Written by Jillian Kazlow, (University of Wisconsin-Madison) Student Correspondent CET Florence, Spring 2019
It’s nearly impossible to stray from clichés when wandering the beautiful and historic city of Rome. It’s just as hard to resist some of the city’s delicious delicacies. The guilt of indulging savory or sweet treats simply fades away when you remind yourself that you are simply conducting field research. Any scholar would approve of your professional dedication towards exploring the city and attaining knowledge via fully immersing yourself in an unforgettable experience, right? As they say, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
On Valentine’s day weekend, CET planned a trip for any student within the program to participate in. They provided hotel accommodations, bus transportation, and even a few multiple-course meals as well as walking tours to different historic sites of the city. I signed up with my roommates and a few of my friends as the idea of a weekend getaway with a pre-planned itinerary sounded ideal. I already knew that the staff members accompanying us on our trip were not only friendly, fluent in Italian, and knowledgeable of the Roman landscape, but they were also very fun to talk to. If there is any advice I was given by a CET staff member that greatly influenced my trip it was to try cacio e pepe, a native Roman pasta dish. Boy, I was not disappointed. Cacio e pepe is made with spaghetti noodles and it is simply cooked with pecorino cheese and pepper. I cleared my plate in just a matter of minutes… I still dream about it from time to time…
Aside from the delicious meals and good company, my favorite part of my trip to Rome was visiting the Vatican. I was completely blown away by all the amazing art that stood before me. My tour guide told us that if you spent approximately one whole minute looking at every piece in the Vatican, it would take you twelve years to see everything. We only had a few hours and I am very grateful, nay, honored to have even stepped foot into such a magical display of history and artistic brilliance. I’m not an art major, but I loved listening to our tour guide talk us through the stories behind many of the ceiling paintings and sculptures we saw. The first thing I thought when I finished the tour was, “Yep! I am definitely coming back here someday. I need to see all of it!” The second thing I thought was, “Okay, I need to take a nap.”
I had such an incredible time as I was completely mesmerized by just about everything I laid my eyes on.
Unfortunately, the few hours we were given to stroll through the Vatican was a bit more than my sore legs could handle as I had already walked to and from our hotel in a new pair of booties (short, heeled boots). I needed some Icy Hot after such a long morning. Apparently, Romans don’t wear extremely uncomfortable heels when they know they will be spending hours on their feet. Maybe next time, I should listen to our CET staff members advice on what to wear and not just their restaurant recommendations!