News & Blog

Roman Holiday (NOT starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck)

Well as you can probably tell from the title, I have both watched the referenced movie and safely arrived in Roma Sunday afternoon.

As we got off the bus and began our short trek to the hotel, you could already tell the stark difference between how Florence and Rome conduct themselves. Florence is a lot smaller, and the pace of events seemed to go by generally slower. Florence found its place in history as being the epicenter of the Renaissance, home to individuals such as Michelangelo, Donatello, Bronzino, Machiavelli, Dante, the Medicis, and numerous other great minds and intellects. Florence in general felt very picturesque and reflected what I had imagined an Italian city would be, with its friendly locals, delicious cuisine, breathtaking Tuscan sights, and appreciation for the arts. Rome is different in many respects. The metro-politician feel of the Eternal City attracted me first. It gives off the feel that it is a living, breathing city, and you can tell by how much more expansive and tourist-occupied it is than Florence.

What really struck me about Rome, however, was this overabundance of history; it seems to ooze out of the cobblestone streets. Florence has always been revered for its expansive art collection, but Rome has remained one of the most historic Western capitals in the world. Now, with morning and afternoon classes over, we are given the opportunity to remark on some of Rome’s most illustrious architectural landmarks, including the St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum, the Colosseum, and the Trevi Fountain, to name a few. Each edifice was another vivid display of classical Roman architecture, which gave away the inherent difference between it and Florence’s renaissance-style architecture. Art, similar to that in Florence, speaks for itself in Rome. Stricken with sheer amazement by the degree of detail exhibited in the works housed in the Uffizi and L’Accademia, I continued to find myself grappling for the right words to justify the works of art found in the Vatican museums and St. Peter’s Basilica. The craftsmanship of Michelangelo’s Pieta rivals that of his later work, the David, in his attention to detail and classical beauty. The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and the frescoes that grace it remain a testament to the achievements of Renaissance painting, with masterpieces such as the Last Judgment and the Creation of Adam still as pristine as they were more than five centuries ago.

As I continue to view more of what Rome has to offer, I feel a tinge of regret that we weren’t able to spend as much time in the Eternal City as we had in Firenze. Four days in Roma has gone by surprisingly fast here, as tomorrow is our flight, and I feel like the city has so much to offer that I haven’t yet discovered. I am thankful, though, that this trip gave me the desire to come back to Rome and continue to explore its history and culture where I left off. Until next time, Ethan