This week, I had more classes, and I got the astonishing chance to see one of the seven wonders, definitely a mark off my bucket list. I walked by the Colosseum and admired some of the Roman ruins. My friend Mackenzie and I simply sat in awe and took in that this is our lives and how lucky we are to have this opportunity to study in Rome. This week, I had the most authentic Italian food I’ve yet encountered while abroad. The BEST pizzas and pasta around from kind Italian family businesses. It is so yummy and delicious. We tried cacio e pepe, a simple dish with the name literally meaning “cheese and pepper”; a great authentic option when looking for what to try in Italy. I will definitely try and make this when I return home for my friends and family to try a local roman dish.
Later on, this week, I went on a trip with my program. We all rode a charter bus and traveled to Siena on Friday and learned about the rich history there. We had a walking tour, and our guide explained the traditions of horse racing along with the divisions of the city (contradas). They have parties when their team wins, it was Great Gatsby themed. I was so excited that we traveled at the perfect time in order to participate in the festivities. I saw the Duomo di Siena (Cathedral). We learned how devoted Tuscany is to its culture and traditions. The countryside of Italy was so different, there was a great amount of open land. I tried pici pasta for the first time. It is a hand-rolled pasta that originates in Siena! It is a thick noodle that is a specialty in Tuscany, it is not often found in other parts of Italy. That was really neat to try. I enjoyed it, very tasty!! The people were close-knit and very kind in Siena. After, we went to Montalcino for an authentic wine tasting and to explore the smaller town. It was so fun to see how locals enjoyed the landmarks of the Fortezza di Montalcino (Fortress of Montalcino) while enjoying their wine tours. We ate lunch and got ready to travel more.
Then a small group of friends went to Florence after. We took a bus and then a train to make it to Firenze (Florence). We walked through the markets, which we found to be the biggest leather markets in Florence. Our Airbnb overlooked the market center. This is where I purchased great souvenirs for friends and family. My travel buddies loved shopping on Ponte Vecchio, the beautiful bridge with houses and shops across it. My friends dropped some pretty pennies on leather jackets and jewelry. Later on, I got to skip the line and walk through the museum to see the David statue created by Michelangelo. We walked up the hill to see both famous gardens the Boboli & Bardini. We walked up a hill to get there and we turned and overlooked the whole city. My jaw dropped at the beauty. We saw the Duomo in Florence which was large, and the architecture was so neat! I got to enjoy the sunset and ate gelato at the Piazzale Michelangelo a high point of Florence to look over the roofs of buildings. The gelato was yummy and then we had tapas at a rooftop restaurant. Finally, we headed back to our apartment in Rome for the rest of our week!