Hello everyone! We’re onto my last Rome post – this has to be one of my favorite weeks in the program, just because I feel that internally, I truly savored every last bit of Italy I could. I spent a lot of this last week finding the balance to enjoy the last week and working through my Rome bucket list, but also finding time to study for my two classes’ final exams. Julia and I got really nostalgic and decided to watch the Lizzie McGuire movie late one night, and it was so fun seeing all the places we had seen in the past few weeks on screen! While watching the movie, we were inspired to go to the Tivoli gardens that Paolo takes Lizzie to. We began planning that night in order to go after our final exams ended.
The next day, our program had our last company visit to Alfa Romeo, a car company. We had to wear these bulky little rubber shoe covers in order to protect our feet in the factory and bright neon vests. I felt pretty clunky, but it was definitely worth it; it was incredibly fascinating to see the automated machines doing most of the car manufacturing. It was freaky how in-sync the machines were! They were so efficient and high-tech. They showed us newly-made cars and all the guys (and some girls) on the program hardcore fangirled, it was so funny. Not going to lie, I was never a car kind of gal but after that, I definitely saw the appeal! After the company visit, we got lunch at a very fancy outdoor restaurant that had an amazing view. One thing I’ll definitely miss? The program paying for the expensive lunches 😉
I woke up really early the next day to go to the Trevi fountain with Julia. It was our second to last day and we needed to get good photos and throw our coin when there was less people. It was so peaceful and beautiful walking around Rome at 7:30 in the morning! When we got to the Trevi, there were already people there but very few. We could clearly see the turquoise-mint water and the rising sun’s rays shining on the sculpted angles of the statues – simply glorious. I threw in a euro-penny (what’s the name??) in and made my wish: #thisiswhatdreamsaremadeof.
Since class wasn’t until 8:30am, we stopped by Caffe Tazza D’Oro, which came highly recommended by our professors. Julia and I both ordered croissants and cappuccinos, both of which were delicious; we highly recommend it as well! After class that day, we pretty much just studied in our apartment all day, and then I went to go eat at the Osteria near our school with my roommate, Cannon. While at dinner, we met a ton of people from New Zealand! I always forget how fun it is to meet people from all over the world.
We went to Giolitti after, the most popular gelato place in Rome. I hadn’t gone until then, and I definitely had high expectations. However, I was a little disappointed! My favorite gelato place is still Frigidarium for sure. We saw our professor at the gelato place, alongside her husband.
Then it was our last day of classes! I took my final in my Management class (which turned out to be fine), and then my Operations Management class (which literally roasted me, I still have no idea how well I did. Ignorance is bliss, am I right?). Immediately after class, Julia and I hopped on a train from the Roma Termini station to the Roma Tiburtini. There, we had another hour before we had to catch the next train to Tivoli. We grabbed a mini-lunch and shopped around the area. Come time to leave though, we couldn’t find where we were supposed to get on the train; turns out, we were supposed to be getting on a bus, which aren’t at the usual train platforms. We ran all over trying to look for it, and failed to find our bus in time. We hurriedly went back to the train station and bought the next train ticket, this time assuring that it was at a platform we knew we could identify. We had a minute to spare and sprinted to the train platform and got on right on time. Julia and I definitely experienced déjà vu: this is what, our 5th time sprinting to catch a bus/train this summer?
When we arrived to Tivoli an hour later, it was right around siesta, so the town was actually quite deserted. We had to ask around to see how to get exactly to the Tivoli Gardens, which is really called Villa D’Este since it’s an estate. We finally found it and had to pay to enter (I think it was around 8 euros for non-EU students!). We didn’t have time to tour around the mansion because we mostly wanted to see the gardens and we only had 45 minutes. We fast-walked through the mansion and entered the garden, and were met by the beautiful fountains, sculptures, and view! We were able to see a lot of the garden in just 45 minutes, including the wall where Paolo takes Lizzie. We rushed home and sprinted yet again to meet everyone for dinner, only to find out that we got there early and everyone else was late. I’m pretty sure I was drenched in sweat from head-to-toe and looked amazingly pleasant for dinner.
We went to the same restaurant as our first group dinner to come back full circle! I’ll never forget the amazing mussels from that restaurant – yum. It was so hard saying goodbye to everyone afterward.
A few friends and I walked to the Trevi fountain yet again to see it one last time at night. It was super crowded but some of them threw more coins in since they wouldn’t need euros once they were back in the states. I’m pretty sure you’re only supposed to make one wish, but my peers were going ham and threw multiple coins in, it was adorable! We made one last pit stop at Frigidarium, because duh, that gelato place had to have the last word.
The next morning, we checked out of our apartment and headed to the airport! I took a taxi with three friends since we were travelling the next leg of the trip together.
As a farewell, I know Rome is going to hold a very special place in my heart. It’s so fruitful with culture and things to do, and the people I spent my time there with have taught me so much about myself. Italy in general is unforgettable. I’ll be coming back to you someday- ciao, Roma!