The first time I went to Italy was for a singing tour when I was eighteen years old. I sang choral music in different venues, gardens and churches. The pinnacle of the trip was singing a solo for a mass in the Vatican! Although I was restricted by typical high school policies on this trip, I knew the Italian lifestyle and cultural philosophy were forever scored on my heart.
To clarify one thing, Rome and the Vatican City are two separate entities. Rome is the capital of Italy, while the Vatican City is its own sovereign state owned by the Catholic diocese. The famous St. Peter's Basilica is located within the Vatican City, and that's where I sang my solo! The picture above shows Baldacchino di San Pietro, which is a large bronze canopy designed by Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini. It covers St. Peter's tomb, which is protected under the ground level.
The other main points of being in Rome are definitely visiting the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Colosseum, and the Roman Ruins. Throwing a coin into the Trevi Fountain fulfilled my childhood Lizzie McGuire dreams, but Paolo never showed up for some reason #whynot #teamgordo. Here's a cute pic of my best friend...doesn't she look so excited?! (It was raining that day so that's why she's wearing a poncho.)
The Pantheon is probably one of the most majestic yet oddly placed monuments I've visited. It's nestled in the middle of apartments and across from the Trevi Fountain, so it seems extra grand in comparison to its surroundings. Lots of Italian monuments were like this, so I got used to the juxtaposition pretty quickly.
The Colosseum was another breathtaking site. I kid you not I was very confused when I went inside, because from the Lizzie McGuire movie (yes, my childhood references of Italy were sourced solely from this film) it looked like it can house thousands of fans for a hypothetical Italian Music Awards featuring Paolo y Isabella.
However, I learned that the Colosseum was used as a political tool by the Cesar, or the Roman Emperor. They would gather thousands of people into the sides of arena to witness barbaric mutilations of slaves, prisoners, and battles against beasts. The middle "stage" area is designed like a maze, and as gruesome as it was I can see how that configuration works for those purposes.
Fun Fact: The thumbs up and down symbol was originated by the Cesar in ancient Roman times. Thumbs up meant the prisoner could live; thumbs down meant they had to go bye-bye.
Lastly, the Roman Ruins are a must if you are visiting Italy. As times progressed and the Roman Empire moved towards a unified Catholic religion, they would literally build over the existing city structures. It was their attempt to erase history and "start fresh."
All in all, fitting this all in one day was hectic but so worth it because nothing beats seeing this in person. Walking on the same grounds that Julius Cesar walked on, breathing the air, and simply existing in that environment feels like you're getting transported back in time. I must say that it is very touristy, so keep your bags in front of you at all times and be mindful of pick-pocketers.
But other than that, this is something that I wish everyone could experience in their lifetime. If you have the ability to do so, studying abroad and experiencing the world is something that's scary but worth trying.
Phew, my first post is over! That wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I hope you stick around and watch out for my next one. If you like what you're seeing, please subscribe to the blog on the Home page (scroll down and input your email!), leave me a comment, and follow me on Instagram (@la.vita.vivi)! Also, check out my style, beauty and lifestyle blog, La Vita Vivi, if you're into that fun stuff.Until next time, arrivaderci!