Rome Journals

A Study Abroad Semester in Rome

A January 2004 trip to Rome by italylover

Giolitti Photo, Rome, Italy More Photos
Quote: As a junior in college, I spend four months studying and living in the Roman Monteverde neighborhood. As a result, I became familiar with the tourist spots and much of the local life as well in what I consider to be the most beautiful and alive city in the world.

A Study Abroad Semester in Rome

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Overview

Quote:
Rome is all highlights, with the Coliseum, the Forum, the Pantheon, and the Vatican. Even more interesting and appealing are the small out-of-the-way locations, churches, and piazzas that have somehow avoided the constant flow of tourists. The result is a city that offers itself to you as though no one before has ever discovered its treasures. After visiting Rome for even a few days, people feel that they know it and it knows them, and spending any significant amount of time there will make it a part of you in a way that no other place can. To visit Rome is to enter into history, to become in some way a participant in the activity that has existed there for millennia. So watch rain fall into...Read More

Giolitti

Restaurant

Giolitti Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
In my opinion, this is hands-down the best gelateria in Rome and probably in all of Italy. Pay at the cash register, then fight your way through the crowd (no waiting in lines--this is Italy at its best) and pick two or three flavors. The selection is huge, with some specialty flavors (like giandoia chocolate - incredible!) that are next to impossible to find anywhere else. In addition to gelato, there are also great pastries and coffee. And to top it all off, it's cheap - three or four euros for a huge cone.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 26, 2005

Giolitti
Via Uffici del Vicario 40
Rome, Italy
(06) 699-1243

San Crispino

Restaurant

Quote:
I'd heard rave reviews of San Crispino's gelato before I finally had a chance to try it. While it is good, it's a little overpriced. The portions aren't that big (and who wants just a little cup of gelato?), and the selection is somewhat limited. It's worth trying if you're in town for a few weeks and eating gelato on a daily basis, but if you're only in Rome for a few days, there are plenty of better and less expensive gelaterias nearby.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 26, 2005

San Crispino
Via della Panetteria 42
Rome, Italy

Hard Rock Cafe

Restaurant

Quote:
I made one trip to Hard Rock during my stay in Rome. After a month in Rome, my friends and I were dying for burgers and nachos, and the Hard Rock is more or less one of the only places in Rome to get them. The food and service were fine, and I'm pretty sure it’s equivalent to every other Hard Rock Cafe anywhere in the world. But that's the problem - with the exception of the Trevi Fountain T-shirts and the gladiator teddy bears, the restaurant could be moved and planted anywhere. If you're in Rome for a substantial amount of time and needing some greasy American food, go for it, but if you've only got a few days or weeks in Rome, get out your guidebook and find yourself some good pasta or pizz...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 26, 2005

Hard Rock Cafe
Via Vittorio Veneto 62 A/B
Rome, Italy
3 (906) 420-3051

Sant' Eustachio

Restaurant

Sant' Eustachio Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Sant' Eustachio is located in Piazza Sant' Eustachio, right around the corner from the Pantheon. The bar prides itself on the secrecy of its cappuccino preparation, hence the screen behind which it is prepared. Unlike other bars, the barista adds sugar for you, still behind the screen if you want it - again with the secrecy of their blend. The result is incredible and well worth the trip.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 26, 2005

Sant' Eustachio
Piazza Sant' Eustachio, 82
Rome, Italy
(06) 686-1309

San Luigi dei Francesi Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
The church of San Luigi dei Francesi is located about halfway between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, and if you're walking between the two, it's worth your time to stop in and see the Caravaggio paintings on display there. The three paintings present key moments from St. Matthew's life - his calling, the writing of his Gospel, and his martyrdom. The works present some of Caravaggio's most striking accomplishments, particularly the Calling of St. Matthew. Caravaggio is usually not as well-known to Americans as some of the other artists represented in Rome, but to know him is usually to love him, and San Luigi dei Francesi is a good place to become familiar with is work.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 26, 2005

San Luigi dei Francesi
Via S. Giovanna d'Arco
Rome, Italy 00186
+39 06688271

S. Cecilia

Attraction | "Santa Cecilia in Trastevere"

S. Cecilia Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
The Basilica of Santa Cecilia is a little off the typical tourist route, but if you find yourself in Trastevere, it's worth a stop, both for the Maderno sculpture therein and also for a quiet break from the tour group crowd. Saint Cecilia, in addition to being the patron saint of music, was martyred along with her husband. Church lore has it that years later, when their bodies were dug up to be given the burials worthy of martyrs, her body had not decomposed. Maderno was then given the job of creating a sculpture capturing the exact pose in which she was found. The resulting work is simple and surprisingly moving. The church itself is quiet, with a small entrance courtyard and a fountain. Overall, ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 26, 2005

S. Cecilia
Piazza di S. Cecilia, 22
Rome, Italy 00153
+39 065899289

San Francesco a Ripa Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
San Francesco a Ripa offers an interesting counterpart to Bernini's St. Teresa of Avila sculpture at Santa Maria della Vittoria. This small, outwardly unimpressive church in Trastevere houses a sculpture of The Blessed Ludovica Albertoni, one of Bernini's last works. The sculpture represents the Blessed Ludovica in ecstacy, and the result is just as expressive as and much more suggestive suggestive than the St. Teresa piece. The work is striking in its realism, and crowds are nearly nonexistent in the church (definitely different from the tour groups waiting to see the St. Teresa), so you can enjoy it in peace and quiet. The sculpture is absolutely worth the trip, particularly if you're already in...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 27, 2005

San Francesco a Ripa
Piazza San Francesco d'Assisi, 88
Rome, Italy 00153
+39 065819020

Campo de' Fiori

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Attraction

Campo de' Fiori Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
The most noticeable feature of Campo de' Fiori is the large, relatively creepy statue of a hooded man in the center of the square. The man is Giordano Bruno, a philosopher who was burnt at the stake in the square by the Inquisition. People still leave flowers and offerings around the base, and when the Catholic Church issues an even remotely controversial statement, the number of flowers left for Giordano seems to increase (but that could have been my imagination). During the day, Campo de' Fiori is an open-air market where you can buy food, flowers, and a variety of crafts (the jewelry can be especially nice). Cafés circle the square, and you can usually hear at least one set of street music...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 28, 2005

Campo de' Fiori
Piazza Campo de' Fiori
Rome, Italy 00186

Spanish Steps (Scalinata)

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Attraction | "Piazza di Spagna/Spanish Steps"

Spanish Steps (Scalinata) Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
The piazza gets is name from the Spanish embassy, the first permanent embassy in Rome, which is located there. A museum dedicated to Keats, Shelley, and Byron, as well as the Column of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, are based there as well. The piazza's most noticeable feature, however, are the Spanish Steps. The steps were constructed to provide a pathway between the piazza and Trinita' dei Monti, the church at the top of them. The steps, ironically enough, are actually French - King Louis XV of France paid for them. They were actually Louis XIV’s idea, but when his plan included a huge statue of himself, the pope postponed their construction until France had a new monarch. The st...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 29, 2005

Spanish Steps (Scalinata)
Piazza Di Spagna
Rome, Italy 00187

Markets of Trajan

Attraction | "Trajan's Market"

Markets of Trajan Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Trajan's Market is across the Via dei Fori Imperiali from the Forum, and from the street looks more or less like the forum - ruins, some reconstructed, some falling down. During ancient times, Trajan's market housed a variety of shops, most of which are today surprisingly well preserved. Unlike the sites across the street, you have to pay to get into the market, but that also means it's usually relatively empty, so you can have the run of the place. Plus the preservation of the market means you’re walking through actual buildings, and you have less to reconstruct mentally for yourself. If you're only in town for a day or two, it's not really worth a stop, but if you're in Rome for awhile, it'...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 30, 2005

Markets of Trajan
Via IV Novembre
Rome, Italy 00187
+39 0667103613

Monumento a Garibaldi

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Attraction | "Piazzale Garibaldi"

Monumento a Garibaldi Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
The most noticeable feature of Piazzale Garibaldi is the huge 19th-century monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi, one of the leaders of the Italian unification movement. In addition to the equestrian statue of Garibaldi himself, busts of other Italian nationals line pathways around the area, along with a particularly striking statue of Anita Garibaldi. Giuseppe's wife, she fought alongside him in South America and Italy (she herself was South American), and this sculpture shows her as I like to think of her - riding a horse and a gun extended into the air in one hand, a baby being cradled in the other. Another interesting feature of the Piazzale is the puppet shows that are sometimes held there. A P...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 8, 2005

Monumento a Garibaldi
Piazzale Giuseppe Garibaldi
Rome, Italy 00165

Tempietto

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Attraction

Tempietto Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
The Tempietto (which literally just means "little temple") is located on the grounds of San Pietro, a church in the Monteverde neighborhood, in Montorio (close to Trastevere and the Giancolo). There are several spots in Rome that supposedly mark the location of St. Peter's crucifixion, and this is one of them. The Tempietto was designed by Bramante in the early 1500s, and while it is incredibly small, the building is one of the most cohesive, textbook examples of Renaissance architecture. The hours when you can get in to see the Tempietto are few, but you can always view it through the iron gate that leads into the courtyard of San Pietro in Montorio. If you're lucky enough to be there duri...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 14, 2005

Tempietto
San Pietro in Montorio
Rome, Italy

Pasqua Festivities (Easter)

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Attraction | "Pasqua"

Pasqua Festivities (Easter) Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Easter (Pasqua) is for Italy what Christmas is for the United States, and it's an incredible season to experience. With the pope living in Rome, Holy Week is a major time for pilgrimages to the city, but despite the sometimes overwhelming crowds, it's beautiful. Religiously, Easter in Rome is a powerful time. The week's ceremonies begin with Palm Sunday Mass in the Piazza in front of St. Peter's, where olive branches are waved instead of palms. Small, illustrated programs are distributed, and the various parts of the Mass are each conducted in a different language, so everyone can more or less follow what is being said. Thursday, meanwhile, all of the churches in Rome are kept open ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 4, 2005

Pasqua Festivities (Easter)
Throughout Rome
Rome, Italy

San Clemente

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Attraction | "The Church of San Clemente"

San Clemente Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
A visit to San Clemente is quite literally a trip through the history of Rome. Entering into the church, the new basilica is seen, with additions ranging from the 12th century to the 18th century. The apse is particularly beautiful, with a golden mosaic representing the tree of life. A quick glimpse around the interior, however, displays several unusual features. For one thing, the columns lining the main aisle aren't identical to one another. The different columns are the result of an early Christian construction practice of removing ancient columns from Roman structures and placing them in churches. In addition, looking at the bottom of the walls on the edge of the building reveals strange, sh...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 5, 2005

San Clemente
Via Labicana, 95
Rome, Italy 00184
+39 0670451018

Borghese Gallery and Museum (Galleria Borghese)

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Attraction | "Galleria Borghese"

Borghese Gallery and Museum (Galleria Borghese) Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Galleria Borghese is a fairly small museum (compared to the Vatican, at least) located in Villa Borghese, but it just so happens to be my favorite. The museum is a little out of the way, on the eastern end of the park and not terribly close to the historic center of Rome, but if you have the time, it’s well worth the trip (plus you get to take a stroll through the park, which is also beautiful). The building itself was the home of Cardinal Scipione, and the collection was his as well. Scipione clearly had good taste, and many of the works are Baroque masterpieces. Here you can find Canova's nude sculpture of Pauline Bonaparte (yep, that's Napoleon's sister), as well as several excellent Carav...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 6, 2005

Borghese Gallery and Museum (Galleria Borghese)
Piazzale Scipione Borghese, 5
Rome, Italy 00197
+39 068413979

San Pietro in Vincoli

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Attraction

San Pietro in Vincoli Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Built in the 5th century, St. Peter in Chains is an old church, even for Rome, and was built to house a sacred relic. As the story is told in the Acts of the Apostles, St. Peter was imprisoned for preaching in Jerusalem. While he was asleep in prison, however, an angel woke him, saying that he was free. Sure enough, the chains were gone from around his wrists and Peter was able to escape. Tradition says that those chains were brought to Rome, where they now rest in a glass box beneath the altar of the church. But that's not the real reason to visit. Tourists flock to this church to see one of Michelangelo's most impressive sculptures - the Moses. The piece is a part of the tomb of Pope Jul...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 12, 2005

San Pietro in Vincoli
Piazza di San Pietro in Vincoli, 4a
Rome, Italy 00184
+39 064882865

Campidoglio

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Attraction

Campidoglio Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
In Roman mythology, the Campidoglio is best known as the hill that wasn't Rome. As the story goes, when twins Romulus and Remus decided to establish a city, there was a dispute over where to build. Remus selected the Capitoline Hill, while Romulus favored the Palatine. Romulus won out after a sign from the gods (more birds circled his hill). Remus was killed and didn’t get a city named after him. But don't feel bad for the Campidoglio. Rome eventually grew to encapsulate it, and it was the site of the ancient temple to the Roman triad of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva (you can still see pieces of the foundation behind Santa Maria in Aracoeli). The temple housed Brutus and his co-conspirators a...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 5, 2005

Campidoglio
Campidoglio
Rome, Italy

La Bocca della Verità

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Attraction

La Bocca della Verità Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
La Bocca della Verità ("The Mouth of Truth") is located in the Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin, very near the Isola Tiberina. The large stone circular image of a bearded, horned man (possibly a river god or Oceanus, god of the sea) likely served as a drain cover during ancient Roman times. Today, however, it is not visited for its association with water. The figure has long been considered to be a means to test honesty. As Gregory Peck informs Audrey Hepburn in "Roman Holiday," legend states that if you place your hand in the figure's mouth and tell a lie, the giant stone slot of a mouth will smash down and bite your hand off. Centuries ago, this crude form of a lie-detector test was often used to...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 24, 2005

La Bocca della Verità
Piazza Bocca della Verità
Rome, Italy

The Pasquino/Pasquin

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Attraction | "Talking Statues"

Quote:
Rome’s talking statues are easy to miss if you’re not already aware of them, even though there is a good chance that you might see one or more of them in the course of your initial sight-seeing itinerary. While they’re by no means the most attractive ancient art you’ll see on your vacation (one of the statues is known for its ugliness), they do embody a particularly strong Italian trait—a sense of one’s responsibility to be politically aware and active. The tradition of the talking statue is, as most things are in the Eternal City, an old one. As early as the 16th century, citizens were forced into exile for posting satirical poetry, critical of papal authority and individuals high up in the Vati...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on May 10, 2006

The Pasquino/Pasquin
Piazza Pasquino
Rome, Italy 00186

About the Writer

italylover

italylover
St. Louis, Missouri

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