May 15th, 2014

Everyone knows saying goodbye is the hardest part of anything we ever do. It is the end, the point in which what seemed infinite becomes suddenly finite in the most horribly tangible way. This week was the end of my study abroad program and it was heart breaking to say good bye to so many things. Saying goodbye to the people I have come to know and interact on a daily basis, the sights that I see every morning on my way to school, the incredible monuments that I walk by on a usual basis, the places I frequent and all the things that have become essential components of my everyday life.

Saying goodbye began the day I finished my horribly difficult finals and decided to walk the route I take every morning and take pictures of everything and everyone I normally see so I could always remember it the way everything was. The sights that had become so normal that I would very soon no longer have access to except through the shining veneer of a photograph.

My average day starts with walking out of my front door of my top floor apartment building in Prati, the area near the Vatican. Looking down the winding staircase, I wait for the antique elevator to arrive.


The tiny old elevator that I have come to love so dearly, creaks with the wait of my being and the shutters close with a rattling as the ascensiore comes to life bringing me closer to leaving the apartment.


To leave the apartment building I pass through our communal courtyard that feels like something out of some tropical city on the Mediterranean. A circular fern fountain in the center surrounded by palm trees where a pigeon with two lame feet always sits on the lip of the fountain under the cool shady space of the ferns.Feeling each cobblestone beneath my feet I pass by the fountain out the other door out on to the streets of Prati to begin my walk to the Study Center.


On my walk to class I pass by the old Borges road which is a wide avenue leading to the Vatican lined with cute shops and my favorite ivy covered building above a gelateria.IMG_1024 IMG_1030

Then I cross one of two bridges, one takes me by the Vatican, the other on the bridge below Castel Sant’Angelo which either way leaves me marveling at the towering beauty of the castle and the bridge that stretches below it lined with Bernini sculptures of angels each carrying an aspect of the Passion of Jesus Christ. IMG_1040

Crossing over the Tiber I find myself on a back alley street that leads me to my study center. My first stop on the alley way is a beautiful little passageway that has a starry blue ceiling and a little altar to the Virgin Mary. It is like standing under a night sky when you are beneath it’s arches.

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Right after the passageway of stars there is a Forno, or a sort of all purpose bakery that sells meats, cheeses, fast foods like pizza and panini as well as wonderful pastries. This place, Forno di Castel Sant’Angelo is my favorite forno in Rome and I love the people who work there, both the loud (semi-scary) woman who works behind the counter constantly yelling at the other workers and the cashier girl who is quiet yet very sweet.  I always get pizza and then go eat on the Castel Sant’Agnelo bridge overlooking the Vatican or I get a Romanello which is a sort of chocolate croissant.

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You can even see the Castle from the Forno standing in the street.


The stretch of street from the Forno until you reach my study center is one of my favorite walks because as you slowly progress between the towering, colorfully shuttered buildings along the cobblestone streets, moving past weaving vespa riders, you have your eyes fixed the entire time on the Boromini clock tower that gives the piazza that the study center is located in its name, Piazza Dell’Orologio or the Piazza of the Clock.

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As the clock tower looms closer and closer, with school only a few short blocks away, we reach my next and probably favorite place in Roma that has made a home in my heart very appropriately and that is Bar Amore, the cafe I go to every day for my caffeine fix and a little dose of amazing authentic Italian experience. This little bar has been handling with students from our study center for years and they are so extremely friendly, welcoming, and helpful that they instantly become very popular to the study abroad students because who can say no to a cappuccino with a chocolate powder heart on it?


Bar Amore is owned by the most amazing Italian family who instantly made me feel welcomed, like a family member with their warm smiles, and welcoming gestures. Always ready for a conversation and ready with my favorite foods along with my coffee order when I come in frustrated after class or early in the morning to get my caffeine fix for the day. I cannot express my love for them all, they were such an important and heart warming part of my study abroad experience and I am so grateful for all of their smiles, wise italian words, and for always giving me an extra heart in my coffee on the days when I was sad or having a hard time. This family really showed me how important it is to interact with people who are not a part of the program, because they truly made everything special and showed me so many things about Italy and being Italian I never would have known without them.IMG_1080

Saying goodbye to them was one of the hardest things I did, Elena and I both started crying and it was so sad to say goodbye. Fabio was so funny because he kept saying, Why cry? Why say goodbye? You will be back soon, it will be like you never left. But it made us cry more because we will both miss our daily cappuccinos and Ciambelle so much in the United States. 10177391_10203017216902774_5471348076645998325_n

after our tearful goodbye I continued on past my other usual places like the Tabacchi store with the woman who always sits out in front with her dog for a smoke. She always waved and smiled, yelling out a hello when I waved in the morning.


The tabacchi store is the last stop before the Piazza where my school is with the tower clock tower above the State Archives and Library of Rome. IMG_1091 IMG_1092

The study center itself is housed in this building below and is simply a floor in an apartment building dedicated to a university of sorts. IMG_1090 IMG_1094 IMG_1102

I said goodbye to the lovely ladies at the front desk who are always there to help and make me laugh whenever I need to smile. The two Chiaras and Elizabetta, the figure heads of the Accent center who I will miss dearly!


Also Bruno was a particularly hard goodbye. Bruno stands in front of the University everyday and says goodbye and hello every time I go in and out of the center, always smiling and waving. The one Ciao Bella I deeply loved hearing when I walked into the building every morning. His kind smile and happy eyes.


After going through my typical morning to say goodbye to everything I continued on to everything I see in the area around the study center.


This is the beginning of the street I take almost everyday after school to either go to my second favorite coffee shop, Piazza Navona, or anywhere else I feel like going. It is probably my favorite little street to wander down.


It is full of little vintage shops packed to the brim with old clothing and leather bags.IMG_1117IMG_1119

The street ends at Pasquino, the famous talking statue of Rome that back in the early 1500’s people would anonymously post poetry that critiqued everything from the Pope, economic, political, and social problems to denouncing a fellow neighbor. A long standing monument to uncensored poetry and the dissenting voice of the people trying to be heard, it still has poetry attached to it today much in the same way it once did over 500 years ago. Even though he isn’t very pretty to look at, essentially unrecognizably as a statue, I still love checking every day to see if Pasquino has anything to say.

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Then on to Piazza Navona and the three fountains that span the huge Piazza. IMG_1134 IMG_1137

Back around the corner is my favorite ivy covered building, right near my second favorite coffee shop that I can actually sit in and work at like a cafe in the United States. IMG_1141

I would always sit right at the very front table and watch everyone coming and going to Piazza Navona.


Then one of my other favorite little streets, Via Coronari, a cute little street lined with artisan shops and good food. It is a beautiful place to wander.IMG_1154

Behind the study center are more streets to wander down with buildings covered in fragrant honey suckles.


Also my favorite little tiny car that is always covered in hats and baskets. Please note the size of the car compared to the bike next to it. Yes it is that small. And yes it does drive around like that, I have witnessed it myself. Italy is full of these tiny cars, a majority of which I am taller than which is saying something because I am pretty dang short. IMG_1163 IMG_1165

The alley ways leading up to Campo Di Fiori are a beautiful mix of dark alley ways with artisan shops and graffiti nooks with fruit vendors. It is always nice to walk down it on any given day. IMG_1182

Campo di Fiori flower stands.

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And lastly one of my other favorite locations I frequent often, the Jewish ghetto which is known for its fried artichokes. I always go for the Israeli fast food and the delicious Schwarma in Lafa. IMG_1207

My last average day, left to wander the streets of Rome that I will not see again for quite some time. Hopefully sooner rather than later I will return.



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