La Città Eterna, the Eternal City, Rome

pantby Gloria Ibanez, Marist Italy FFE 2013-14

My roommates and I tried to watch The Lizzie McGuire Movie the night before we left, but after packing we were too tired to stay up, especially knowing we had to get up early in the morning. I was excited to go to Rome because we had spent a lot of time in my Art History class discussing the importance of the architecture, the sculptures, and artists all of which contribute to the historical beauty of Rome. My last memory of Rome is from eight years ago, when I came for the summer with my family. I remember thinking that I did not like Rome; it was too big, too hot, and incredibly dirty. I did not have the appreciation for its history as I do now. Especially after staying in the same hotel I stayed in eight years ago. Yes, the same hotel, Hotel Palladium. When I walked in, it was like a punch to my stomach, all the air was taken out of me, and I was reeling from all the memories that were flooding in. What were the chances? I had to email my mom to confirm the name of the hotel, but I didn’t need her to reply because I already knew the answer.

It was a bizarre feeling but it also brought back all the good memories of Rome that I forgot I had. Walking around the city I was able to relearn all that my mother had tried to teach me before. I won’t bore you with all the dates and tedious facts, but there are a few things worth noting. One of the buildings that we visited as a class was the Pantheon. In my Art History class we learned that Pantheon means a temple dedicated to all gods. The dome at the top of the building has a round open circle at the top, called the oculus, and is the only source of light for the Pantheon. In 609 A.D. it was converted into a church. The oculus is still there and is left open. Professor Lewis and I talked about how it would be cool if we were in the Pantheon when it rained. We would not have gotten wet, because they rope off the area underneath the oculus. Unfortunately the weather was not cooperating with us, so we moved on to gelato. The visit to the Pantheon made me feel closer to my mom, because like her I was telling my friends all the details about the church, that my mother had probably told me years ago.

On Sunday we visited the Forum, a huge area filled with pieces of stone and columns. Small children might even think it was a playground, but in fact it is the ruins of ancient Rome. There, we were able to see a somewhat disappointing rock marking the grave of Emperor Julius Caesar. Even though the place was just piles of rocks, I had fun using my imagination to recreate what it would have looked like. When we left for Florence I felt happy that I got to re-experience Rome with my friends. Even though it made me miss my family, I realized that my memories of Rome didn’t mean I could not make new memories. I think that is one of the most important things Rome can teach a person, respect for history matters, but new history can be made.

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