Experiencing Rome:

Food, Travel & Culture

Now for some miscellaneous notes about Rome (travel, food, culture)

in case reading the blog and pictures inspires you to plan a trip to Italy!

· Travels

Language/Getting Around Rome:

It is great to have a general sense of the language or understand basic words (eat/mangia, water/aqua, café/coffee) so you use those when at stores, restaurants. For the past 4 months, I have been using Rosetta Stone for Italian which I highly recommend. Since I have a nut allergy, this is the phrase I practiced A LOT before this trip. Most of the restaurants have Italian and English on the menu and even graphics for those with food allergies (milk, gluten, nuts). English is understood the most in the city so it was an easy adjustment. However, I found it convenient to write the street names and give it to the taxi driver because pronouncing the “r” does not roll off my tongue that easy!

Observing Italian Culture

Most travel books explain the different prices for those who sit in comparison to those who stand for breakfast and lunch. I observed this before an afternoon meeting at CIEE, when my cousin and I stopped for lunch. We watched as businessmen and regular folks walked to the counter, ordered a sandwich or coffee and ate their food. Inside I chuckled because I could not imagine a similar scenario at a U.S. Subway or Jimmy Johns. During our visit to Isat, Guiliana treated us to a café since the institute has their own coffee bar. The institute has over 2,500 employees and in contrast to America, Italians drink their coffee fast, while we may linger and talk over coffee.

On the train ride to Amalfi Coast, we watched strangers engage in conversation with each other during the two-hour ride and share kisses upon departure, which is not unusual for Europeans. You rarely see this in American cities that have commuter/metro train stations. My cousin is from the MD/DC area and travels to Germany (serving our country in the military) so we discussed this in depth specifically about connections/networks (social capital), racial relations and interpersonal relationships.

Where to Stay/Eat

If you are planning a visit, I suggest staying close to Rome’s city center. We stayed at a hotel that was close to Vatican City and approximately a 10-minute cab drive to the Colosseum and Trastevere area (restaurants with traditional Italian food, great night life). A pair of comfortable shoes is a must…we logged at least four miles our first evening in the city walking from our hotel, crossing bridges, taking pictures, etc. Please contact me for specific details on restaurants, shopping and hotels.

Ancient Rome

This part of Rome relates to the founding of the city, around 8th century B.C. At one point, it was one of the largest empires in the ancient world with an estimated 80 million inhabitants. A tour of this area during a visit to Rome is an opportunity to see what the history books have told us in writing. We toured the Colosseum, Sistine Chapel and Vatican City.