Nicholas was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Spring 2015 term. Below he talked about his top 10 favorite spots in Rome.
Passeggiata del Gianicolo: Right before you reach the Vatican from Trastevere, you walk along this amazing park filled with old monuments, and even a lighthouse. The best part though is the view. From multiple vantage points and ledges you can look over into the center of Rome. It’s a spectacular view and great place to go and get away from the chaos of center city.
Tiber River: Right when the sun is setting, this is probably my favorite spot to be in Rome. Walking down the river is extremely calming and a good way to get away from the hectic Rome lifestyle. It seems to go on for miles. When it gets warmer running along the river is going to be nice with the cool breeze and no one in the way like when I run in the street. During the warmer months, there’s also a bunch of shops and restaurants that are set up along here so I’m hoping that I end up in Rome long enough to visit them!
Castel Sant’Angelo: One of the first major monuments I’ve visited in Rome so far is Castel Sant’Angelo. It was originally a mausoleum for the Roman Emperor Hadria, dating back to 139 AD. Preserved beautifully, the castle has some amazing architecture on the inside, and breathtaking views all along the outer walkways.
Spanish Embassy: If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m a sucker for viewpoints and the Spanish embassy on top of the hill behind my apartment is no exception. Behind a stone fence sits a big fountain with dark blue water which adds a nice aspect to the surroundings, but facing the other way toward center city is breathtaking. You can see from one side to the other of Rome and there are a few benches close by that make it easy to hang out and admire the view.
Ristorante Sottosopra: Walking around with my roommates on the other side of the Tiber River one night we decided to stop into a random restaurant and try a place that looked very Italian. The second we walked through the doors we could feel outcasted by just how we were dressed. No one in the restaurant spoke a word of english, but were very warm in seating us and taking our order. We all ordered different pasta dishes which was by far some of the best pasta I’ve had in Rome, for only 8 euro!
Piazza Navona: If you walk for about 10 minutes through the touristy part of Rome you’ll eventually hit Piazza Navona. Here is an extended piazza with two fountains in the middle and a very old church, along with restaurants and gelato places. Although a little touristy, its very historic and rich in architecture. It’s a very secluded part of the city which makes it a nice escape from most of the areas around.
Vatican: Even though it might be on everyone else’s list, the Vatican is just something that you have to love. From the outside the structure is massive, seems to go on for miles. When I visited one night, they still had the Christmas nativity scene up along with a tree that looked over 150 feet! The inside is just as beautiful as the outside but it’s one of those things you have to see to get the real experience.
Piazza Trilussa: Every Monday and Wednesday I have a break between classes at 2:45, and this is when I usually go and sit at the steps of Piazza Trilussa and relax. It’s a nice wide-open space in between both of JCU’s campuses with pizza and coffee cafes surrounding. It’s usually pretty empty during this time because of siesta so with no one around I can sprawl out and take a break from my 5 classes a day.
Giardino degli Aranci: If you can bear walking uphill for a short amount of time, the Orange Garden (as it translates to) is another breathtaking vantage point on my list. From here you can see Rome from the opposite side of the river and out into the tree line far away. Right beside the lookout is the famous keyhole that has was created with a direct line of sight to the Vatican.
Pizza Pazza: Whenever I’m in a rush between classes for food I stop by this little home run pizza place. The first few times I tried ordering in Italian the lady behind the counter laughed at me and joked around in the English she knew. After returning multiple times, she always greets me with a smile on her face and sometimes gives me a discount! Sometimes I even see her from the street and she’ll wave to me from inside the pizza store.