What’s a bar crawl? In Rome, we do church crawls.
After a class that was less intense than I expected, we met Professor Hillebrad to begin our tour of a few key churches. Our first stop was at one of the sites I had been waiting for the entire trip: the Basilica of San Clemente. This is a church built right before 1100 during the peak of the Middle Ages. The church is nice, but it is not the intriguing thing about this landmark. Below this church are the ruins of a fourth century church, which was originally the home of a nobleman. But wait, there’s more! Beneath these ruins are the remains of a first century village complete with parquet flooring and water that still runs. I am just so fascinated with the fact that these buildings were built upon one another as the ground level rose as centuries continued. I literally walked through a time capsule! I had been here once before and I was so excited for my classmates to see it. Although the church crawl was in jeopardy, I am glad it worked out and we all got to visit it.
The next church we visited was Santo Stefano al Monte Celio. This church is different because of its round structure. It can also be disturbing to view because of its 34 frescoes that portray martyrdom. Basically, it shows people being brutally persecuted for practicing their beliefs. It was different to see a church with such gruesome décor and I really enjoyed the unique circular structure. The last church we stopped at is a hugely popular church to the Roman people, the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.
On our way back to the subway, we all let our inner child out by playing on a playground we passed. That was a surprisingly fun time and I could tell Professor Hillebrand enjoyed watching us act like children, especially since his twin daughters were now with us.
We had dinner reservations in an area of Rome called Frascati at La Vecchia Frasca. This restaurant first of all looked super quaint and Italian, and the food matched its atmosphere. We were greeted with oodles of appetizers: salami, porchetta, prosciutto, cheese, beans, couscous and chick peas. Professor Hillebrand was excited to have us try tripe, which I now know I can live without. However, I did have the best mozzarella cheese I’ve ever tasted. Our main course was two different pasta dishes: pork ravioli and a yellow pata with rabbit meat. I was not the happiest to be eating rabbit, but I knew I should try it and that I will not be eating it on purpose in the future. Both pastas were delicious and I ate way more than I should have. We were finally served some pastries with jam on them, which were tasty and savory.
Once we got back to St. John’s, Lauren, Sarah, Ashley, Mitch and I got ready to go out to G-Bar with Professor Hillebrand’s daughters. The night was super fun and refreshing, since I talked to some Americans the whole night. I especially loved that by the end of the night, the twins were part of our family.