Trastevere. While I studied abroad in Summer 2019 through a Global Seminar in Berlin, the highlight of my trip was the weekend I spent in Rome. The food, the people, the sites; there was no finer feast. The beginning of my love affair with this city started with the Roman drinking fountains. Rome was dotted with these fountains that I learned were called
“Nasoni,” which means “a big nose” in Italian. This was likely on account of the shape of the water spout that ice-cold water came from. These fountains blended seamlessly with the landscape, proving free water to a city of nearly 3 million. And during this warm weekend in Rome, the water from the Nasoni was a key feature in my stay.
My love for this city blossomed as I explored an area of tucked-away restaurants. Grazia and Grazielle, where I tried my first carbonara. The next was Ristorante La Canonica Roma, a beautiful Italian church that was transformed into a restaurant. At every street corner, there were gelato shops – 1 euro for one scoop. Outside one of these shops was an odd collection of very friendly cats lounging on steps that led down into some ruins. So down the steps I went, and discovered the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary. As a cat lover and huge geek for ancient ruins, the sanctuary alongside the Largo di Torre Argentina ruins remains the most delightful surprise.
Adoring Ancient Roman history as I do (enough to have considered majoring in classics), visiting the sites that I had extensively researched made my heart flutter. The vast amount of tourists and Italian humidity could not dampen this excitement. Exploring the cobblestone city on foot (thank you Google Maps), allowed us to absorb the sites. The best piece of advice I followed was waking with the sunrise to beat the crowds. From the trevi fountain to the Spanish steps, before beginning the trek to the Colosseum. The extensive fascinating history that coated this city was known to me, but the beauty of the city? There are no words.
Rome, Italy was the second European city I visited and the one I had dreamed of for years. I can pinpoint the way my love for Rome blossomed but Berlin is also a vast collection of memories imprinted in my heart as this city fundamentally changed me. For me, Rome was love at first sight because it was everything I imagined it to be and more. In comparison, Berlin became one of my closest friends that allowed me to find a bit of home in her city. With this, all I can recommend is you yourself travel; go to cities that you find pieces of home in and cities that never let you forget how different they truly are. While there, grow inexplicably without apology into the person you have always wanted to be.
Con Amore da Roma.