“Rome is the city of echoes, the city of illusions, and the city of yearning.”
-Giotto di Bondone, Renaissance painter
Rome is the birthplace of an empire. Lasting for over 500 years, the Roman Empire left a vast mark on European history and culture, much of which impacted the rest of Western civilization to come. Rome is known as a capital of the arts and as a central source of education and learning throughout history. In addition, the architecture of the buildings that have lasted for centuries is absolutely astonishing. Seeing structures and works of art like the Roman Colosseum, the Pantheon, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and more strikes awe and humility into the hearts of many. Furthermore, because Rome has existed for so long, the city has experienced war and destruction; not only can one witness the beauty of the city, but one can actually see some damage and decay that represents the long, complex, and fascinating history of Rome. Rome is often considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world, both because of the incredible nature sights and the presence of pure artistic genius in the architecture and works of art that are everywhere in the city. Rome, also called “the eternal city,” is to this day a political, religious, and cultural powerhouse.
CR alum Claire Carter gave me plenty of advice to take with me to Rome. Claire gave me suggestions like exploring the many food options that Rome and Italy in general has to offer. She especially recommended eating plenty of gelato and true Italian pizza, which I will definitely take into consideration. Although discussing food options in Italy was helpful, her main piece of advice is to appreciate the history. It is fascinating to think that the United States was founded in 1776, whereas Rome was founded in 753 B.C. Rome existed for many centuries before the United States was even discovered by the Western world! Rome has so much more documented history than the United States, and discovering the history and culture that Rome has to offer will be an experience like no other.
I am thrilled to go to Rome stems from my religious beliefs. I am Catholic, and Rome is the centerpiece of the Catholic faith. Home to the Vatican, hundreds of old churches, and the Pope, so much of the history of Catholicism resides in Rome. It has been on my bucket list for most of my life to travel to Rome and to celebrate my faith with pilgrims of my faith from around the world. I believe that traveling to Rome and experiencing the Vatican for the first time is going to be an incredibly humbling, spiritual experience. I also love culture and history; one of my favorite subjects in school has always been history, and as a political science major and music minor, I have so much to learn from the history of Rome’s government and political conflicts over the years. I can also learn from the creativity of the Roman fine arts and tie it in well with my interest and passion in music.
My personal goal in Rome is to learn as much as I possibly can about the culture and history. I aim to interact with and learn from every place I visit and every person I talk to. I plan to eat incredible food, and I hope to become inspired to grow even more in my faith journey from experiencing the Vatican City. I am so excited to experience Rome for the first time with this wonderful group!