On my first full day in Rome, my study abroad program took our group on a walking tour of the city. Because our school sits atop Colle di Gianicolo (Janiculum Hill), the first part of our walk was downhill. We experienced the dazzling panoramic view of the city from Terrazza del Gianicolo (Janiculum Terrace) which no photos can do justice to. On the terrazza sat Il Fontanone dell'Acqua Paola, an enormous stone fountain built in the 1600s and fed by the same aqueduct we'd drank from earlier that day. From there we descended further, crossing the River Tiber into the city center.
Tram 3 runs an impressive forty-six stop line, passing through my neighborhood of Trastevere. I hop on at Pascarella and ride just three stops to the Ministero dell’Istruzione. The Ministero is a grand, imposing building, all white stone and stoic columns. It’s the kind of building that can’t be ignored on one’s first, second, even third glances, and yet it eventually and inevitably fades into the scenery of all the other grand Roman sites.