For an American, an extremely dense and diverse country such as Italy (in which is an even more densely layered city called Rome) can seem overwhelming to the most intrepid traveler. I remember just a few months back when a man with black hair and black glasses came to Sibley Hall and delivered an ominous warning foretelling the dangers of ‘travelers depression’, when the body and mind is cloaked in a negative aura because of a sudden immersion into a drastically different environment. It is a condition that I’m sure exists in many members of the general public. However, his dark cloud never came to me for one of many reasons: Rome feels like Home.
This city is unlike any other place in America. In the neighborhood where the Palazzo is located, there are several places where one can ‘do as the Romans do’: get exceptional food, then leave from dinner to join the vibrant nightlife. There is beauty everywhere, even in the ruins across the street where cats are invited to feed, play, and nap whenever they like. Additionally, Italians practice the art of the ‘siesta’, or a short naptime taken in the afternoon, a ritual I believe is beautiful in it of itself.
There are so many sites to see in Rome within just the first few days. Upon my arrival, I had already seen the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Victor Emmanuel Monument, and the Pantheon all in the duration of one short walk down the street. It you reach out your hand and touch any given object in the street, chances are it is filled with a rich history dating back hundreds of years.
After spending three weeks in Rome, I can tell future Cornell in Rome students to be wary of the man in black glasses who tells you to fear this city. Not only is Rome a palimpsest of history and architecture, it is a layering of human identity and experiences. Go out and add your own story.