This semester there are many Point Loma Nazarene University students studying abroad in Rome at John Cabot University. With midterm week marking the middle of the semester, it is also marking the halfway point between first arriving in Rome and the end of our study abroad experience.
With three months of living in Italy under our belts, we’ve picked up on a few things that make us feel more ingrained in the Roman way. A few students provided their perspectives on the most important things to do and places to see “When in Rome.”
Beginning with the most important question, what is the best restaurant in Rome? Italy is a country known for its amazing food, and it is no surprise that there is a restaurant everywhere you look.
For third-year communication studies major Avery Bosco, her favorite restaurant is Tonnarello.
“It is right on my walk to school and always packed with locals and tourists and people say it is the best food in our area,” Bosco said.
KT Sansing, a third-year international studies major studying abroad in Rome as well this semester, said that La Panetteria is the best spot in Rome.
“The four cheese gnocchi is amazing. It’s a family run restaurant and they are always so friendly and talkative whenever I go,” Sansing said.
For second-year sociology major Brenna Watson, the best restaurant is hands down the Supplì spot on her street.
“You must check out Supplì, less of a restaurant, more of a snack place, but it is so good. Supplì is a fried rice and cheese ball and of course Supplì has the best supplì’s,” Watson said.
The Caffè Scene:
Although the restaurant scene is always great in Rome, Italy also is blessed with some of the best and cheapest caffès in the world.
For Bosco and Sansing, Roscioli Caffè is hard to beat.
“My favorite cafe is Roscioli Caffè, they have the best cappuccinos in the city and really great breakfast options,” said Bosco.
Caffè Settimiano di Mella Valter is the clear choice for Watson.
“It’s super close to campus and has great cappuccinos and pastries,” said Watson.
Second-year psychology major Sara Delgiudice said that the little caffè on the corner from her apartment is her favorite spot in the city.
“I haven’t been to that many different cafes, but Caffè Trastevere has always been a favorite of mine,” Delgiudice said. “They have the best cappuccinos.”
In search of Rome’s rich history:
Pasta and cappuccinos aside, what Rome is really famous for is its rich history and beautiful monuments and churches. With a city that’s been inhabited for thousands of years, there is never a dull way to spend your day. When it comes to sightseeing, the possibilities are truly endless.
One stop that Bosco said is a must see is the Ancient Roman Forum. This spot used to be the center of the city, dating back nearly 500 years BC. Much of this open air forum has been built over in the centuries that passed, showing historical buildings from many different eras.
“I would recommend touring the Ancient Roman Forum,” Bosco said. “It looks like it’s just a bunch of rubble but it has some incredible history behind it.”
For Sansing, the Vatican City is the place that you must see if visiting Rome.
“The first time I saw it I was shocked at how big it actually is,” Sansing said. “And the pope comes out to greet people once a month.”
Not only does the head of the Catholic church reside here, but it is technically the smallest country in the world, making it an easy way to check another country off your bucket list.
Watson agrees that the Roman Forum has many different monuments that are worth a visit, ranging from temples to political buildings and victory monuments.
“I like the Arch of Titus at the Roman Forum. It has a really complicated history surrounding Titus and was gifted to Rome for his victory in the Jewish War,” said Watson.
Lastly for must-see places, Delgiudice says that all of the churches around Rome are worth visiting.
“Almost any church you walk into in Rome is beautiful. I live next to the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere, and it is probably my favorite because of the art and architecture that it has,” said Delgiudice. “However, if you can go to St. Peter’s Basilica, when it isn’t busy, it is probably the best church to see and experience in Rome.”
When in Rome, don’t go here:
Once the excitement of being in Rome has begun to wear off, some places can begin to seem slightly overrated. Between big tourist attractions, restaurants that are always too busy or the school-side of studying abroad, there are some aspects that are definitely glorified.
Bosco said that one place she feels is overrated is the tourist trap of the Trevi Fountain.
“There are so many other great places to take pictures at with more history, significance and much less crowded than the Trevi. I prefer the Fountain of Four Rivers in Piazza Navona,” said Bosco.
It is definitely worth a visit, but there are so many beautiful fountains along the city that won’t have you waiting in line for a glimpse.
For Sansing, one place that is overrated stands as a poor reminder of home.
“Kind of niche but the restaurant Pico’s. It’s the go-to spot for Mexican food for all of the American students in Rome,” said Sansing. “I am definitely spoiled with good Mexican food in San Diego so Pico’s is just not the same.”
Just another day in the Eternal City:
Last but not least, when in Rome, it is important to not get too caught up in the drastic change in lifestyle and location.
Bosco likes to spend her weekends and her free time going to different vintage shops and markets throughout the city.
“Most of the thrifting here has high end designers for pretty cheap so it is really fun to see what I can find,” said Bosco.
Along with thrifting, Sansing also likes to spend her free time hanging out with friends and enjoying the lively piazzas.
“My friends and I like to hang out in Piazza Trilussa, right in Trastevere. It is always really busy and there is sometimes live music playing,” said Sansing.
Watson and Delgiudice agree that the best way to spend time in Rome is to walk around and explore all the sights that you encounter.
“I spend my free time either at a cafe or walking around the city because you never know what you will find. Rome really is an ancient city with lots of hidden history,” said Watson.
There are countless restaurants and ancient ruins to see in the great city of Rome. You can never go wrong with exploring the city’s many sights and stopping at a small pizza place for a quick bite to eat. If you’re ever unsure of how to spend time in the city, do as the Romans do.
Written By: Madelyn Walthall