Ciao! My name is Julia Krummel and I am a junior in the BDA architecture program at the U, but currently studying in Roma! I’ve only been here about two weeks and Rome has already exceeded all of my expectations. Words like “architecture,” “culture,” and most importantly, “food” take on whole new meanings in the Eternal City (in the best way possible).
My first few days here I, of course, felt like a complete tourist; it’s hard not to in a place that is home to some of the most well-known, historically significant monuments, landmarks, buildings, and structures. I was so overwhelmed by all of the monuments, ancient castles and palaces, huge, beautiful, magical basilicas and churches and more, that all seemed to pop up every few meters or so. Now, after being here a little longer, I am able to appreciate the many ancient ruins and monuments that abundantly crowd the city, in a new light. Don’t get me wrong, I am still in complete and utter awe whenever I am wandering around or happen to get lost (which is a daily occurrence) and somehow end up in front of the Pantheon or the Colosseum or the Trevi Fountain, but instead of being so overwhelmed by their brilliant monumentality and historical significance that all I can do is stair in utter disbelief, I am able to think about these structures in deeper cultural, architectural, historical, and social realms. They are no longer just static structures that I have spent many architecture history classes studying, but they are full of life and completely integrated into the modern day city (even if often flooded with tourists), and they are hundreds and hundreds of years old, which is really just completely mind-boggling to me.
A lot of this thinking comes from the constant sketching I have been doing every day, something I also am finding myself loving and appreciating more and more each day. I have already basically used up an entire sketchbook in just two weeks! Sketching allows me to connect more personally and with deeper understanding to all of the places I experience and it allows me to view things on smaller scales in order to get a better understanding of the big picture. I also already feel like my sketching skills are improving more each day, something I am very happy about. The fact that my “homework” is to go out, explore Rome, and draw is the most amazing thing I could probably ask for.
Two of my sites for my drawing project are Piazza Navona and Campo de
Fiori. Through these sites in particular, along with just my daily experiences in the city, I have come to realize that there is a sense of closeness that exists here that I don’t really feel back home in the States. There is definitely a physical sense of closeness that comes from the narrow, crowded streets connecting the city together, which is amplified by the many people who use walking as their main form of transportation every day, and the lack of space that exists between the seemingly never-ending connected rows of buildings and houses, but there is also a cultural and social sense of closeness that exists. People can be so crowded together in such a small space, but it seems like they don’t hate it or want to escape it, instead they embrace it; they leisurely walk through the markets and street, they go out of their way to talk to strangers, they want to interact with other people, and I really like that.
Every day I have multiple “How is this my life right now?!” moments because honestly I am living out a dream that I never thought I would and I cannot wait to see what more amazing experiences (and gelato flavors) await me in the future!