Rome’s Unexpected Beauty

A few reasons why Rome’s charm and antiquity have successfully seduced me.

I have now lived in Rome for about a month, and the last 36 days have been a blur with countless new faces and new job responsibilities consuming all my time and flooding my headspace.

As I become acquainted with more and more people, I am also becoming acquainted with the city. Part of my job is wandering the streets of Rome, searching for study abroad students that I can enlighten about Smart Trip’s travel opportunities. Through this constant exploration, I am slowly becoming familiar with the layout of Rome while discovering random quirks that intrigue me.

I definitely appreciate the magnificence of the Colosseum, the beauty of the Trevi Fountain, the significance of Vatican City. But it’s these unexpected expressions of beauty and culture that make Rome feel like a home to me.

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  • Clocks reside all over the city, resting atop street posts or embedded into giant buildings. They rarely show the correct time. It’s almost as if the Romans acknowledge that time exists, but don’t feel it’s necessary to live life by the confines of a functioning clock’s strict schedule.
  • Across from my apartment there is a small organic food store that sells produce on the brink of rotting for half price. I find immense joy in saving the bruised but edible fruits and vegetables from going to waste.

fruit food vegan Rome

  • In a city with over two million people, it’s surprising how often I find deserted alleyways. After dodging traffic and tourists in crowded public squares or squeezing into an overpacked tram car, the peace of a quiet, cozy street feels amazing. I love venturing down random alleys to admire the tall, rustic homes in complete solitude.

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  • Another perk of Rome is the pizza. Though you can find circular pizzas in restaurants, traditional Roman-style pizza is rectangular and sold in small take-away shops. The pizza is sold by weight, so you can get a huge piece for a meal, a tiny sliver for a snack, or numerous small slices to try different flavors.
  • The Tiber River snakes through the city and has sidewalks at street level, and down below at water level. While walking at street level, the tree branches lining the walkway drape over the sidewalk like a canopy, making you feel like you’re walking through a peaceful tunnel despite the car traffic right next to you.

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  • Following the frequent staircases down to the water level sidewalk, you can walk, run or bike right along the water. In addition to colorful graffiti, the pale stone walls adjacent to the river are plastered in incredible epic murals.

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  • Rome is in part known for its vast history, and remnants of the past are still tangible all over the city today. The most mundane parts of Rome, from walls bordering bridges to plaques on doors to manhole covers on the ground, often have the engraving S.P.Q.R., which stands for Senātus Populusque Rōmānus. This phrase refers to the government of Ancient Rome,  yet it is still displayed all over the modern metropolis. Even in the architecture antiquity is preserved. I never see any glassy, angular modern architecture even in the newest buildings.

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7 thoughts on “Rome’s Unexpected Beauty

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