Last semester, I traded Gambier to study abroad in Rome through the Kenyon-Rome program, and woke up to this view every single day!
On a typical day, I would go to my Intro Italian and narrative photography classes in the morning. This left the rest of the afternoon open for exploring. So, after class I would walk the bridge towards the Castel Sant'Angelo. If I turned left, I’d head in the direction of the Vatican and my apartment, but if I turned right I’d end up…here! Biblio Bar was my absolute favorite outdoor library/bar. A bar in Italy serves coffee, alcoholic drinks and usually small sandwiches or treats.
No matter where I went there was FOOD. Lots and lots of Italian food — and of course, wine. This tablescape depicts a typical aperitivo in Rome. Aperitivo is similar to an American happy hour, but much, much more.
Rome also brought out my inner chef. I wouldn’t consider myself much of a cook, but, in Italy, as corny as it sounds, I truly learned to slow down and enjoy individual moments. Adopting a slower pace led me to enjoy the simple task of boiling pasta or roasting a chicken.
I’d argue that the only area in which Italians don’t take it slow is in their affection for one another. When entering a bar or walking the streets of Trastevere — a particularly lively part of Rome — you can usually expect to hear “Ciao bella” (translated to “Hi beautiful”) and see two men greeting each other with a kiss on both cheeks or see a couple in a loving embrace.
Now that I’ve covered what I did on a daily basis — eat, drink coffee, learn Italian and take photos — I can show you what the weekends looked like. In this particular photograph, Zoe Kleeman ’22, my roommate in Rome, weekend travel buddy, and the inevitable model for many of my photos, is looking out of the window on to the beautiful city of Venice.
Zoe and I also spent weekends exploring Florence, Tivoli, Positano, Sicily, Siena and Pompeii.
When I wasn’t traveling, I explored museums, galleries, churches and open-air markets.
Before studying abroad, I told myself to just say “yes” whenever a new opportunity presented itself. I am happy to report that I stuck to my own word and (safely and responsibly) just said yes! This led me to taking a painting class, climbing 463 stairs to reach the top of the Duomo in Florence, meeting new people from all over Europe, buying way too many bags at the leather market, traveling completely solo for a long weekend, and even crashing a block party in Siena. I do, however, have one regret. Like many other young Americans traveling to Italy, I had grandiose dreams of riding a Vespa. Although this did not come to fruition, it gives me one more reason to return!