Our First Day in Rome
Having anticipated our arrival in Italy long before we had even started our program we all sat anxiously in our seats on the plane awaiting our arrival into the city. We were all eager to start our first full day in the city, which was certain to be packed with fun activities and beautiful sights. Glancing over the program the next day we all eagerly set out to see all the wonders of the eternal city.
Starting off our first day in Rome we traveled across the city to the Roman Forum. With ancient ruins scattered throughout the vast area, it was worth a large portion of our time, and we decided it was necessary to spend an hour and a half wandering through the remains. With our teacher advising us on the locations we should not miss we were left to explore the remains on our own.
Quickly upon setting out into the forum, we began to feel immersed in history, imagining what the ancient structures may have looked like in their prime. Personally, I was amazed by the ruins of the temple of Vesta, as I pictured what it must have looked like scattered among the other buildings of the forum, with the smoke from the fire coming out of the temple marking its location in the crowded space. However, now the sacred fire along with most of the temple is gone and we were all left in awe as we pondered our own legacy while we looked at the remains of a powerful empire that has now fallen to ruin.
Overlooking the forum stands the Colosseum, another remnant of the Roman Empire which like unlike the forum still stands and allows visitors to enter although it is also partially in ruins. Due to its huge size and fame, it was another must-see location for our trip. Although much of the building is now gutted with the seats and floor now missing from the building many of us were still able to picture what it must have looked like when gladiator fights and aquatic battles were still held in the building. We were all transfixed by the beauty of the space and the stories of the fights that had occurred there. Traveling across the building we saw many beautiful views, especially from the glass elevator where we where it appeared like we were traveling through the very floors of the ancient building. Thoroughly impressed with this example of ancient architecture we set off for the next location on our schedule boarding a cab and drove away from the Coliseum.
Disembarking from our cab we caught our first glance of the Pantheon, an impressive sight with its architectural combination of circular and rectangular shapes, and it was exciting to learn more about the architecture from one of the students who had previously constructed a diagram of the building. Once we were satisfied with our examination of the exterior we headed inside to view more of the building. Stepping inside we were once again awed by Roman architectural genius as the rectangular entryway expanded into a gigantic circular shaped room that appeared to be made entirely out of marble and stone. Scanning our gaze across the space all of our eyes rose to the oculus with the center opening up to the sky. Viewing the clouds that signaled the oncoming rain our thoughts immediately went to how the structure with its partially open ceiling would handle the rain that was soon to come. However, our concerns were quickly erased when we were informed of the slanting floors that lead to the drainage gates scattered throughout the floor.
With these worries gone, we began to exam other parts of the building such as the various tombs located in the building belonging to various people such as Italian rulers and artist. The beautiful dome also caught our attention once again when the clouds had cleared and the sun shone through the building with its bright beams shining through the roof we examined how it created a spotlight effect on certain parts of the room depending on the time of day. This combined with the other features of the building left us to wonder at the seemingly gigantic knowledge that the Roman architects held. However, with the rain appearing to have left for the minute we found it best to hurry to our next location before we could be caught in the rain.
St. Ignazio Church
Leaving from the Pantheon we arrived at a relatively more modern building, a beautiful church located in the middle of Rome’s bustling streets. Although it was an optional trip, it was worth the sacrifice shopping time as the beauty of the interior amazed everyone who came. One of the arguably most beautiful parts of this building was the gorgeous paintings that covered the ceiling. The church, most likely realizing how most of the visitors were transfixed by the structure had even placed a mirror angled upwards in the middle of the floor in order that people do not hurt their necks from looking up words for so long. However excluding the beautiful ceiling other pieces of art were also worth looking at such as the statues depicting various Christian imagery such as snakes. Along with the art and the architecture of the building itself was equally amazing due to its long halls and high ceilings giving it an otherworldly aura. Growing exhausted however from a long day filled with walking we left in order to quickly visit our next location and then retire back to our rooms.
Completing our first day in Rome we found it essential to take a short walk over to the trevi fountain. Entering into the square we all caught our first glance at the fountain and were amazed at the beautiful statues located around the water. Going closer to the fountain for a better look at it the group was amazed with the beautiful color of the water and the large amount of coins that lay on its floor. Inspired by this we too felt it necessary to through in our own coins and were informed by our teachers what it meant to through the coins in. Embracing our inner tourist we sat near the fountain and through each of our coins in, pausing for a photo opp. Finishing this we headed away from the fountain and towards the main road where we waited to hail a cab back to the hotel. Driving away from the fountain we all sat in awe reflecting on the sights we had seen that day.