On March 4th, I awoke at 3:30 am, gave tearful hugs to my roommates, and took an early-morning taxi from my apartment in Trastevere to Rome's Fiumicino airport. From there, I had a brief flight to London's Heathrow airport, where I purchased a cup of soup and what might have been the worst cappuccino I've… Continue reading leaving rome / rome pt. 4
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.
The Via della Madonna dell’Orto (via is the Italian word for street) is paved with sampietrini. Chiseled from basalt found in the hills outside the city, they’re small, squarish stones, graphite-colored, and they fill the roads in uneven rows. If we weren’t in Rome, they’d be called cobblestones, but instead, they are sampietrini: “little Saint Peters.” There are supposedly as many stones in the streets of the city as there are souls saved by Saint Peter.