Rome was nothing like I imagined it--it was a million times better. I spent my fall 2010-2011 semester abroad there and had what I call, a Roman Romance. I fell in love with the city.
API helped me make the most of my time in Italy. The program planned unforgettable trips. Just to name a few; we soaked in the thermal bathes of Orvieto, rode bikes around Tarquina, and climbed Mount Vesuvius. API also provided tips and information on how to plan our own trips, like the one my roommates and I went on to the Chocolate Festival in Perugia.
When we weren't traveling, my roommates and I were cooking Italian dinners like Gnocchi alla Sorrentina, visiting local markets, or people watching in Trastevere. Our apartment was beautiful with four large bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, and two bathrooms. The neighborhood was quiet and full of true Italians, which gave us ample opportunity to converse (or at least try to converse) with the locals.
I kept a journal while abroad for my travel writing class (which I highly recommend)and I think my final entry best describes my day-to-day experiences and overall Roman Holiday. If you have some time, check it out! If not, here is the bottom line; go to Rome and do it with API!
"I am feeling quite sentimental today, not towards my roommates, but rather my feelings about Rome. I love this city. When I first got here, I remember thinking, “this just isn’t a place where I could see my self living later in life.” Now, it’s a different story. I love the cafés, the culture, the shopping, and the weather. Each day I fall more and more in love with the language, despite my difficulties speaking it. December is the perfect time to fall in love with Rome. There are elegant Christmas decorations on every major street that exude the “class” that is Rome. I love the smell of chestnuts as I pass the little man on my street corner. I love how my door man always says “ciao!" as step on to the cobblestone streets each day.
The very best part of my day is, without a doubt, my walk home. I have the best walk home from school that has ever existed. I walk down toward Barberini, down Via Sistina, I descend the Spanish Steps, cross through Piazza del Popolo, and across the Tiber River which it is lit up at night to give it a special glow. I walk down the bustling Cola de Rienzo and admire all of the window displays, and finally make my way down a little side street to my apartment.
My favorite part of the walk is right before I hit the top of the Spanish Steps, as I make my way down Via Sistina. There is a point where I can see a full view of the city as well as the Vatican lit up in the evening far in the distance. Just a little closer, is another large and well lit dome of some Roman monument I never learned.
Sometimes I stop there and look out at the city and think about how lucky I am. Today was one of those days. When will I ever live a life like this again? I know all good things must come to an end—and I really am happy to be going home—but man, I am going to miss Rome."