The door to Santa Maria in Cappella (the church right next to where we are staying in Rome) was slightly ajar. Emily went up to it, to peer inside. One of the doormen, Paolo saw us and told us to go inside. He soon joined us with two bags of bones. He put the bags down and in broken english said, "You like... Bones?" At first it seemed like something out of a horror movie. But then Paolo began showing us all around the church. He pulled us over to the altar showing us the marble piece inscribed with latin, marking the date the church was built (1090). He took us to the back to show us where the priest used to stay. He showed us the narrow, spiral stair that led to the gallery space of the church (Which we were allowed to climb). There was also a hole in the floor covered by wood. He pushed aside the pieces of wood to reveal Ancient Roman housing, 7 meters below the church. However, the most exciting part were the roman pieces of pottery. He had 40 yellow trays of broken bits of pottery, from Ancient Roman times up to Medieval.
Finally with our adventure coming to a close, he told he had one more place to take us. He lead us into a building in our courtyard and took us up onto the roof terrace! We could see our whole courtyard, part of the church roof, the tiber and more. I have been fortunate enough to be on many roofs, hills, and Duomos while studying abroad. However, this might be one of my favorite spots. So close to home and the end of one of my best adventures in Rome so far.
After living in Rome for the past few months, I'd like to think I have seen most of it. However, after returning to Rome for the last half of spring break I realized I have hardly seen Rome. I also learned that the best way to discover a new part of Rome, is to go back to what you know. There is bound to be something you missed. With that being said, I took Joe to all my favorite parts of the city, wanting to make sure he saw the best parts of Rome. But on the way we discovered so many places even I hadn't seen yet.
What I hadn't seen yet
At the end of day one, we tried to get on top of the wedding cake, but it was already closed. Instead we climbed the Campidoglio stairs a bunch of times, along with the stairs of the church right next to it. From there we saw a separate part of the Capitoline Hill that I had never been to. From here we could look out over the whole city and watch the sunset, something I had yet to do while in Rome.
Another place I am ashamed to admit I had never been to is the top of The Palentine Hill. We had gone to the Forum with our history class, and after that I just assumed I had seen all I needed to see at the Forum. After adventuring through the forum we started our climb of the Palentine hill. We at lunch at the Stadium on top of the hill and looked out over the city, yet again. Trying to identify the places we had and hadn't seen. We saw the Colosseo in the distance, our next destination and tried, with some difficulty, to find our way down the Palentine Hill.
When it is time to leave
I noticed I haven't full days like these in Rome yet. And more importantly I noticed I need days like this. To just wake up and pack a lunch, with the intention of seeing the city, is something I haven't done very often while staying in Rome. We all sort of have this mentality that we still have a month left to see what we haven't seen yet, so there is no rush. But I think that when it is time to leave, some of the best days in my memory are going to be the ones that were full of adventures through the city, exploring all it has to offer.
We picked a random place on the map and "google imaged" it the day before. Sperlonga seemed the most gorgeous out of all the places, but let's be honest everything looks beautiful.. especially through google images. We were in the spring break mind-set looking for a beach, although it was not quite warm enough to lay out in the sun. We looked up the train times and bought tickets using those machines in termini station. Some guys were trying to pickpocket us or something. They were pretending to help us use the machines and waited for us to pull out our wallets. But we knew they were up to no good. They eventually were chased off by the police.
We got up early and hopped on a train at termini station, not knowing exactly where we were going to end up or how to get to Sperlonga from the nearest station. We missed the first bus because we couldn't figure out where to buy tickets. We walked around the deserted countryside waiting an hour for the next bus to come. At first the trip wasn't looking like it would be very successful. However, on the walk we found an interior design store, which might have appeared out of nowhere. It was like the deserted town knew I was coming and needed something to keep my mind off waiting for the bus. It was the most amazing store, better than any Homegoods.
Finally the bus arrived to take us to Sperlonga. The bus stopped right at the beach. It was the most gorgeous place I have ever seen. In the distance we saw all these houses on a hill top. It looked like all those beautiful pictures you see of Greece. We adventured up the hill, first over the rocks that spilled into the water. Finally we made our way up to the houses all clustered at the top of the hill. Everything was beautiful and little and quaint. We made our way through the little allies that were covered in most part by other houses feeding into another. We just spent the day exploring the little town, having no real purpose there. It was one of the best days this semester. It was a beautiful, stress-free day, with no agenda.