Our last week in Rome was finals week, so my friend Sydney and I kicked it off by spending a day studying in the Villa Borghese park! It was such a beautiful day.
The next day, my Christian Art class had the chance to do the Scavi tour, which is a tour of the area underneath St. Peter’s Basilica. There are graves of many ancient people, many popes, and even St. Peter himself. The tour was so special! Other than seeing St. Peter’s grave which was amazing, my favorite part of the tour was looking up into the dome of St. Peter’s from below through decorative grates. We could see the baldacchino and all the way to the top of the dome!
Later, some of my friends and I went to see St. Paul’s Outside the Walls. Of the four Papal Basilicas, it was the only one I had not seen yet so I was very excited! (I had already seen St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran, and St. Peter’s.) It was a very huge and beautiful church!
That night, we (Brittany, Sydney, Deidre, Christina and I) had reservations for a restaurant in the neighborhood Monti called La Carbonara! Since carbonara is my favorite dish, I was very excited! We had buffalo mozzarella to start, and then we all tried their amazing carbonara. It was so delicious! After dinner, we got some gelato from one of our favorite gelato places also in Monti called Gelateria dell’Angeletto. It was a great meal with great friends!
After dinner, we took a walk around the city! We saw the monument to Vittorio Emanuele, the Column of Trajan, part of the Forum, and the Colosseum. It was a beautiful night to take in the city.
The next day was also a ton of fun! Sydney, Christina, Rachel and I went to say goodbye to the Colosseum, then we went to Eataly where I got a buffalo mozzarella pizza, a cannolo, and some pasta to take home to my family! After that, we got on the Lido train to head toward the beaches at Ostia! It was so nice at the beach. Hearing, seeing, smelling, and touching the water was so calming during finals week! The water was freezing but we put our feet in anyway and it was so much fun! I absolutely loved going to the beach.
Just like the rest of the semester, finals week flew by and before I knew it it was our last full day in Rome. On Tuesday morning, my friends Sydney, Brittany, and I went out into the city for a walk and for lunch. We went to the Pantheon to say goodbye, and then we went to the very first place where we got gelato in Italy, Giolitti! Giolitti has my favorite fruit flavors of any place I’ve tried. Having gelato on our last day at our first gelato place in Italy brought back so many great memories from the semester. Giolitti also has a cafe, so I got a tomato and mozzarella sandwich for lunch. After walking some more, we went back to campus to get ready for our final group dinner.
We got changed, and then set out for the great pizza place our directors had selected for dinner. It was located right off of the Ottaviano metro stop, so we got to take our beloved 906 bus for the last time! When we arrived at the restaurant, we found our places set with a postcard of the convent where we lived, a button that says we studied at Duquesne in Rome, and a card that pictures the famous monuments of Rome in a drawing of downtown Pittsburgh! It was so meaningful to see the two cities I considered home rendered together! For dinner we had many different kinds of delicious pizza. During dinner, our director gave a great speech about the semester that made many people, myself included, tear up. Most of our professors were also at the dinner, and they each gave a little speech. My art history professor, Liz Lev, even gave me a small parting gift of a DVD about the Vatican that she has written the script for. It was a very emotional dinner, and it really hit me that I was leaving for home the next morning.
Then, after dinner, my friends and I went to our favorite monument, the Trevi Fountain, to enjoy our last night in Rome. On the way, we stopped at San Crispino for our last gelato in Italy. Then, we sat by the Trevi for about three hours. We were able to watch the Trevi go from very crowded to almost empty. It felt so special to be there so late at night and it was the perfect place to reflect on the most amazing and life-changing semester.
Italy has taught me so much about the world and myself. The highlight of my last week in Italy was sitting at the Trevi on our last night with my friends. It is such a peaceful and perfect last memory of Rome. We got to reminisce about all of the unbelievable sights we got to see and places we got to visit over the semester. The beauty of Italy is perfectly summed up in the Trevi Fountain. I loved watching other people from all around the world experience the Trevi for the first time. I felt so blessed and thankful to be able to have had the amazing experience of studying abroad. Sharing the experience with my amazing friends made us feel closer than ever before. We will always share an amazing set of memories. The low point of my week was stressing about finals. I tried my hardest to balance doing well in school with making the most of my last days in Rome. There was one day of finals week where I had to stay on campus all day and not go into the city, which was disappointing and the low point of the week. However, for the most part, I did feel successful in balancing my time.