Italy Tour Day 9: Rome

This morning, we left Sicily and arrived in the historic city of Rome. Because our flight got delayed, we had to adjust our lunch plans. A huge shoutout to our chaperones for sprinting into a gas station and buying as many sandwiches and snacks as they could for us — thanks for keeping us fed!

We hit the ground running, starting with a tour of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. The views from the Colosseum balconies were amazing, and our tour guide’s description of the location only added to the experience of visiting such a significant location.

The trip through the Roman Forum was hot and sunny, but the architecture and scenic gardens were worth the walk. We stopped briefly to fill up our water bottles at an outdoor fountain before exploring the various structures.

One of the buildings, a church, had a green door that was placed far above the ground with no staircase leading up to it; however, our tour guide explained to us that the ground level used to be much higher before excavations took place. It was quite interesting to think that the paths we were walking on used to be completely underground back in the medieval era.

After the tours, we checked into our fourth and final hotel, located right in the heart of the city. We enjoyed a pleasant evening walk through the streets of Rome, starting with the Spanish Steps and passing by the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. After our stroll, we split up into small groups for dinner.

There are many great things about Italy. One of the most enjoyable parts about this trip for me has been crossing the street. In America, cars yield to pedestrians. In Italy, nobody yields to anyone. The cars don’t stop for people, the people don’t stop for cars, and somehow it all works out. You see a car coming, you make eye contact with the driver, you start walking, the car doesn’t slow down, you keep walking, the car still doesn’t slow down, you keep walking, the car is still coming at you, and then you’re on the other side and the car drives off. It’s quite exciting!

The rest of Rome only seemed to echo the zest of its traffic. From salespeople marketing their products in the middle of the road to two Italian violinists playing Czardas in the Piazza Navona, the rest of the city carried a similar sort of lively energy. Those who enjoyed dinner outdoors were rewarded with a picturesque sunset, and those who went shopping encountered several unique stores. I must have counted at least ten gelato shops during our walking tour (and I am planning to hit up at least half of them before we leave on Saturday).

When it finally got dark, we reconvened in the square and walked back to the hotel together, a pleasant conclusion to an intense yet fulfilling day. Tomorrow will be just as, if not more, busy; we will be visiting the Vatican and giving our final concert of the tour. Our first day in Rome was immensely enjoyable, and I am looking forward to exploring even more of the city tomorrow!

Meiling Mathur, violin

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