The Things I Will Miss The Most
Andrew, Rome, Spring 2015
June 3, 2015

It’s hard to believe this is my last week in Rome. Living in the Eternal City and traveling around Europe has been an incredible experience, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Here are the 15 best things about Rome (and the things I will miss the most).

In no particular order:

Italian Coffee: Nothing is better than walking into a bar and ordering a caffé or a cappuccino. Just make sure not to order a cappuccino after 12:00 pm, as Italians view it as a breakfast only drink.

Porchetta Sandwiches: Porchetta sandwiches are the best lunch ever. The savory pork strips combined with soft bread makes for a great sandwich. Some places will slice it right in front of you, and some of the more popular places will make a bunch of sandwiches ahead of time in preparation for the lunch rush. You just walk up to the counter, grab one, and pay. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Piazza di San Pietro: Saint Peter’s Piazza is my favorite place in Rome. The Bernini designed oval space is gorgeous and incredibly historic. I look looking up at the dome and marveling at the importance of the sight. Make sure to also check it out at night.

Andrew - Spring 15 - Rome

The Pantheon: This perfect ancient Roman dome was turned into a Christian church and also houses the tomb of Vittorio Emanuel II and Raphael. On a sunny day, sunlight will pour in from the open hole at the top, making for a cool effect on the floor.

Andrew - Spring 15 - Rome

Campo de’ Fiori: The main outdoor market of Rome, Campo de’ Fiori is the best place to buy fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, and herbs/spices in the city. They also have stands selling Balsamic vinegar and the best olive oil. I went there a few times a week to get walnuts.

Andrew - Spring 15 - Rome

The Colosseum: How can you not love the most iconic building in Rome? In the summer months, you can even do a night tour!

Andrew - Spring 15 - Rome

Art: Rome is filled with examples of ancient, medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque art. Walk into any church and there’s a good chance you will run into a Michelangelo, Raphael, Bernini, or Caravaggio.

Andrew - Spring 15 - Rome

Gelato: The best gelato comes from artisan shops. You can tell it’s the real deal by looking to see if the staff keeps it covered with a lid when they aren’t going in for a scoop.

Trains and planes: Thanks to the Termini and Tiburtina train station and two different airports, all of Europe is at your disposal. Ryanair, Easyjet, and Vueling are all low cost airlines that have student-affordable tickets to a multitude of destination. For example, I was able to travel to Athens, Greece for less than $50 roundtrip! For inter-Italy trips, trains are definitely the way to go, and

Trastevere: Home to John Cabot University and so many good restaurants, Trastevere is one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in Rome. My street, Vicolo de Cinque, is one of the busiest and most popular hangouts in Trastevere.

Il Duca: On my first night in Rome, my roommate and I decided to try out the restaurant directly below our apartment. Four months later, Il Duca is still my favorite restaurant in all of Italy. Their food is authentic Roman, and the owner, Mossimo, is there all day cleaning, prepping, and serving. We say hi to him every day, and he always greets us and asks us how we are.

Andrew - Spring 15 - Rome

Apertivos: For 7-10 euro at certain restaurants, you can get a glass of wine and unlimited trips to a buffet set out with appetizers. It’s a great way to have a lite, dinner and sample a lot of traditional Italian foods.

The language: Although I had no prior Italian experience before this semester, I have really grown to love the language. Thanks to my Italian 101 course and the ability to constantly improve through daily use, I have come to know quite a bit of Italian. It’s really fun to be able to only use Italian for interaction with the waiter at a meal.

Water Fountains: Rome is known for its water and aquaducts. But one of my favorite parts of the city was all of the various water fountains spread throughout the city. The water is clean and fresh, and I am constantly filling up my water bottle whenever I can come across one.

Andrew - Spring 15 - Rome

The weather: Although it rained a lot for the first few months, Rome has great weather. The month of April has been absolutely gorgeous, with plenty of sun and heat. We even made a trip to the beach this week!

Andrew - Spring 15 - Rome

I can easily say this has been the best four months of my life. I made so many great friends from all over the country, and I already have booked plans in order to see some of them. I pushed myself to try new things and got out of my comfort zone (Riding a horse? Check. Eating pasta with cow intestines? Check.) I can’t thank SAI Programs enough for such an amazing experience. They were so helpful with the transition and offered so many great (and free!) programs, activities, and trips to make our semester even better. When considering to study abroad in Rome or even Europe, definitely think about studying abroad with SAI. Ciao and arrivederci!


Andrew is a current student at the University of Alabama studying at John Cabot University (JCU) in Rome, Italy during the Spring 2015 term.

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About SAI

SAI is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.