Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Past Trips: Rome

My first year of college, I was an architecture major. Part of the requirements were to take architectural history courses and as freshman, we focused a lot of classic architecture and Rome. We learned about the Colosseo, Pantheon, Il Vittoriale Monument, Fontana di Trevi, all of the Palazzos, etc. Rome was so essential to art and architectural history, that our school offered a program in Rome for the AAP students (Architecture, Art & Planning). I never got to experience that, however, because I switched majors to engineering my sophomore year. Oops! Anyway, when my dear friend and I planned our "We graduated college! We deserve a treat!" trip, we included Rome as one of our destinations. (My friend was a Fine Arts student and she had partaken in the Rome program, lucky girl!)

We flew into Ciampino Airport and took a bus (Terravision, €6 per person, one way - rates vary depending on when you book) to the city center.

We visited all the typical sights while we were there.
Colosseo
Vittorio Emanuele Monument
("White Elephant")
Pantheon

Fontana di Trevi
Piazza di Spagna
Ara Pacis (Richard Meier)













Campo di Fiori
Piazza di San Pietro
Circus Maximus













Julius Caesar Statue
Piazza Navona












Food: As far as cuisine is concerned, Rome is like Paris; You can't find bad food here.

For dinner the first night, we went to the "Jewish Ghetto" and ate at Il Portico. I got tortellini with cream sauce, pancetta, and peas and my friend ordered the salmon pizza. Both dishes were delicious!! Pasta in Italy is always amazing because it's so fresh and they use quality ingredients. The little old man who served us was really nice and we enjoyed ourselves.
Tortellini
Pizza con salmone










For dinner on our last night in Roma, we went to Il Faciolaro near the Pantheon. My friend had the spaghetti carbonara and I had the pizza with mushrooms and prosciutto (and we forgot to snap photos before we started eating! Oops! We were just that hungry). If you've never had carbonara, it looks like plain pasta, but they make a "sauce" out of the leftover pasta cooking water, eggs, pancetta, and lots of cheese. It's really good. We ended our meal with tiramisu, which is so much yummier in Italy than any place you'd find in the U.S.
carbonara
Pizza con funghi e prosciutto
tiramisu












One other thing to note: coffee in Rome is delicious. And gelato is amazing. There's a place right by the Pantheon called Giolitti which serves both. Yum.

Cappuccino
gelato
















For breakfast, we ate cornetto, which is the Italian version of croissant. They're shaped the same, but not as buttery and flaky. They're fluffier and lighter. And try sfogliatelle! It's a pastry made with a flaky, crispy dough that's wrapped around a custard-like filling (usually almond flavored) to look like a seashell.
Cornetto
Sfogliatelle










The downsides to this trip were that there were no public restrooms! You can't just run into a Starbucks or book shop to use the toilets. Your only options really are to go to a sit down restaurant and order something or pay admission to a museum or something. We got lucky because we would use the Cornell in Rome building once in a while, but only when we were in the area. The rest of the time, we just had to hold it.

I also can't make any hotel recommendations. My friend had worked with a language partner while she was studying in Rome her junior year of college. Her language partner was a girl our age, who was still a student, living in an apartment just outside of Rome (reachable by the public transportation buses) and she graciously allowed us to stay there.

OH! And to make a note about public transportation in Rome. It's fairly easy. I think we used the metro once and the bus a bunch of times. You can buy tickets (biglietti) from most newspaper stands (all over the place in the city) or from machines down in the metro station. When going through the metro, you MUST use your ticket and feed it through the machine to get it validated. When using the bus, you have to validate the ticket yourself in a machine. Sometimes we would see people cheat (and we might've cheated once) by not validating their tickets. But be warned! There are inspectors that check to make sure you've validated your ticket! On the day we cheated, it was raining, and as our bus approached our destination bus stop, we saw the inspectors in their bright yellow raincoats and we jumped off the bus immediately, so as to avoid trouble. Be careful though, if you get caught, there are some hefty fines.

We flew out of Fiumicino Airport (Leonardo Da Vinci) which was accessible by train from Termini Station. I think it cost us €14 each.

Rome was awesome. It's definitely an amazing place to visit. I highly recommend it.

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