Monthly Archives: January 2012

Rome Photo Scavenger Hunt

The faculty here at the St. John’s University Rome campus created a photo scavenger hunt throughout the city for the undergraduate students. First prize wins dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, and second prize wins gelato from the gelateria across the street from campus. Here is what our group (The Photobombers) came up with:

CREATIVE:

1. Roman Fashion

2. Native Roman

3. Tourist

4. Roman Animal

PERSONAL:

5. Favorite thing to do in Rome

6. Favorite Food

7. Favorite mode of transportation

8. Favorite place in Rome

MOVIE TRIVIA:

9. How Princess Ann and Joe Bradley get around Rome during their holiday

10. The first church that Robert Landon thinks is where the Illuminati will make their move

11. Where Maximus must battle with a tiger

12. What Sylvia wears on her head while walking around at night with Marcello

ROME TRIVIA:

13. Building that used to serve as the Pope’s fortified fortress when Rome was under attack

14. Fountain that features statues that personify the 4 major rivers of the world

15. Famous staircase in Rome that was modeled after the steps leading up to the Sacre-Coeur basilica in Paris

16. Fountain statue that depicts Moses with horns on his head 

IMPORTANT PEOPLE:

17. Barista

18. Daniele De Rossi

19. Carabinieri

20. Una Suora

There was a VIP question which asked for a picture of the keyhole through which you can see St. Peter’s basilica, but we were unable to get that one. We sent Giuseppe and Chris to go find it which simply proves that you can’t rely on boys for anything. Joking aside, we had fun participating in the scavenger hunt and ended up learning a lot more about Rome than if we had just done the usual sightseeing. We find out the results on Wednesday, so fingers crossed until then!

Ciao, Emily ❤

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Roaming Rome

Does Rome ever have bad weather? Nine times out of ten this is the perfection that I wake up to in the morning:

To take advantage of the weather yesterday, Chris and I went for a walk to explore the city.

We followed the river south until we came to Tiber Island.

After exploring the island for a few minutes, we headed to the east side of the river where we stumbled upon Largo di Torre Argentina, which hosts four Republican Roman temples, and the remains of Pompey’s Theatre.

We then followed Via di Torre Argentina to the Pantheon:

After we got back from what ended up being a five mile walk, we finished up some homework before heading to dinner with Giuseppe at Grotto Azzurra, a restaurant near campus. I ordered gnocchi al pesto which was probably one of my favorite meals since being in Rome. We finished our dinner with espresso and complimentary Limoncello.

Before we went back to campus, we decided we wanted dessert so we stopped at another restaurant, Ottimo, for molten chocolate lava cakes and moscato.

Exploring and eating are two of my favorite pastimes in Rome, so yesterday was definitely an enjoyable day.

This morning I woke up and started my day with a 3 mile run in the gorgeous sunshine. The rest of my day will probably consist of studying for the upcoming quiz we have in Moral Theology of the Marketplace this afternoon…

Ciao, Emily ❤

Climbing the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica

Giuseppe and I started our morning at Il Piccolo Diavolo with beautiful (and delicious) cappuccinos. It seems no matter where you go in Rome, the coffee is always amazing.

Shortly after finishing our coffees, we met up with Chris and headed to the Vatican to climb the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.  St. Peter’s Basilica is the burial site of Saint Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and the first Pope of the Catholic church. Since the fourth century, a church has always been present on this site. Construction for St. Peter’s Basilica (built over the Constantine Basilica) began in 1506 and finished in 1626. The overwhelming vastness and seemingly infinite details of intricacy are evidence of the more than century-long construction period.

Partway up to the roof, you are able to look down into the interior of the basilica. If you look closely at the photo above you should be able to see the people walking around.

The entire climb to the top of the dome is via spiral staircase (unless of course you take the elevator). The staircase becomes steeper and narrower as you ascend and eventually it becomes so narrow that you need a rope to hold your balance and pull yourself up.

The climb itself was definitely an adventure, but I didn’t mind it as I think it allows for more of an appreciation for the ingenious architecture. Plus it’s good exercise and completely worth it for the view.


On the way down, we stopped on the terrace beneath the dome to take more pictures.

When we finally got to ground level, we went into the basilica and then to the level below ground which houses many papal tombs. Out of respect, photos are not allowed.

Before walking back to campus to attend a meeting and classes, we stopped at a shop in St. Peter’s Square to buy rosaries to be blessed at the Pope’s papal address next week.

All in all, climbing to the top of the dome and seeing St. Peter’s in a more complete way than before was incredible and another one of my favorite experiences in Rome. I recommend this to anyone visiting this beautiful city!

Ciao, Emily ❤

Question: What is the most beautiful church or cathedral you’ve been to? 

Lessons Learned In Rome: Part 1

1.) The food is exceptional. (Duh, right?)

The only food flop I’ve had was a tomato and mozzarella sandwich that actually turned out to be a smoked salmon and mozzarella sandwich. That was an awful and unexpected surprise for a vegetarian. And that brings me to lesson number 2.

2.) If you’re at all unsure of what something is, ask.

From my experience, Italians love to answer questions and will usually try to give you the best option. This is especially true in restaurants and pharmacies where the waiter will suggest the best dish or wine on the menu or the pharmacist will offer you the least expensive solution to your sore throat and sleeplessness (which turns out to be Vick’s Medinait). Unlike the pharmacies in the US, pharmacists here have more freedom to offer health advice if you can describe your symptoms well enough. They are even able to write prescriptions.

3.) You will meet people from everywhere.

We’ve been here for  little over a week and we’ve made friends with other American students, plenty of Italians, and students from England. Hopefully this will come in handy if we travel to the UK this semester.

4.) Italians will park wherever their cars will fit.

It’s not uncommon to see cars parked partially on the sidewalk or wedged into a space in some other seemingly impossible way. There’s no way cars in New York would get away with this without a hefty ticket.

5.) 12 oz. is considered a medium drink.

This is good to know when you’re trying to caffeinate yourself in the morning. It’s also good to know that the Italian’s version of American coffee (caffe Americano) is espresso mixed with hot water, not the typical drip coffee that most Americans are familiar with.

Ciao, Emily ❤

Updates From Rome

Ciao! Classes have begun, but that doesn’t mean I’m not getting out to see as much of Rome as possible.

            Altare Della Patria (also known as “The Wedding Cake”)

Construction for the Altare della Patria (Altar of the Fatherland) began in 1885 to commemorate Italian unification and honor Vittorio Emanuele II, Italy’s first king. The building also houses the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

                                               Castel Sant’Angelo

Construction for Castel Sant’Angelo began in 123AD and finished in  139AD. In its years of existence, the building functioned first as a mausoleum, then became part of the city wall and later was turned into a fortress before it functioned as a papal residence and finally as a barracks and military prison. It is currently a national museum.

Where we’re living in Rome isn’t too far away from Castel Sant’Angelo and we oftentimes pass it on our way to Campo De Fiori or other districts in Rome.

The Ancient Roman Ruins

With construction starting in the 7th century BC, the Roman Forum is the oldest part of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum. The Forum today is a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and intermittent archeological excavations.

The ancient ruins has by far been one of my favorite sights in Rome. Would you expect anything less from the girl whose childhood largely consisted of creating “Emily’s Museum” with found items such as rocks, animal bones, bird nests, and glass coke bottles? My “museum” was really just a table displaying all the interesting finds collected over countless walks with my dad covering our 300+ acres of land. I’m admitting this because it makes sense then that I’d find the remnants of the ancient city, and the ability to walk in and around it, so fascinating.

The Colosseum

The Colosseum, originally called the Flavian Amphitheatre, is an elliptical stadium in the center of the city of Rome. It was the largest ever built in the Roman Empire and is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and Roman engineering.

When we went to the Colosseum, it was around 3:30 which is when they close the interior to visitors. Despite not being able to go inside, we still found it to be extremely beautiful and impressive and will definitely be back to check out the rest of the structure.

Emily ❤

Question: Do you find architecture interesting?

By the way, if you want to read more updates from Europe check out Danielle’s blog!

Fontana Di Trevi

So, it’s finally hitting me that I’m actually living in downtown Rome! I feel so blessed to have this opportunity.

Last night a group of us went out to a few bars in Campo Dei Fiori and happily realized that the time change allows us to stay up later without really being too tired. The unfortunate side of that is that we’re waking up in the afternoon here. Classes start tomorrow so we’ll have to get over that pretty quickly.

Once Danielle and I got ready for the day we headed out for breakfast/lunch at a bar a couple blocks away from our building followed by some shopping. It’s Italy’s sale season here so everything is up to 50% off. I didn’t end up getting anything but Danielle got a cute denim jacket for 20€.

At 2:30 this afternoon we met up with some of the students in our program and went on a guided walking tour through Rome. Since Chris, Danielle, and I had already done plenty exploring on our own and had seen most of the points of interest that the tour covered, we stuck with our guide until we made it to the Trevi Fountain (where we threw coins in of course) and then broke off from the group to get some gelato.

We came back from our adventure and napped for a while before heading out to a late dinner. Today was an exciting day, but luckily far less exhausting than the previous two!

Emily ❤

Question: What is your favorite ethnic cuisine? Mine is Italian, so I’m in heaven!

World Traveler

Ciao from Italia! My winter has been full of travels from NYC for New Year’s Eve, to Melbourne Beach and Orlando to visit my grandparents and run the Disney World Half-Marathon, to Rome for the start of a new semester.

NYC:

On New Year’s Eve I went down to the city to visit Danielle and celebrate the end of a very successful year and the beginning of what promises to be an exciting new chapter.

MELBOURNE BEACH & DISNEY:

On the 4th I headed down to Melbourne Beach to spend a week in the beautiful sunshine and run 13.1 miles through Disney World. I’m actually not a huge fan of the “magic” that Disney perpetuates, but I did have a fantastic time running through Magic Kingdom and despite not training, I finished pretty painlessly in about 2:30. (Huge thank you to my grandparents for everything! I love you!)

ROME, ITALY:

After being home for just one full day, I headed off to Rome to start the new semester. My parents and I had to leave at 5:00am on Thursday to drive down to New York to pick up my passport and visa from the St. John’s Queens campus before having lunch. After that, they dropped me off at the airport for my 5:30pm flight. I knew a few students on the flight and besides not being able to sleep, the eight hour flight wasn’t too bad. It was about 8:00am when we got to Rome and once Danielle arrived, she, Chris, and I went exploring in our new neighborhood. Without a real plan, we ended up stumbling upon Vatican City which, by the way, is gorgeous. After walking back to our building and having some delicious pizza for dinner, Danielle, Chris, and I went out again with with our friend Giuseppe and his roommate and a few other people we had met. Without a plan once again, we somehow ended up at the Spanish Steps and had a beautiful view of the city at night. We went into Trinita Dei Monti, the church at the top of the steps, to say a prayer for safe travels throughout Europe. On the walk back, we stopped at a restaurant for some gelato and vino before finding our way back home. Accounting for the time change, I had been up for nearly 40 hours by the time my head hit the pillow!

Today we were up early to attend a mandatory orientation (which wasn’t as awful as it sounds), followed by some more free time to explore, followed by an Italian cultural lecture to help us get acquainted with our new city (again, it doesn’t sound too exciting but our lecturer, Gianni, had us laughing the entire time).

So, Rome thus far has been beautiful, delicious, exciting, and exhausting. More pictures and updates to come!

Emily ❤

Question: Have you ever been to Rome? This is my first time in Rome (and Italy for that matter), the only European country I’ve actually ever been to is France!