Vittorio Emanuele II bridge and to our left we saw Saint Angelo’s Castle and the Bridge of Angels.

After a few more blocks we found Piazza Navona and the Four River fountain.

Then we continued walking until we reached the Pantheon.

After spending some time in the piazza we headed for Trevi Fountain.

We continued walking south to the Altar of the Fatherland, the Roman Forum and eventually the Coliseum.

Then we took a bus back to campus.

I was really surprised by how many historical sites you could see in one night. Walking around the streets of Rome was lovely. Even residential buildings in the city center have beautiful architecture and you can find beauty in every corner. I look forward to visiting these sites again to explore the treasures inside and learn more about the history, culture, art and politics of the Roman world.

On-Sites and Sightseeing

On-Sites and Sightseeing

On-site classes are a hack to seeing Rome even when you may not have the time to go on your own.

To start, I’m taking six classes this semester. A full schedule. I would not recommend because you don’t really get a ton of time to venture about the city and balance work and maintain balance. I’ve been taking full schedules since I was a freshman, so I’m used to it.

One of my classes, an ENGL class about writing fiction in Rome, is a class where we travel quite frequently and get to see so much while getting tips about the city from the professor who lives in a nearby neighborhood. Within the first few weeks of classes, we’d gone to the Teatro di Marcello, the Jewish ghetto, the Roman forum, countless churches, and to a keyhole that became a monument if and of itself.

This isn’t the only class I have that takes on-site trips. One of my HIST classes takes trip out, too. We’ve visited the Victor Emmanuel Monument, the tomb of the unknown soldier built into it, and the Olympic Stadium just a forty-five minute walk from campus.

The point of these classes, however, is not just to see these places but to really teach you their history and importance. It doesn’t hurt that the teachers have lived here for years and know where to get the best granita (shaved ice with espresso poured into it and whipped cream on top), and the fun fact that twelve COUPLES ate in the belly of the Victor Emmanuel horse before it was showcased, and that there’s a pretty stellar gelato place across the bridge and over a street from the stadium.

Je ne parle pas français

Je ne parle pas français

For this weekend, I did not know enough French to say even the title. In fact, to write the title, I had to ask my friend to type out “I do not speak any French” in French (on that note, any complaints about translation can be directed to Laney Miller). Yet – while I may not have known a lick of French – I felt so much at home in Paris.

I spent this trip with two of my close friends: Morgan and Amanda. Inspired mostly by Beyonce’s hit song “Love on Top,” but also by a desire to visit one of the most magnificent cities in Europe, we set out to enjoy a weekend of adventures and crepes together in Paris.

Upon arrival, we all went straight to the most busy site in the city – the Eiffel Tower – so we could get our bearings and enjoy a crisp morning in the park. I always knew the Eiffel Tower was massive and imposingly beautiful, but I did not expect to be so stunned when we emerged from the Trocaderó stop of the Paris metro and saw the impressive building. We waited a little while underneath the structure and then made our ascent and peered out in wonder over our new home for the next three days. It seemed like Paris never ended, and we knew there was no way to explore all of its secrets but we decided to try our hardest.

That evening, knowing that the Louvre offers free entry to young European residents (for which, thanks to our staying in Rome, we qualified), we went to my new favorite museum. The Mona Lisa and Winged Victory were impressive, yes, but what struck me the most was how the Louvre was like an exhibit itself. The museum’s halls had been designed by countless different geniuses throughout the ages and thus even its ceilings and walls began to merge with the art it hosted. With the sound of Lorde in my head, I was mesmerized by what I saw. Afterwards, we sat down for some sweet crepes in the Latin quarter and walked past Notre Dame on our way home. Totally casual.

Saturday morning, we made our way outside of the city to Versailles. Or, at least, we tried to. Turns out the three of us were not as good at navigating as we thought. Nevertheless, despite hours of confusion and chaos, we ended up at Versailles and ate our baguette and brie while waiting in line to the humor of all those around us. The Hall of Mirrors, Louis XIV’s bedroom, and the Gardens at Versailles were tremendous and gorgeous, but in truth its grandeur did not at all compare to the laughter we shared tucked away in the gardens over a bottle of Merlot.

After Versailles, we returned to Paris and journeyed to a Digital Art gallery that I had heard about – L’Atelier des Lumières. While normally hosting an exhibit on Klimt, L’Atelier was instead showing an exhibit on nature and society on Earth called Terra Magnifica. In truth, it ended up being much more stirring than Klimt’s artwork would have been. We discussed our thoughts as well as our favorite moments of the trip so far that night over escargot and other French cuisine. I had realized finally that, after years of making fun of the French language, Paris was one of the most comfortable and yet exciting places I had ever visited. I simultaneously felt at home and constantly driven to explore more of the city.

We had purposefully planned very little for Sunday and soon found ourselves wandering through the streets of Paris in search of its gems. We eventually found a few truly hidden ones (like Breakfast in America – look it up!) as well as some better known ones (Shakespeare in Company, Les Catacombes). All of Sunday’s adventuring was fun and relaxing (at least, our pit-stop in Luxembourg Gardens was), but my favorite moment was when we were sitting in a small – A. Lacroix – with Amanda and Morgan and listening to the ringing bells of Notre Dame over macaroons and coffee. Paris felt like mine in that moment; it felt like Paris had decided to share those aforementioned secrets with me.

An Odyssey and a Half

An Odyssey and a Half

It feels Sisyphean to try and describe 10 days worth of adventures into a single post, but I’ll try my best to share the breadth of the experience I had travelling through Greece during my fall break by describing each of the towns we visited in quick vignettes. Hopefully they carry even half of the beauty and fun shared with friends there.

Sounio: We had left the JFRC at roughly 3 am with glassy eyes and little sleep (for me, in fact, no sleep at all), and our first official stop after flying from Rome and driving in the early Greek morning is the Temple of Poseidon. Sitting atop shining rock overlooking the sea, the Temple of Poseidon is not only the place where Aegeus (father of Theseus who killed the Minotaur) jumped into the Aegean Sea thus giving its namesake but also where Lord Byron inscribed his name before lending his hand in the fight for Greek independence. Greece is a country with an inspiring ancient history, but that history has inspired countless figures throughout history creating interesting ripples. These reflections and other excitements are shared among friends over plates of calamari at a restaurant nearby.

Athens: While looking at photos taken the night before of rooftop gardens and bars with brightly colored bottles, my friends and I enjoy a light breakfast of yogurt and honey on our hotel’s own rooftop in view of the Parthenon (to which we would be heading that day). The sun is already high in the sky since we start no day of the trip any earlier than 10am, and we are ready to journey across town to the Acropolis Museum and then up to the acropolis itself. From far away, however, you could see why the Parthenon was one of the most impressive buildings in history. Even in ruins, it stands as a proud reminder of the genius of mankind.

Arachova: In a small Winter Wonderland that reminded me less of how I imagined Greece and more of Colorado, a group of us travelers huddle for warmth around a fire outside of a cafe serving hot chocolate with Bailey’s and mulled wine. It feels as though time stopped or had at least removed us from it so we could have meaningful conversation. To be honest, I don’t remember what we talked about that night but I do remember laughing and enjoying the company of new friends. Overall, it feels familiar and like fall which both makes me comfortable and miss home a little bit.

Nafplio: On our last morning in Nafplio (after a night out resulting in Laney and I eating the most delicious Loukoumades), we hiked up the 999 steps to the Fortress of Palamadi. I eventually lost count, but I think it was less than 999 steps. Three of us – underestimating the length while overestimating our strength – try running up it. At the top my legs are jello, but the view of Nafplio with the sun barely over the horizon and smoke coming out of some chimneys make me want to climb up even higher, all the way to the top of the fortress. We look out to the Aegean and see some people rowing; a friend mentions that a woman once gave her advice that rowing together keeps a marriage happy. On the way down, we talk about making art and I forget about the stiffness in my legs.

Karyes: Although this was technically in the middle of our time in Nafplio, it needs its own section. A small group of us have separated from the large group of 45 students and are sitting in a wine cellar in the village. I’m drinking some good red wine, eating raw chestnuts and bread with honey, and listening to the leader of our trip Ioanna talk about her adventures. Just a bit earlier at lunch, our resident JFRC faculty member – Sander – gave a speech talking about how Greece feels like home. Ioanna asks us to all raise our glasses and vow to return home to her village sometime in the future. We clink our glasses, say “yamas,” and promise to come back home.

Mykonos: After getting lost in the alleyways during the morning, munching on some more calamari, stepping into the Aegean Sea one last time, and a marvelous group dinner, my friends and I are singing and laughing to “Dancing Queen” and “Oh Cecilia” at one of Mykonos’ clubs. We don’t want to leave Greece yet, but we can hardly focus on that while dancing. One of our friends is writing σε αγαπώ (“I love you”) on everyone’s hands. I eventually take a step outside for some fresh air and, from where I’m sitting, I can see both the water hitting the rocks of the beaches and my friends still dancing inside. I’m not sure if in the moment I’m more grateful for the view or for the friends I’ve made, but regardless I’m simply happy.

The Half of an OdysseyA long week has gone by, but we still have one final journey to make before we’re back home. On a bus to the airport, Ioanna reads “Ithaka” by C.P. Cavafy and the lines “Keep Ithaka always in your mind / Arriving there is what you are destined for / But do not hurry the journey at all / Better if it lasts for years…” resonate deep in me. So how poetic it seems when our flight to Rome is rerouted to Bologna and my dinner is made by buying cheap salami, prosciutto, and parmigiano reggiano from an airport market and split with my friends. In this moment, I am sure that I will always remember this meal and I wish that this moment on the trip could last forever.

(Images for this post were contributed by my friend Laney Miller, who helped me devour the loukoumades shown above)

Cinque Terre, Salty Beards, and Jellyfish

Cinque Terre, Salty Beards, and Jellyfish

Despite its amazing potential to be the name of a low-budget Kung Fu movie, turns out Cinque Terre is just 5 gorgeous towns along the coast of the clear, blue Tyrrhenian sea with delicious and copious amounts of seafood. Total. Bummer.

Nevertheless, Cinque Terre this past weekend was utterly stunning. In an unofficial poll I took of my friends who went with me, we all gave it a thumbs-up which is as official a promotion seven college students can give a place. The weather was perfect with a ton of sun when we went out on the boat and enough clouds on the other days to give the appearance of a stormy day at sea without it actually being a stormy day at sea. In true sea fashion, our Air BNB was a boat in the La Spezia harbor where we watched sunrises over coffee, waved to many tourists going on boat tours, and watched a man in yellow pants non-stop dance in front of his boat. In short, it was all I could ask for.

To elaborate, we spent the first day out on our boat going around the coast of Cinque Terre and the second day wandering through the five lands. During our boat ride, our captain Piedro told us about the history of the place while taking us to hidden waterfalls and offering us fresh pesto pizza and rice cakes. Mixed with a little bit of cheap prosecco and I felt like I was living the high life. I even was lucky enough to get a ton of salt in my beard from swimming. Each one of us on the trip agreed that we had not done something so relaxing in a long time.

The next day was my personal favorite and most anticipated: a journey through Cinque Terre. We started by heading out to the furthest town, Monterosso, where we climbed rocks and faraglioni, chowed on some streetza (my term for “street pizza”), and walked along the beach. From there, we continued to Vernazza where we had some gelato, found a cave of rock towers, and met some French people who very kindly let us pet their dog. We then found ourselves in the high and hidden town of Corniglia whose tall alleys and views hidden under leaves gave us an entirely different experience. Next, we arrived at Manarola in the late afternoon as the sky was beginning to turn golden and the buildings colors began to shine. Finally, we ended in Riomaggiore to watch the sunset on the rocks and eat some delicious seafood.

The real highlight of the trip, however, was when we returned to Manarola the next day to swim and relax before returning to Rome. The morning began warm and sunny, but by the time we reached Manarola, the sky had turned gray and a slight drizzle was falling. We were not about to let a little bit of rain ruin our plans, however. To the surprise of a fair number of other tourists, we jumped off the rocks into the cold water as the rain fell from above. Shortly thereafter, the clouds began to part and the midday sun shone again on the colorful buildings of Manarola. Although our swim was unfortunately interrupted by a few rude jellyfish who decided to sting one of my friends, the day made up for it with some fried calamari and tons of laughter on the rocky port of Manarola.

When I woke up this morning after the trip, I began to realize how surreal all of it now seems. It was literally yesterday, but Cinque Terre was so beautiful and so relaxing that it feels worlds away from the return to schoolwork. And yet, I can’t get the way the sun hit the buildings at sunset or the jokes made with my friends or the way the lemony calamari tasted on my salt-covered lips. I wish I could return to the oasis, but I had some great moments to remember years from now and that’s pretty much the same thing.

Le Montagne Chiamano…

Le Montagne Chiamano…

This weekend I went with a group of other students from the JFRC to Vincenza for a hike up the Strada Delle 52 Gallerie – a path carved into the Alps during World War 1 by Italian soldiers to serve as the front against the Austrians. The entire trip was so much fun and it felt great to get outside of Rome and see more of Italy.

Our trip started early (maybe a bit too early) on Friday morning where we took a train from Termini to Verona. Once we arrived in Verona, however, the early morning turned into a perfect afternoon. The weather was beautiful, and Verona was an adorable little city to explore. My friends and I went around to some little shops, got some gelato, and eventually stumbled onto the ~supposed~ balcony of Juliet. At the balcony, people leave locks and letters to their loved ones. The balcony was fine, but I loved the doors covered in notes (below) and the alley covered in graffiti (above).

After Verona, we made our way further north to the city of Vicenza where we would be staying in between our hike up the Alps. Vicenza itself is full of buildings designed by Andrea Palladio. Palladio’s work is exemplary of Renaissance architecture, with tons of classical references and proportions. Merely walking through the city, one stumbles into countless pieces of his work including the Teatro Olympico.

The real beauty of the trip, however, was the hike along Strada Delle 52 Gallerie itself. As we approached the start of the hike in our bus, I mentioned offhandedly how I wished we could reach the peaks of the mountains while along the hike. Little did I realize, but that’s exactly how high up the hike goes! La Strada can get steep and difficult, and it is amazing (and horrifying) how ingenious humans can be during war. The tunnels were dug by pickax and dynamite and placed strategically along the mountains to counter attacks by the Austrians. I could try to describe the beauty of the Alps themselves but instead I’ll just share some photos:

(To show how high up we were, I took a photo of the restaurant where we ate lunch once we returned to the base of the mountains. If you look in the center of the red circle, you’ll see a big yellow building that has become a tiny yellow dot — that was the restaurant on the return down from the Strada).

The hike was beautiful, the Alps were amazing, and my time with friends made it all that much better. I’m still a little sore, but I could not be more amazed and elated by the mountains we climbed. The adventurer in me could not have been happier, but now – back in Rome – I’m all the more excited for the next one!

(The photos of Verona and Vicenza were contributed by my amazing friend, Mikaela, shown in the middle of this one)

Amalfi -> Pompei -> Napoli(:

Amalfi -> Pompei -> Napoli(:

After a few train rides, some fun cabs, and a random boat trip, I was able to pack three cities into my first weekend out of Rome.

Running on about 4 hours of sleep, a few friends and I took a cab to the train station. Pretty neat experience with a driver who sang Mama Mia to us. We took a train down to Salerno, Italy, where we were going to catch a bus to the Amalfi coast. If you have ever been to Europe, you know that the bus system isn’t always very reliable. We waited an hour for this bus, and when it finally showed up, IT DROVE RIGHT PAST US!! We made friends with some other American’s who were on their honeymoon, also trying to get to Amalfi, and they invited us to catch a cab with them to take a ferry instead. We had no other options so we decided to tag along. It’s about 1:00 and we are on a boat sailing along the coast and it was the most beautiful site ever. The buildings of the small cities are so simple and colorful, and the ocean was so blue. Our plans didn’t go exactly how we thought, but I’m glad we didn’t have control over them. We layed out on the beach of Amalfi for a few hours with a bottle of champagne and it was the perfect way to spend my afternoon. Highly recommend Amalfi to EVERYONE! It is amazing.

Later that night we head back to Salerno where we take a train to Pompei, where we have a hostel. We woke up early the next day to check out the ruins which were so cool. If you haven’t been, the city of Pompei was buried by lava and was dug up. The city was huge and so interesting to get a glimpse of how they lived back then. Afterward, we took another train to Napoli, where we checked into another hostel and went out to explore the town a little. This is where I had the BEST cheese and ham appetizer I have ever had and probably will ever have. Everywhere I have been in Italy, the thing that always catches my eye are the streets. Black cobblestone, no street signs, people driving in cars and mopeds honking everywhere. And the sunlight reflecting off of the buildings is so pretty. Later we came back to the dinner that the hostel provided. Homemade, Italian style pasta, and let me tell you, pasta here is soooo much better than America!

The next day we walked through the town of Napoli and made it to the coastline where we walked to a castle and looked at the amazing view of the city from about 100 yards out in the ocean. The view was breathtaking, to say the least. And we couldn’t stop in Napoli and not get pizza, so that’s just what we did. Walked a little further down the coast and stopped at a random place and had some of the best pizza I’ve ever had. After our time there we made our way back to Rome.

Pretty successful weekend. After a week of classes, some exams, and seeing the Pope on Wednesday, I’ll be exploring Florence!

Ciao Bella!

Ciao Bella!

Greetings From Bellisima Roma!

It’s been nearly two weeks since I landed in Rome! I can’t believe how fast time is passing, yet at the same time, I feel like a day is worth a week here! Can you believe that I am already avoiding pasta?! The hype is real, and then you realize that it’s way more carbs than you need! Ha ha! Let’s dig in…

(Me & My Roommate, Srishti, at the Roman Forum)

Defying Gravity!

Theoretically, packing for four months seems achievable. Now that I’m actually here, I realize that I am missing quite a bit of the things I couldn’t manage to fit into my suitcase. No, a large suitcase and carry on plus a backpack with a 50 pound weight limit do not cover it all! I guess I’ll think of it as an excuse to buy things here in Italy or wherever I might travel to! Funny enough, my roommate and I found ourselves at H&M down at the city center…very cultural of us.

The flight itself was decent. I tried sleeping, but I ended up playing trivia games with my roommate instead. When we arrived, the Zone Hotel told us our rooms weren’t ready yet. Jet-lagged, we hobbled over to the restaurant eno-z for a BIG glass of water. End of the story? We showered and napped before walking back to JFRC later that night for dinner.

(At the Airport)

Mamma Mia!

Let me just say that although interesting, orientation here reminded me of freshman orientation…except much cooler! The days were extremely long ranging from 9AM-9PM, sometimes longer. That doesn’t include the time it takes to get ready and walk over in the morning from the Zone nor does it include the outings at night that we went on in our own time. Moral of this story? Sleep is for the weak, but also for the smart! Nevertheless, it was fun.

(At the Pantheon for a Drink With Friends)

Lions and Tigers and Gladiators, Oh My!

On the first Saturday, we went in groups to see the Colosseum and Roman Forum. Prior to the trip, Dr. Sander Evers gave an engaging presentation about the history of Rome, beginning with the classic story of Romulus and Remus. Once at the Colosseum, I think the background information helped me appreciate the site more, yet it wasn’t as exciting since it was my second time visiting. At least I was able to make new friends out of the experience!

(At the Colosseum)

What a Beach!

As the last day to our week long orientation, the SLAs (Student Life Assistants) took us on a grandiose trip to the beach. From what I remember, it was called Rambla in Fiumicino. We each got our own lounge chair, which was nice because I don’t think I would’ve wanted to sit in the sand all day. You would think that after 7 hours in the sun and no sunscreen, I’d be burnt to a crisp. Somehow that wasn’t the case! While the weather was partly cloudy, it was still hot and perfect swimming weather. The waves were enormous, and it was a real swim to get to the sand bar because the waves would cap over in the stretch before it. Don’t worry, I made it! I cannot believe the amount of salt water I swallowed. I lost my voice for the next two days! After swimming for quite a bit, I sunk into my lounge chair, exhausted and an Aperol spritz in hand. What a day that was!

(At Rambla Beach)

School of Rock!

Classes started on Monday, Labor day. I love my schedule, and I better! It will be the easiest semester in my 4 years at Loyola considering I’m a Biology Major with a Molecular Biology Emphasis on the Pre-Med track. I think my favorite class so far has been Writing Fiction in Rome. It’s not that I’m a great writer or even great at English. It’s a class where I can be creative and not dread doing my homework all the time. It’s also partially on-site. I think Applied Piano comes close in second! My other classes aren’t bad either. Italian is actually useful because a lot of it is conversational and things I would use going out into the city center. Honors, not that it was really a choice, has been quite philosophical and beyond my mind so far…But at some point we will reach the topic of World War II, and I find that topic fascinating. I had my first Cell Bio class last night, and it was the smallest class I have here! There’s only 6 of us! I think it will be an interesting class, but I hope I don’t fall asleep since it’s from 7PM-9:30PM! I think I’ve underestimated my classes a bit. I wasn’t expecting as much homework as I’ve been getting from all my professors. I need to invest in superb time management!!

Umbria and More!

As a final cap to our welcoming in Italy, the SLAs took us to Umbria for a weekend. It was an intense schedule for 3 straight days, but overall, it was worth it! We visited new towns and captured new sceneries on our phones. From the Narni Underground to the streets of Spoleto, I thought it was intriguing and again, I met so many people! I do, however, think I will be avoiding pork, potatoes, and pasta for a few days.

(With our Dean of Students, Dr. Beazley)

Until Next Time!

As much as this post has been a pleasure, it’s time for me to finally get some sleep! The next you’ll hear from me will be after my trip to Venice and Milan! I’m so excited!

Until next time,