In honor of it being one of the last classes of Writing Responsibly, our professor decided to do something special and have a field trip. He called in a favor with a friend and took us to Biblioteca Angelica: the oldest library in Europe!
We got a private tour of the library and even got to see some of the first editions of books that were centuries old.
The walls of the library were lined with books that had very elaborate covers. Our guide explained to us about how they were made and decorated. She showed us one particular book that was bigger that the rest, and told us that it had taken an entire sheep to make it!
My favorite thing about Biblioteca Angelica was learning that it is open for public use. I was surprised by this because of how old it is and the history it holds, my initial assumption was that it must be some sort of museum. Because if this, I think Biblioteca Angelica embodies Rome perfectly because it is living history that is still relevant and working today. I plan to come study here next semester.
After the tour, Professor Rutt took us to a cafe nearby and treated us to a wonderful caffellatte, cornetto, and marron glacé. We were not expecting this and were very grateful! We all had a lovely conversation and got to learn a lot we did not know about Professor Rutt. All in all, it was a fantastic morning and one of my favorite classes.
After visiting the mozzarella farm, we got on the buses again and went to a winery do some wine tasting. The man that gave us the tour of the winery is called Marco and his father is the owner. What I enjoyed most about the tour was the joy and passion with which he spoke about his job. He made it very clear to us that they did not care about quantity, but rather about quality.
The vineyards were absolutely gorgeous and with the mountains as a backdrop the scenery could not have been more striking. Marco showed us around and then brought us into the room in which they aged the wine in huge oak barrels.
To finish our visit, we were treated to a tasting of their white and red wines as well as some of their own production of extra virgin olive oil. It was an unreal day and everyone was very glad to have been a part of that incredible experience.
On the second day of Orientation we made our way to a rather peculiar mozzarella farm. This was a buffalo farm where some of the famously delicious mozzarella di buffala is produced. However, not all mozzarella di buffala is produced equally.
At this particular farm, their mission is to keep their buffalos as happy as possible to ensure mozzarella of the highest quality. To achieve this, the buffalos listen to classical music, have machines that give them full body massages whenever they desire, and the way milking works is that they only go whenever they want to. It is all a very organic process, and in my opinion the buffalos seemed very happy.
After seeing the buffalos we were allowed to see the workers transform the milk into cheese. It was very interesting seeing how the traditional mozzarella braid was made and impressive how the workers put their hands in boiling water in order to be able to mix the cheese. At the end of the visit we got to taste the mozzarella and it was absolutely delicious!!
One of the things that you have to do during your time in Rome is going to see a game at the Stadio Olimpico. It is only a short bus ride away from campus and some of the biggest names in soccer go to compete there.
Regardless of whether or not you are a soccer fan, this is an experience you cannot miss. The stadium is home to AC Roma and to all of its passionate fans, which are half of the reason of why you should go.
I went to the Roma vs Milan game and things got pretty intense. Fans from both sides really get into the game and it is a true spectacle to see them yell things at each other as well as their reactions when a goal is scored.
Just to give an idea as to how heated things can get, there is a plastic barrier that separated the fans from both teams, so as long as you are on the right side, you are good.
As the beginning of the second semester grows near, all the Rome Starts slowly started arriving back on campus. All of us are really excited to see what this new semester will bring because even though we already know most of the city and how things work at the JFRC, we are aware that it will be completely different.
The spring semester students arrived shortly after we did and it was great to see the Rome Starts and full years take the initiative and take the new students on a tour of our neighborhood, Balduina. We showed them important local landmarks such as the TIM store, Simply market, and the Chinese restaurant.
During orientation week the SLAs put together a number of very informative sessions. During these sessions, the new semester students were given all the information they would need to start getting used to living in Rome as well as getting to know the faculty and some of us.
On the second and final day of our weekend trip to Malta, my friends and I woke up early to the happy surprise that the sun was out. Determined to make the most of this welcome change, we packed our bags quickly and took the ferry to Malta.
When we got to Malta we headed straight for the beach and were greeted by the beautiful Mediterranean ocean. The water was pretty calm and with the sun shining bright, it was also pretty warm.
This particular beach was situated near Ghadira and formed part of a bay. This meant that the waves were not too big and the scenery was beautiful. On one side you could see the typical Maltese limestone houses and on the other green mountains. We couldn’t stay for very long because we had a plane to catch, but those two hours were quite perfect.
Our first day in Gozo had not been going exactly how we had pictured it. The weather was very cold and it would not stop raining. As a response to these conditions, we decided that the best way to make the most of our time in Gozo would be to get on a hop on hop off bus tour to get to know the city.
However, it was raining so hard that we didn’t get off at any of the stops. After 3 hours on the bus, we were approaching the final stop and were all feeling a little bit down because of our bad luck. Upon arriving at the last stop we got down and that was the best decision we made on that whole day. It had stopped raining and we had arrived at the famous Azure Window.
In short, it was absolutely breathtaking. Tide pools had formed because of the rain and they were cascading into the ocean. The sun was just starting to set over the cliffs and the ocean had begun to take a purple hue. Even though it hadn’t been what we had planned, it turned out to be one of the most spectacular things I have ever witnessed.