Intern in Rome: LEARNING TO LOVE THE ETERNAL CITY
This summer I got the opportunity to study and intern in Rome. Before this trip, I had never visited Europe. I was excited, but not quite sure what to expect. The history was immense, the art was some of the best in the world, and the food was supposed to be incredible. How could I prepare? How could I even think about it? Everyone I knew, especially those that had visited Rome, were beyond excited for me.
Upon arriving in Rome, I quickly began to have issues. First, my luggage was lost and the help desk in Italy took about forty minutes after my arrival to open. Then, on the ride to the apartment, I became incredibly car sick, which hadn’t happened to me since I was a kid. My luggage didn’t come in for three days and the headache and nausea didn’t leave me for one.
I decided that despite the bad beginning, I wouldn’t allow those negative experiences to sour my time in Italy.
Rome, however, was not quite what I expected. I love cities so I was surprised to find, I didn’t immediately love Rome. At first it seemed like the city was too slow. And though the city was lovely, the beauty didn’t quite hit me as I walked around the city in my first week. The worst of all, the food was not as incredible as people had told me.
The negative experiences of my first week made me think that I wouldn’t like this city, and caused me to consider going home. However, I am glad I didn’t. After giving it some time, I discovered things that made me love this city.
The first was a local 24-hour bakery near my apartment, Dolce Maniera on via Barletta. I love bread and pastries so once I discovered this bakery, I was overjoyed. The cheesecake and chocolate croissant are incredible. The workers are friendly and people that come into the bakery are always helpful with recommendations or with helping me figure out the names of breads in Italian. This experience made me realize that perhaps expecting me to enjoy foods that I don’t normally eat back home was unreasonable. It was better to focus on things that I could like in this city instead of trying to like things that I knew others liked.
Another favorite experience was walking by the Altare della Patria at night. Seeing it lit up at night and then walking by all the different historical monuments in Piazza Venezia made it truly feel like I was in the Eternal City. There is something incredible walking by all the different buildings from different eras and realizing how many different people have lived and existed in the same area that you are standing. Seeing the city at night adds a mystical element, that is difficult to see in the day because of all the people and traffic. I now love visiting monuments at night, especially with friends and gelato.
Once my internship started, I began to feel that the city was a bit busier. My internship is through Roman Candle Tours and Maximus Tours as a social media assistant. Being able to see the services provided by the company was important for me to be able to accurately represent the company. So I got to go on my first tour of the Vatican!
My first tour, and the experience that made me love the art in Rome, was visiting the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. I took a tour with an enjoyable and funny guide that not only explained different pieces of art but also pointed things out in statues and paintings that I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. Having a tour guide helped me better appreciate what I was seeing because I wouldn’t have understood it otherwise. Also, seeing the incredible works of Michelangelo and Raphael was very moving. I had never realized the larger-than life effect hat the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel could have. Pictures truly do not do it justice.
I’m excited to continue to explore Rome and to find out more of what amuses me in this city. I think that sometimes expecting to like things can take away from truly enjoying them. If you ever decide to visit Rome, I encourage you to seek out things that would interest you and to take your time to find what you enjoy!Written by: Paola GilliamIf you liked this article, read also “Intern in Venice: DELVING INTO THE “CITY OF CANALS”