When in Rome06.06.2013 | Culture and Society
For the past three days, the 26 of us have all been in Rome—it was only a four hour bus ride away!
I really wish that we were able to spend more time here, because there was so much to see and it was really crammed with only having a little less than three days. On the first day, our professors took us around to show us some sites as well as to show us how to get back to our hotel. Some of the things we saw were the “Cat Sanctuary”—old Roman ruins which are now the home to many stray cats, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Forum, the Trevi Fountain, and a lot of churches. In fact, so many churches, that I can’t even remember them all—in Rome there is pretty much a church on every corner.
We didn’t actually explore any of these sites yet, we just looked around at them. Although, we did go into the churches and walk around inside of them. All of us were pretty much exhausted from the bus ride and the previous weekend festivities, so we were glad when dinner rolled around and we could relax for a little while. It was cute, because our pizzas were shaped into hearts.
The next morning, I woke up early to go with a small group of people to a private mass that was going to be held for us in Saint Peter’s Basilica—how could I not go right?! This also allowed for us to take some amazing pictures, because it was not yet crowded, as only special groups were allowed in during this time.
After our mass, we met up with the rest of our classmates in order to meet Arch Bishop Denoia—something that one of my professors had set up for us. My favorite moment of meeting the Archbishop was that he took us up on top of the terrace, which provided us with a view of St. Peter’s from a whole different perspective. In addition, he showed us one of their fountains that contains their koi fish which was really pretty.
Then, we headed back to St. Peter’s in order to explore the high altar as well as the crypt and tombs beneath the basilica—which was very cool. After spending quite a bit of time there, we headed over to the Colosseum and Forum which were very cool to be able to go into. It was just amazing to stand there and think of all of the things in history that had occurred there—both the gladiator wars as well as the fact that Caesar and Brutus were in the Forum. I, of course, had to touch some of the stones and ruins that were still there.
On our last day, we were attending the papal audience, which was super crowded and we were extremely lucky to be able to go and see Papa Francesco. It was really cute to see him kissing all of the babies that were being passed up to him and all of us were able to get personal items as well as ourselves and our families blessed by the Pope—how many people can say that?!
Afterwards, my one professor had offered an extra credit opportunity at a church known as St. Clemente’s, so a few of us attended. This might have actually been one of my favorite things, because this basilica contains three different tiers, each from a different time period. The first tier is the present basilica which was built before the year 1100 during the Middle Ages, beneath that layer is a 4th century basilica and beneath that is the foundation that had been built in 64 AD. It was amazing to see some of the relics and artwork that were still existent.
After those chock-full days in Rome, it was time to get back to our new home—Florence.