Tuesday was another fairly relaxing day. We put in a great amount of work for Shoot4Change and then had a few hours on our own. A few of us planned our adventures for the upcoming weekend and worked out the details for travel.
We met our professors and Melissa Connolly at 4:30 to depart for our excursion of the day: a ruins tour! I was so excited to get to go back to the Coliseum, the Forum and Pantheon and learn about ancient Rome. The first stop was the Coliseum, which was even more extraordinary than I remembered it. We spent well over an hour learning about the culture of ancient Romans and their entertainment. I was surprised to learn that there were only about 15 to 20 gladiator battles in the Coliseum per year, which were all financed by rich people. I was absolutely astonished by the massive size and grandeur that was once the go-to arena for entertainment. The engineering and money that went into erecting such a structure is astounding.
Unfortunately, we were unable to actually go into the ruins of the Roman Forum because it closed by the time we were done with the Coliseum. I just think it is amazing that the ruins of once vital government buildings were excavated and now can be learned from and observed by the whole world.
We ran into one more problem—the Pantheon, an ancient temple dedicated to the Pagan gods, was closed. The Pantheon is said to be the best preservation of ancient Roman architecture known to man, as the inside of it is still completely intact with all its marble. Luckily it is free to enter, so we plan to visit it at a later time.
To make up for our missing of two thirds of our tour, we headed over to Torre Argentina, the ancient ruins where Caesar was murdered. However, this is not the most interesting thing about the place. The best thing, in my cat-loving opinion, is that it is a sanctuary for homeless cats. I remember going here last time I was in Italy, and I even told my classmates about it, but I had no idea I would get to go back. I got to pet stray cats in ancient Roman ruins; could life get any better? It was a nice surprise and definitely lightened my mood.
After our ruins tour, we had reservations at Interno 92. Unfortunately, Mrs. Connolly had to leave Rome early to take care of some exciting news: Hofstra University would be holding the first presidential debate this coming September, making it Hofstra’s third presidential debate in a row! Professor Hillebrand mentioned that we would be eating raw meat, which I was totally excited about. It’s basically like sashimi, but from a cow, right? We started off with an array of appetizers: porchetta, roast beef with pineapple and balsamic and beef prepared with two different dressings. It was absolutely delectable. We each were able to order our own course and I ended up ordering steak with caramelized pears and a balsamic cream sauce, cooked rear. The sweet taste of the pears was paired beautifully with the sweet, but acidic taste of the balsamic. The steak was cooked to perfection, and the whole meal was absolutely mouth-watering. It was hands down one of the best steaks I have ever consumed. We finished dinner with fresh and juicy watermelon and a rich chocolate mousse. I think I was in food heaven Tuesday night.
After dinner, we headed back to St. John’s. I worked on our weekend plans with some people, others went out and others some on homework. It is always nice coming back after a tiring day to relax and spend time with my new family.