Our time in Rome is over, and we’ve made the trek to Istanbul. We’ve been slowly settling in over the past few days; getting oriented to a new place, new food, new sites, new sights… We’ll be up and blogging again soon, but wanted to close out our time in Rome with some thoughts from each of our 2016 Rome-Istanbul students, about their experiences in the Eternal City – who was such a gracious host to us over these short, short weeks. Grazie Mille.
Our five weeks in Rome have flown by. These past couple days I have been walking around the city wondering if this will be the last time I see the pantheon, Trevi fountain, or piazzas. I have been making sure to visit my favorite places and say goodbye to them before we leave. Having been to Rome prior to this trip, I am amazed at how much more I have learned about the history as well as the amount of things that we have seen and discussed. I now am able to view the city with knowledge of the history and how things came to be. Coming into this trip with a
limited skill level and interest in drawing and sketching I was skeptical about how much I could learn. Being at the end of our time, I can now say that I actually enjoy sketching. I love how sketching allows you to view the city, a street, a building or an object in both a critical and abstract way. Throughout all the lectures, there was one thing that Antonella said that really stuck with me. She was discussing the complicated palimpsest filled history of buildings and the challenge of answering the question, “When was this church/structure built?” Prior to this course, I would have thought this question was the most straightforward question, which only required a simple response. A quick Google search could tell you exactly when the construction began and ended. But through the lectures and my own research for the project, I learned that it isn’t always this simple. With the layers of a building changing throughout history, whether it be adding on to the ruins, stripping away pieces, there is a continuous flux of adaptation. There is not one concrete time of when the building was made, but rather multiple points in history that have impacted the structure and use of a building. She also mentioned the challenge of choosing a certain time period for restoration. Having discussed this in regards to habitat and ecological restoration prior to this trip, I was interested in seeing the connection of restoration and perseveration between landscape and architecture. I cannot believe that we are already leaving Rome. I have loved every second of my time here whether it be wandering the streets or working on my drawings. I can’t wait to see what Istanbul has in store for us!
It’s been five weeks since my arrival in the eternal city, and the experience has been memorable to say the least. Growing up I had always imagined Rome as some magical place filled with marvels at every corner. After living in the city for five weeks, I have to admit that this childhood image of mine was not too far off. I have found wonder in every part of the city that I have wandered into. However, this wonder is fulfilled in a different sense than expected. It is not monumental structures lining the streets that makes Rome great, but instead the layers of history that give the city a richness unlike anywhere else in the world.
I had briefly visited Italy a few years ago, and my perception of Rome was that it was overcrowded, chaotic, and overwhelming especially when compared to cities like Florence which are perfectly pristine time capsules of their history. It was too much to handle in a short afternoon visit to the city. Five weeks of living in Rome and I still stand by my initial perception of it. However, it is this same sense of disorder that gives life to Rome. The lecture series by Dr. Antonella De Michelis perfectly captured this essence of the city that makes it so unique. Romans are proud of their history, but they do not push their everyday lives around it, avoiding any direct contact. Instead the history molds and shapes daily routines. These historic structures, whatever the scale may be, are integrated into the daily lives of everyone who inhabits the city. I think this approach to history is what will stay with me the most.
There is satisfaction in utilizing the monuments of Rome to mark my life. For the Pantheon, it marks a great place to eat pizza. The Vatican is near my favorite gelato place. Il Vittoriano is the constant connection point for public transport almost every time I travel. Rome is not a museum city, it is experiential. My walk to class is littered with hundreds and even thousands of year old structures. I am fortunate enough to be studying in a city where so many critical events occurred and I walk these same streets on my way to grab lunch. This notion should stop me in my tracks and fill me with awe, yet it feels so natural in the context of Rome.
To handle the hectic nature of Rome, I have had to adapt myself. I find myself a more confident person than I was at the beginning of my time here. This has been necessary in trying to speak a language I do not know, attempting to cook a decent meal on my own, squeezing into the tiniest gap on the tram without feeling bad about it, and navigating the city without being able to rely on my GPS. I know now every sketch does not have to be a perfect recreation of a view. My ability to draw has grown as a result. Having to be around the same students for the duration of the trip has made me quickly have to be confident in being myself around them. I believe all of this has made my experience with Rome that much more enjoyable. I have been able to find my own place in the city, as cliché as that sounds, incorporating myself into the history that bursts from every corner of Rome.
I truly cannot believe it has come time to pack up and say our farewells to Rome. It feels like just yesterday I was lugging my suitcases up the stairs to our apartment that was to be our cozy little home for the next five weeks, but at the same time it already feels like I have been here for months. I don’t know if I could pinpoint the exact moment at which Rome started to feel like home to me, but I do remember after our daytrip to Orvieto, our weekend trip to Florence, and our daytrip to Hadrian’s Villa and Tivoli, as amazing, fun, beautiful, and educational as those trips were, towards the end I always started looking forward to returning “home,” to Rome.
While Rome did become home to me after a little while, I still enjoyed the adventure and personal exploration and growth that comes with being completely out of your comfort zone. It seemed around every corner there was something new to see, something new to learn about, something new to experience, something new to sketch, something new to eat. There were also the many new, lasting friendships that I have formed with my fellow abroad classmates that have made every experience that much better. This is an opportunity that I know very few people have the ability of experiencing and I am forever grateful for everything Rome has taught me and the memories it has given me, whether learning about myself as a person, learning about life within a completely new culture, or learning and growing as an architecture student through daily sketching and realizing my own hand-drawing skills through our drawing project.No matter how many euros were spent on cornettos (and other various delicious bakery treats), gelato, museums, sight-seeing, and more, my time spent in Rome was absolutely and completely priceless, and I would do it again in a heartbeat given the opportunity. It may be time to say goodbye to Rome (for now), but as sad as I am to leave, I am equally excited to continue this journey in Istanbul!
The clash and clamor of Roman streets, the heated debates held by two Italians having coffee and the open displays of love for one another rivaled only by open displays of disagreement between soccer fans. This city lives and breathes passion in every fleeting moment, however, it still manages to maintain a balance by allowing its people to take time out of the day to break away from routine and work schedules so that they may relax and enjoy time with one another. Coming from the west, it is truly amazing to walk a street at 2pm and just about every store is closed until after three, sometimes closed for the rest of the day. In Rome, there does not seem to be much worry for time unless it is business or our professor’s lectures.
Feeling welcomed here, I would often try my best to speak with anyone willing to try their hand at English as I tried my hand at Italian. Each interaction was different, however it always ended the same, with smiles and handshakes. There were moments I felt as if those around me were talking about me, but it’s expected when you sometimes do not fit into the surroundings. Moreover, financially, being here became a struggle for a few weeks, but through
the aid of some of my fellow classmates and the generosity of strangers, I was able to make due until family and friends could aid me. This struggle has occurred every semester in Minnesota so it was to be expected. Although, it did not impede me as it usually would, I took it in stride remembering, “It’s better to be broke in Rome than broke in ice cold Minneapolis.” I cannot pretend to know what is in store for us in Istanbul, I can only pray for our safe passage as I can sense some hesitations and worries from my fellow classmates. Coming from a somewhat hostile background and country, I understand the turmoil within the country and know to simply respect their ideals and strife. I am ready for whatever awaits,
“…Beyond this place of wrath and tears, Looms but the horror of the shade, and yet the
menace of the years finds and shall find me unafraid…”
~ Invictus by my Mr. William Ernest Henley
Ciao! For now.
Someday I will come back to Rome. That’s what I’ve been telling myself about every wonderful place I have ever been to. Sometimes I do go back but its never quite the same.
This adventure is coming to an end and a new one if unfolding in front of us. I will remember my time in Rome for the rest of my life and, hopefully, retain some of the insights and skills I have gained along the way.
I’m glad we got to experience this place in the way we did. At the end of our review, I think we all agreed that the project had greatly enhanced our understanding and experiences of this city. I almost wish I could investigate every place I go this deeply. That is why I will keep drawing.
The food was pretty good but I’ll miss the culture surrounding it more. Everywhere is in walking distance of a grocery store. The produce is cheap and fresh. The cappuccinos are made with an almost religious ceremony. The meals are long and shared and savored.
I’m going to miss the urban fabric even more. I’m glad we don’t have to go back to the U.S. quite yet because when I do the wide open spaces, vast highways and lack of grocery stores is going to be hard to re-accept. Rome has made me want to change American cities even more than I did before. If only everyone in America could see what I have seen and know that these ideas work because I know I can’t change the cities without changing the people.
Those of us who stayed here during our last few days of Rome have been enjoying our lack of schedule. Five of us took a day trip to Ostia-Antica and then to the beach. Instead of the usual mad rush and creeping feeling that we’re going to miss something that was typical of our day trips during the semester, we found ourselves meandering through the ancient streets, sunning ourselves on the warm stones and generally enjoying the beautiful day. We didn’t see everything and we didn’t do five sketches but we had a great time taking it easy and relaxing before the insanity that is about to be Istanbul.
My time in Italy is coming to an end I cannot believe how fast the time has flown. As I reflect on my time in this magnificent country and its incredibly unique cities, I am reminded about all of the unforgettable events that I have experienced. I came on this trip not knowing anyone and not totally knowing what this semester was going to offer me. As I started to make friends and began to get back into my normal rhythm, I noticed that although I am on the other side of the Atlantic I am still the same person who will booty drop it in the middle of the street. I thought that possibly I would morph into someone new on this trip. I don’t think that I will be totally unchanged by my experiences, but when I think of the cliché student who has arrived back home from their semester abroad and how different they seem or at least how different they are trying to seem, I am forced to think about whether I will become that cliché student. I wonder are they different because they spent a semester immersed in a different culture or has their time abroad allowed for them to grow into an identity that doesn’t revolve around their friends, family, and previous life back in the United States? I hope that I am able to grow from my experience, but not change into an unrecognizable persona of who I used to be. I hope that my time and experience in Istanbul will allow me to culture my identity but not lose my sense of self. I am watching my fellow classmates grow and expose their true selves. Each with their own thoughts and quirks, they are truly unique. Watching them it is like watching a Shakespearean play. I am able to see each character expose their identity. Over the next two months we will learn and grow from our experiences with each other. We will become a microclimate of culture. Our culture will and can only exist within the context of this study abroad timeline. Once we disperse and go our separate ways, the only people we can identify our experiences with will be the people we traveled with for 3 months during the spring semester of 2016. How will we remember our time spent abroad? How will we remember the people? How will we remember the places we saw? I guess that is what lies ahead of us in Istanbul. Maybe Kylie Jenner was right when she said, “this year is really about, like, the year of just realizing stuff. And everyone around me, we’re all just, like, realizing things.”
The amount of knowledge that I have gained in the past 5 weeks in unimaginable. I gained great information and inspiration from our lectures with Antonella, Paolo, and Andrea. I learned how to draw, how to use drawing to understand a space and, most importantly, how to enjoy drawing: some wine and the Trevi fountain, just kidding!
I became acquainted with the amazing concept of palimpsest: memories told through layering of information (something that has interested me in recent years). Antonella quoted Freud in her lecture introducing palimpsest: “nothing once formed in the mind could ever perish.” This quote stuck with me because it is a great metaphor for the complexity of both palimpsest and of Rome.
One final thing that I would like to reflect on is how we as a class interacted with the city and how I observed that it differed from other student’s experiences. Last Thursday, Accent organized a tiramisu event. We followed an Accent staff member from Accent to Pompi and along the way she made a few turns that we questioned because they weren’t the most direct. We were also complaining to one another about having to walk all the way to Accent to get to Pompi. It wasn’t until I overheard other student’s saying that they had no idea where they were that I realized how well we understood the city and how our program set us up for that familiarity with Rome. This is one of the most valuable things that I learned in these 5 weeks. It was valuable because it not only allowed me to understand the narrative of the city better, but it allowed me to investigate and explore the city more because I always had a relative understanding of where I was on my mental map of Rome.
The picture I have included is of our final map, a manifestation of parts of our mental map. It would be super cool to do another mapping exercise where we drew out our own mental map of Rome! I might have to do that on the plane to Istanbul!
Buongiorno from Radicondoli, a charming medieval village in Tuscany. Here I sit in a cosy villa surrounded by my lovely family who made the trip over to enjoy artichokes, pecorino cheese, and Chianti Classico as well as each other.
Before finding home base in Radicondoli, we met in Rome to explore for a few days. One of our first stops was the Colosseum and Forum. As my assigned location for our project, it was exciting to be able to walk them through the spaces that I drew and studied during my time in Rome. It was almost as if I was walking them right along our map!
These fragments of Ancient Roman society had become home base for me. It became a “norm” to see the Arch of Constantine, the Temple of Vesta or the Colosseum on a daily basis. As I finish up my time in Rome, I am realizing how truly remarkable it was. When will the sentance: “Hey I’m going out to sketch the Colosseum, be back later!” be used again? I hope soon. My families reactions to the countless marble encased churches, statues sculpted to perfection, and breathtaking fountains scattered throughout the city reminded me how lucky I am to have been able to see, sketch, walk throughout and make countless memories within the Eternal City. I will miss Roma so so much!
But hey – pretty soon it will be “I’m going out to sketch the Hagia Sophia, be back later!” Leaving isn’t all bad, huh?
My time in Rome was a combination of fantastical and everyday activities proportioned so that felt I really lived in Rome for the last five weeks. For this I am truly thankful. Of course I will remember the monuments: the Pantheon, the Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, and St. Peter’s Basilica, to name a few. I will also remember, however, the weather, the walks, the people, the busses, trams, and trains; things that a person can find variations of in most cities. I’ll remember being elated standing atop the Castel Sant Angelo, watching the city illuminated by that legendary Roman light, and I’ll also remember making pasta for the 10,000th time and watching Netflix in my apartment while bonding with my trip mates. How wonderful that I, as Romans do, lived a modern life in a city with an ancient past!
Another notable highlight of the trip was our lecture series from Antonella and Paolo, in which my class and I leaned the details that make Rome so sacred and unique. Certainly each of us can say that we appreciate the city, with its successes and failures alike, much more because of these lessons. Antonella and Paolo showed me Rome as a city that prizes history before convenience and wears this badge proudly. This city and its citizens value history so much that instead of separating themselves from it, they insist on adapting their lifestyle so they may continue to live within the history. This Roman approach to history and preservation will be a consistent reference point for me in the future as I consider how cities with varied histories respond to their past architecturally.
I remember my hands were shaking. My fingers weren’t functional as I attempted to unbuckle my seatbelt when my dad dropped me off at the airport. Did I pack everything I need?
Was I really leaving to fulfill my lifelong dream of studying abroad? Do I have the guts to do this? My body’s anatomy was 70% water and 30% nerves.
Upon arrival into Rome, my hands weren’t shaking anymore. Actually, they probably were as I was in a cheek-to-cheek sprint towards the first gelato stand I saw, but that’s beside the point. My anxiety of traveling to a foreign land was alleviated. This is where I’m supposed to be. I am here, and I am safe.
Safe, yes. But also blissful and charmed. Surrounded by people who enjoy the same studies and the same humor, who cackle with each pigeon floating by and who spoil themselves with extravagant pastries, just like me. The past five weeks in Rome have been eventful and busy and exhausting, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I’ve been to more museums in the past month than I have in my entire life, I’ve consumed more carbohydrates than I thought was physically possible, and I’ve missed the train more than I would have liked to. But this is Rome. Chaotic, indulging, passionate Rome.
The experiences I have had here are ones for the books (maybe not an actual published novel, but my journal definitely gets a kick out of them). Eating gelato at midnight on the Fontana del Pantheon, sketching the Roman cityscape atop the Basilica of St. Peter, being chauffeured around in a black Mercedes-Benz to accompany Ms. Olivia to the hospital, witnessing a pigeon defecate on Garrett’s and my drawings during final review…
Rome has been magical to say the least, and the adventures I have had here are unforgettable. (Below: Me amongst my classmates awaiting final review. My hands are in the air because I am excited and happy, but I was definitely dancing as well.
Upon coming to Rome, I, like my peers, brought with me a bundle of preconceptions. These stem from the usual places like movies, music, books and so on, but also from prior experience in the city. In 2010 I traveled to Rome for a short stay with a high school tour group. This prior exposure caused me to hold an entirely separate set of preconceptions from those engendered by western film, music, fashion, etc. I was overwhelmed by the city then as I still am today, but everything was seen and understood in a fashion that was an inch deep and a mile wide. I returned to the city thinking that, because of my prior experience, I knew a little about life here. Truly, I was mistaken. I have grown to love this city that has left an indelible mark on my memory. I love it because it is so much more than the top inch of history, food, culture, or people. I have conversed with old shop owners, mingled with local artists, been uncomfortably close with hardworking citizens taking the train, and its all left me with a new understanding of the city as it exists today. This view of modern Rome mixes and mingles with the narration of the city’s past expertly curated by our guides. By getting out and walking the streets and ancient roads or visiting the historic landmarks with this new found knowledge in mind, I have pieced together an increasingly clear image of what Rome is. My view of Rome was once a two dimensional image, static and unchanging. To me, Rome was preserved in a capsule of cinematic beauty, but today, it is a vibrant, ever changing tapestry that transcends cinema, literature, sculpture, song, and every other media’s ability to portray it. Rome must be lived in. That is simply the only way we can attempt to find her true nature and understand why she has captured the world’s imagination. I will leave her with no small amount of longing in my heart for the day I return. I must turn now to her sister city in Turkey where even more adventures await. I am eager, I am willing, I am ready.
As a new student at the University of Minnesota I found myself sluggishly seated in Rapson Hall 100. Sleepy and unenthused for lecture, I was happy to be told that our class would be having a guest presentation about an opportunity to study abroad. The professor that greeted the class was none other than the great Ozayr Saloojee. After his captivating pitch to participate in the Rome/Istanbul program he had me hook, line and sinker. It was decided that day. I’m doing this.
Over a year has past since that groggy morning, as I now relax in my spacious Roman abode while Zeus hurls thunder down upon the city. I wrote in my previous blog how comfortable I’ve become here, and will have a hard time saying goodbye. It’s still seems surreal that I’ve spent the last five weeks drawing and exploring what is known as the capital of the world…an opportunity that is made possible by the University, our donors, and Ozayr!!! I am incredibly thankful and feel blessed to be here.
Five weeks in Rome is not enough, but I really appreciated how the structure of our drawing course set us up to experience the city to the max. First off, having a five sketch per day quota cultivated a fast-paced and active attitude. If I wasn’t on track with my sketching in a given day, I was sure to get out and explore the city to get ‘em done. I also feel that sketching has immersed me within my surroundings while cementing the experience into my memory, definitely enriching my time here. The nature of our project – essentially the creation of layered drawings that portray more that just physical space – inspired me to dig deep to understand the ever-unravelling narrative of the city, all the while exploring creative ways to represent the depth of these places with just pencil and paper. Given this task and provided essential knowledge from our lectures my experience within the city has been more powerful than if I were here and not studying.
There is still so much I would like to do and explore within Rome. I have thrown my coin into the Trevi so I’m not worried about if I return, it’s more a question of when. I’m already missing the Roman lifestyle that I’ve been thoroughly enjoying. Delicious cappuccinos and cornettos at daybreak, followed by sketching, pizza by the kilogram, and jam packed tram rides.
Roma, we will meet again!
Ahhhhh Rome. It has been a journey! At the beginning of this trip, I had no idea what to expect from my experience. I knew it would shape me as a person but I didn’t know to what extent. I had almost no vision in my mind for what would happen in Rome. But, my experience here has been more meaningful and memorable than I ever would have thought. Reflecting, however, is tough. Because on one hand, I do know that I’ve loved the opportunity to be here and learn in a different way which has been so beneficial to me on many levels. But on the other, I haven’t processed and don’t think I will fully process the enormity of this trip until I am back in the states, so a reflection will never be fully formed and will always be in process.
But for now, I would like to just talk about some life changing things in general:
- The living situation – Back in the states, flexibility was not my strong suit. I needed most everything to be in order and to have a plan for most things in my life. Rome and traveling in general has forced me to relish lack of control and to thrive off of not knowing how something is going to turn out. An example of this can be found in the apartments we stayed in. They have a life of their own. After living in ours for about a week, I started to realize we would have to be crafty. For example, our showerhead wasn’t attached to the wall so we tapped it to the curtain rod. It became much easier to shower after that. Another example of are the poorly made doors that create a sort of “open air” vibe in the apartment but also moan and creak and in one specific case shatter when the wind picks up. These among other things made me realize how important it is to be flexible and I am actually much happier and am experiencing more because of it.
- The city the food and the people – As humans, we are incredibly flawed and wrought with insecurities and fears. Most of history is about influence, survival, propaganda, and power. Through the lens of survival, humans have always fought for a more comforting more predictable way of life. From the things they study, to the monuments they build, to the language barriers overcome, through the empires overthrown and sacked, through religion and appreciation and art, comes a narrative that is traceable and so very, very complex. In Rome, much of the history has a direct connection with the city in the present and the way people live life in urban space. Looking at the city in this way, I realized I had a very unique role in Rome, the observer. I was in an overly stimulating environment with new sites, smells, tastes, people, language and I have the role of the observer who takes in all of the information and in ways unknown yet to me, thinks about it through my own personal lens. This is something not many people who are tourists get to do as fully and as completely as we got to in 5 weeks.
- Strength – In my opinion, this experience as a whole has made me a stronger person. There have been times over the course of this trip where all I could think about was not being strong enough to accomplish this and all I wanted to do was run. But, I didn’t. Through experience, I found strength in myself. Through motivation, and creative passion, I accomplished many things here that I never ever would have been able to do back home. Being thrown out of a certain level of comfort is scary but in my opinion very necessary in order to grow and change as a person.
All in all, Rome has been a success. I am sad to leave because it really was feeling like home. The familiarity of this city will always be with me. There will always be a little piece of me here.
As I look back at my time in Rome, it is hard to imagine that I hated the city when I got here. I remember thinking how disgusting and dirty this city was. I had just come from the great cities of Switzerland and France. Those cities were sparkling clean, picturesque, and perfect. Rome was entirely the opposite. It was dirty, there was trash everywhere, everything looked broken, and the people seemed much the same.
When I look back at my first impression, I can’t help but laugh. My first impression was based largely on ignorance of a culture I didn’t understand. Italy in many ways is nothing like that of the US. Their conservative pride for their history is really what all the dirt and grime is about. As I got to know the city more and more I was shocked to find out that many of the things I thought were just ordinary, plain, broken buildings actually had amazing stories to tell. In Rome, everything has a history larger than any of us. In many ways, the grime and dirtiness of my first impression of Rome is now what draws me into the city; it is endearing.
Rome has taught me a valuable lesson that I think will be even harder for me to stand by when I get to Turkey. In the most cliché sense: don’t judge a book by its cover. When go to new places and do new things, I often get overwhelmed and decide right away that it is not for me. The city of Rome, and learning to draw in Rome has taught me that if you set aside your preconceived notions, you can thrive. I have learned to draw in Rome, and come to love the city I hated at first. For me, that is what I have taken away from Rome, and will hopefully continue to keep in mind in the future.
As our time in Rome draws to a close, we all turn to reflect on the time we have spent in this beautiful city. I have enjoyed every moment spent here, from the first confused, jet-lagged day to today, the hectic yet wistful last. Most days just existing in this realm of perfect chaos that is Rome leaves me in disbelief. Whether the day consisted of walking twelve miles, soaking in the boundless sites or spending a rain soaked 24 hours indoors, drafting and snacking, it will stay ingrained in my memory.
Where most may see the abundant steps of the Capitoline Hill, I will remember sunsets spent sketching the city sprawled below me. Or when I turn the corner and find the Pantheon looming out of the twisting streets, I will remember the midnight spent in its shadow or the fear of moving for the rain pelting through the oculus and turning the interior into a slide. Or when I walk through the streets of Trastevere, I will gravitate to a coffee shop for my favorite pistachio cornetto. Or the Borghese garden will remind me of sprinting through it in a thunderstorm, sure that Roman ghosts lurked steps behind us. These places and more remain irrevocably connected to memory for me. But whatever my memories, they are scarcely a layer on the city itself. That’s pretty cool.
All this is to say nothing of the amazingly joyful, talented people I have met on this trip, with whom I am sure I will maintain lasting friendships, forged over shared experiences and too many cappuccinos. This city has left an impression on me, in a way I never thought it could have in five too short weeks. Now we must all say arrivederci to Roma and merhaba the next adventure.
My time in Rome has been made memorable due to the drawing, the company, the weather, the sites, and the food. The most memorable experiences that I have here are all tied to times when I would sit and draw around the city. I thoroughly enjoyed this type of experience that I rarely interacted with before landing in Rome. Drawing on site for me is a very relaxing experience that makes me enjoy the place where I am more than I would if I was just sitting there. I also enjoyed all of the sites that we visited while in Rome. I have always enjoyed modern and contemporary architecture over earlier periods of buildings but experiencing so many buildings first hand has made me appreciate the grand scale and detail work in baroque and ancient roman architecture. I have also enjoyed seeing the work that Borromini has done and how it can be connected to modernist ideas with the philosophical design and excessive use of white. I will also miss the wonderful food that is an obvious indicator of the strong cultural connection to eating and socializing that is an important part of Rome.
I have also enjoyed experiencing the city of Rome and other cities I’ve been in through my camera lens. Taking pictures allows me to experience the city uniquely and personally that leaves me with new experiences to be had as a result of abstractions that I aim to create in all of my photos. These provide a lens into an invisible layer of Rome that is composed of subtle connections, ephemeral experiences, and alternative realties that makes the city eternal. Having a change to document some of these invisible cities has given me a new impression of Rome that is dramatically richer than when I first arrived a month ago.
I felt like this picture was a nice way to wrap up our time in Rome. As we excitedly gathered around Antonella as she tore into the contemporary pitfalls of Richard Meier’s Ara Pacis Museum, she had us reach out and touch the water coming its public fountain steps. That captured a wonderful moment for me on this trip. The tactility of the city combined with so many intangible beautiful qualities is what makes this city so fantastic, even if it is grimy, loud and a layered beyond comprehension.
As we pack our bags and prepare for the next leg of our trip, I can’t help but already miss Rome a little bit. Never have I been to a city like this. The living museum that is the streets, the vast number of fountains, both monumental and quaint, sprinkled throughout the city, the infinite coffee shops and the constant dichotomy of whizzing moped and buses next to bustling markets and quiet parks and piazzas blend together in a city with too many layers to process fully in only five weeks. Contrary to the patch on Michael’s backpack, school was not a drag here. Every morning I woke up excited to continue to piece together the historical patchwork while trekking the streets alongside Paolo or Antonella. The busy, jumbled, and patchwork schedule only added to this. I felt like I kept needing to squeeze everything out of my time in Rome every day and I absolutely loved it.
That all being said, I’m excited to head to Istanbul now and get into a rhythm in a city that will most certainly be more daunting and less whimsical. Like Rome, however, I can’t wait to embrace every second of uncertainty, experience new things daily, and touch more fountains.