Arezzo: Day 13

Arezzo: Day 13

My second full day in Rome started a little bit later than our group had started in the past due to a very important event that I could have gone to, but decided to sleep in instead. The night before, some people had realized that the Pope has a mass service on each Wednesday, but in order to get a decent seat, one must get to the Vatican at about 6 am. I had committed to going, along with a few others. However, when my alarm went off at 5 am, I really did not feel like going. So instead, the rest of our PCS group went to the Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II, a large palace-like structure of which we got to go to the top. At the top of this grand monument, we were given a 360-degree view of Rome and the mountains that are in the horizon. On one side of the roof, we could see famous Roman sites, such as the Colosseum or the Forum, and on the other side, we could see St. Peter’s Basilica and much of commercialized Rome. At that point, I was more than okay with not getting up early enough to see the Pope. After climbing down what seemed like an endless amount of steps from the top of the monument, we walked to a small plaza in which we ate lunch. Per usual, I had a margherita pizza. There was also a small market with street vendors and such inside it, so we walked around until our group had to meet. There, I got the best fruit smoothie, made from fresh fruit cut right in front of me.

Following lunch, we walked to where Julius Caesar was believed to be killed and the Jewish Ghetto. Then, we made our way to the Pantheon, which was one of my favorite parts of the day. The building itself looked so large yet stoic. Yet again, pictures cannot do this structure justice. Walking inside, I did not happen to know that there was a dome on the Pantheon. Overall, the inside of the Pantheon was very open, with cool breezes coming in from the outside. Additionally, there was an opening at the top of the dome that let all sorts of weather in, so Kirk pointed out to us that there is a drain directly below the dome to take care of any rain, hail, or snow out.

Kirk then led us to the Colosseum, where I feel like the pictures do the structure justice. Honestly, it was just as how I imagined it would be. Nevertheless, it was still one of my favorite places in Rome. While we were standing outside the Colosseum waiting for entry, I noticed how the sunlight shone through the window-type structures on the Colosseum, and that was probably the most memorable moment for me at the Colosseum.

After walking around where gladiators fought to the death two thousand years ago, we walked to the Roman Forum, which was very scenic. It felt like a regular park, but jam-packed with history. We saw an ancient temple, where on the steps livestock would be offered as sacrifices to the Roman gods. Turning to the sides, we saw the Palatine and Aventine hills. I was very impressed by the way these sights had been so well preserved over the thousands of years since their use.

We concluded our last night as part of the PCS in Arezzo Study Abroad at a restaurant called Cotto. It was there that I had come to the realization that most of these people I had spent the past two (and for some, three and a half) weeks with were going home the next day. I, on the other hand, was looking forward to returning to a different type of home, back in Arezzo to help run a kids’ English Immersion day camp at the OU in Arezzo campus. This night was very sentimental as we all shared our favorite memories from the trip, enjoying fellowship and authentic Italian food.