By Annum Soomro, Foster Undergraduate who participated in an exchange with Copenhagen Business School (CBS).
Ciao Roma! Just like any other girl, I only knew Rome through the eyes of Lizzie McGuire on Disney Channel and visiting the city was always only a dream. Now that I was studying abroad in Europe and had other countries at the reach of an arm span, it was that much easier to visit the City of Love.
Never have I ever been as awestruck by a city like I was with Rome. Around every corner, a serene fountain or a beautiful church or ancient ruins from the Roman Empire awaits you. With the help of Rick Steve’s audio guide, we were able to lead ourselves through the major sites of the historical city including the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain. One of my favorites was the Borghese Gallery, which showcased some of the most renowned Bernini sculptures collected by a major art buff by the name of Scipione Borghese. The next day, we visited the Capitoline Museums near closing time and overheard two opera singers practicing as their voices filled the large museum halls. Amongst all the walking, an insane amount of paninis, street-style pizzas, freshly made pasta, authentic gelato and espresso shots were devoured.
When I arrived at Vatican City the following day, I felt like I had stepped into another world. We climbed to the top of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica and looked out upon the city of Rome. After pushing past a few hundred people, we finally made it to the Sistene Chapel where you will find every inch of the ceiling covered in Michelangelo’s famous biblical art leading to the iconic image of the Hand of God giving life to Adam. By the time you have left the room, you will have properly sprained your neck from looking up at the ceiling for too long but it is all worth stepping into the Pope’s personal chapel for a brief moment. It was fascinating to learn that the city had its own post office, telephone system, the pope served as both a religious and political leader. For being the smallest country in the world with a population of less than 1000 people, it sure knew how to leave an impression!
We spent our last day at the Colosseum and Roman Forum exploring ancient ruins and amphitheaters that once seated 50,000 spectators. Visiting these places showed me just how well history had been preserved in this city, so that even a tourist like myself could gain an understanding on how Romans lead their lives centuries ago. During this trip was when I first realized how much I was learning about history, about important figures and about architecture. Taking the history-lesson outside the classroom is definitely a must!