While in Rome, it’s been pretty easy for the other interns and I to take off on weekend trips within Italy and to other cities in Europe. These past three weekends I have visited Brussels, Dubrovnik, Split, Neum, and Venice. These travels have been easy to organize due to the abundant forms of transportation in Rome.
This past Friday, I went to Venice with two other interns. We took a bus from Roma Tiburtina to Venice for only 25 euros roundtrip! Traveling outside of Rome is inexpensive and as I mentioned it is very easy to get around and find your way to the airport and train stations. Rome is near many other cities in Italy which made visiting Venice in a day doable. We left Rome at midnight and were in Venice early Friday morning. We had an eventful, one-day trip in Venice, which probably did not give us enough time to explore the city thoroughly. However, the fact that that was even possible still blows my mind, especially coming from Southern California where it takes me at least half a day just to reach Oregon!
It was a unique and enjoyable experience being able to explore a new city with the friends I’ve made on site in Rome. A friend of mine, who is currently interning in Venice, showed us around the city and took us to her favorite places in Venice. We wandered through Venice’s alley’s and visited some free museums. At the moment, Venice is hosting the Biennale, a major contemporary art exhibition that takes place every two years in Venice. After visiting different museums and exhibits, we sat at a port, enjoyed a refreshing spritz, and chatted about our experiences while living in Rome. Overall, our weekend trip was a success: we got to explore a new city all while catching up with each other. Rome’s location is very convenient for the students and interns, who like myself, enjoy weekend getaways.What we find most surprising is that in just a little over a month, we have started to refer to Rome as “home.” Each weekend getaway, we have found ourselves telling each other we are ready to come back home (to Rome). In such a short amount of time, this city has had an impact on all of us.
We ended June and started July with the busiest week of the summer! With the beginning of this month we received eight new interns on site! Preparing for their arrival has definitely kept us busy, but we are glad to finally have everyone on site in Rome. And I finally have two new roommates! After the CIS Grand Tour students and staff left, I was left in the apartment alone. I am so glad to have new roommates and to help the new interns adjust to their new homes in The Eternal City. Although jet-lagged and tired, all the interns seemed very excited about arriving in Rome. For most of them it is their first time in Europe!
After hours of airport pick-ups and running around giving housing orientations, we finally had the group together and were able to enjoy a delicious Roman dinner at our favorite place, Ai Spaghettari, The restaurant is located at Piazza San Cosimato in Trastevere, giving us an opportunity to begin showing the interns the area in which they will live in for the next few weeks. At Ai Spaghettari the interns had their first taste of Italy! Everyone loved the food and was stuffed after dinner! To walk off the food, RomeSAE staff member, Justin, took us all on a walking tour of Trastevere. We lead the interns to Piazza Santa Maria and walked through the crowds of locals out for dinner and drinks in Trastevere. Justin and I suggested places for them to go out for gelato, an aperitivi, or dinner. All of them were eager and enthusiastic about spending their free time exploring the area. They all live in apartments that are walking-distance to central Trastevere, making it very easy to spend their days off among locals trying out the local cafes, pizzerias, gelaterias, restaurants, and all that Trastevere has to offer,
All the interns will have a very productive summer in the Eternal City, but will of course have time to explore Rome and all its beauty. The interns will be working in fields ranging from communications, marketing, accounting, marketing in medical care, architecture, and international relations. We are all very excited to have them on site and assist them during their stay in Rome.
Monday night, we had a lovely, staff-lead bonding event with the interns in the RomeSAE “loft”. RomeSAE directors Romina and Alessandro held a cooking class for the interns that consisted of a three-course dinner. The cooking class was done in order to teach the interns how typical italian families prepare meals; simple, easy recipes that can be made without fancy culinary tools. In order to enhance this experience, the staff gave the class in Italian while I translated for the interns.
Our group activity started off with learning how to make tiramisu, since it requires to be chilled for a few hours. The tiramisu we prepared was slightly differed from restaurant recipes because we added panna fresca (heavy cream) to the mascarpone. This is not done too often but ROmina explained that most families that cook prepare it in this fashion. After preparing our individual servings of tiramisu, we moved onto preparing the aperitivi (appetizers) for our meal. We made bruschetta with tomatoes, olive oil, and basil as well as crostini with butter, mozzarella, and anchovies. Many of the interns seemed hesitant to try the anchovies but after a little encouragement from Romina, Alessandro, and I they ate the crostini with anchovies. Everyone ate and enjoyed their appetizers without any complaints.
Once we were done with the appetizers, we began making the main course: carbonara. Alessandro began by explaining the difference between pancetta (bacon) and guanciale (pork cheek). For our carbonara we used guanciale. He taught us how to cut the guanciale and cook it before adding it to the rest of the dish. While Alessandro cooked the guanciale, the interns helped to make the egg and pecorino mixture for the carbonara. One of the interns is a vegetarian, giving us the opportunity to try an alternative to carbonara. Instead of adding guanciale to the carbonara, we made it with zucchini. Many of the interns,even the meat-lovers, agreed that they liked the zucchini alternative because it gave the recipe a different flavor and texture. We all had a lot of fun experimenting and trying new things in the kitchen. We all sat down to eat together and made a toast as a farewell to one of our interns. Melissa has now returned back home! It was nice to have one last group activity together before her departure. The group dinner was a great form of cultural immersion and also gave all of us the opportunity to take time off from our busy schedules and catch up with each other about our internships, travel plans, and our experiences in the Eternal City. In addition to bonding with each other, the interns can now make these traditional Italian recipes back home! The group dinner was a great way to educate the interns on Italian culture as well as giving us all the opportunity to take time off from our busy schedules and catch ip with each other about our internships, travel plans, and our lives in the Eternal City.
Today, was filled with plenty of treats for the interns and AUR students. We started off the evening by walking to Trapizzino, a local sandwich shop in Testaccio. Trapizzino offers authentic Roman cuisine with a modern twist. Inspired from pizza dough, the trapizzini (sandwich) shop prepares their sandwiches on a unique bread that tastes like it has been fried but is actually baked! After a delicious trapizzino, we all made our way down the street to Linari, a pasticceria in Testaccio that also offers gelato. The students and interns all indulged in a serving of gelato and tried new flavors that the employees recommended.
After satisfying our sweet tooth came the best part of our evening: our secret tour of Aventine Hill. We concluded our little evening adventure by taking the students and interns to Aventine Hill where there is a spectacular view of St. Peter’s, the Tiber River, and the rest of the Ancient City. The Aventine Hill is popular among locals but not a very common site for tourists. The most popular sight on the hill is a view of St. Peter’s through a keyhole on a door that leads to the Priory of the Knights of Malta. The Knights of Malta are one of the last order of knights left from the crusades! Through the keyhole you can see St. Peter’s perfectly aligned by garden arches from inside the priory. It is unknown whether the door and keyhole were purposely placed in this position, but the view is nevertheless astounding. Once everyone got a little peep out of the keyhole, we walked up to giardino degli aranci in Parco Savello to get a greater view of Rome. All the students and interns took pictures and explored the park while the sun was setting over the Eternal City. There is no better way to spend an evening in Rome than with sandwiches, gelato, and a secret view!
Last Thursday, interns, AUR students, and the Grand Tour group joined the faculty on a visit to San Luigi dei Francesi and Caffe Sant’ Eustachio. San Luigi dei Francesi is a French church located in the heart of Rome. It is dedicated to Virgin Mary, Dionysus, and more importantly St. Louis IX (former French King). King St. Louis IX played an important role in the Seventh and Eight Crusade and is the only French king who has been canonized. The church is home to Caravaggio’s first major artworks, the three paintings: The Calling of St. Matthew, The Inspiration of St. Matthew, and The Martyrdom of St. Matthew. We were lucky enough to receive our own private tour of the church! The RomeSAE director Romina and I gave the group a brief history of the beautiful French church and paintings, while students got to explore the whole church on their own.
After our private tour of San Luigi dei Francesi, the staff took the group for a cup of the best espresso in town at Caffe Sant’Eustachio. Caffe Sant’Eustachio prepares the coffee with a secret recipe and is considered to be the best espresso place in town! The cafe roasts their own coffee beans and uses water from an ancient aqueduct to brew it. It’s believed that the water from the ancient aqueduct gives the coffee its unique flavor. As a coffee addict, I can assure this was one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had. Highly recommend this cafe for any coffee lover visiting Rome.
We concluded our evening by taking a group picture at Piazza Navona and saying our farewells to the CISabroad Grand Tour students, who are now Paris bound! It was such a pleasure to have met them and have them on site in Rome. Seeing them thank Romina for everything was very touching. I am very glad they enjoyed their time in Rome. Have fun in Paris, guys!
Yesterday, the CISabroad Grand Tour students joined the newly arrived interns on a walking tour of the Piazza Garibaldi. The Gianicolo (Janiculum Hill) at Piazza Garibaldi offers one of the best views of the Eternal City. It is located west of the Tiber River, just outside of Rome. Along with an amazing view of the city, the Gianicolo offers a more modern side of Italian history with busts of heroes of the Risorgimento scattered along pathways and a statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi on horseback. The Risorgimento (The Resurgence) was a major event in modern Italian history in which all the states in Italy were unified and became the Kingdom of Italy. Another site at the Gianicolo is the church of San Pietro in Montorio, where it is believed that St. Peter was crucified.
The students and interns enjoyed a breathtaking view of the Ancient City while taking pictures for a photo contest the staff put together. Students were to compete for best photo on the hill as well as best photo incorporating the CISabroad flag. Winners received an all you can eat pizza meal at Pizza Oriani, the local pizzeria near the Rome SAE office. While on their walking tour, the students and interns saw a group of Volkswagen vans on the hill. The group was part of a car rental company, who as employee appreciation, had given their employees a tour of the city and concluded it with a view on the Gianicolo Hill.
Last week, Rome SAE received 10 new interns on site. We had a busy week arranging airport pick-ups and housing orientations, but we are glad to finally have the interns on site and ready to start their summer internships. We received interns from CISabroad, World Internships, and Performing Arts Abroad. Each intern will be working at different locations throughout the city some which include: Your Place in Rome, Romeing, Doctors in Italy, and the Helen Doron Institute. Due to their diverse career interests each intern will be working in different fields ranging from marketing, fashion, education, performing arts, international business, and communications.
After their internship orientation, the students were given a walking tour of their housing area in Monteverde and Trastevere. We showed students where the nearest farmer’s markets, banks, and bus stops were located in the Monteverde neighborhood. We then showed students the nearby piazzas (Piazza Santa Maria, Piazza Belli, Piazza San Cosimato, and Piazza Campo dei Fiori) and other tourist sites in Trastevere and Campo dei Fiori. After a long day of events, the students enjoyed an authentic Roman dinner at Ai Spaghettari and were guided back home to rest up for their first full day in the Eternal City. I joined some of the interns yesterday while they explored downtown Rome. We spent the afternoon at the Spanish Steps and visited the Louis Vuitton exhibition on Via del Corso. Today the interns will join other student groups on site on a walking tour of Gianicolo and enjoy a beautiful sunset overlooking the city of Rome. Everyone is enthusiastic about initiating their summer experience in Rome