An easy day trip from Rome, Anzio is saturated with Italian culture.
There’s no place like home, but sometimes you just need to get away.
So we each paid 3.60 euros for a train ticket to Anzio, a tiny coastal town about an hour south of Rome.
After hopping off the train, we beelined towards the beach.
Rich blue waves rushed over the sand, and the gleaming sun warmed our faces.
We were thrilled to be out of the city and breathing in ocean air, so we spent quite some time walking along the coast and taking in the view of the sea with the sloping, snowcapped mountains in the distance.
The town itself was quaint, with palm trees framing the colorful, block buildings.
As we walked around the curved harbor, boats rocked lazily in the waves and fishermen untangled their nets while chattering enthusiastically in Italian.
A smiling man supervised a candy cart, where we bought crispy, sugary roasted peanuts, and we browsed through little carts piled high with Italian books.
In our walk along the harbor, we came across an outdoor antique market.
Tables overflowing with old clocks, action figures, jewelry, seashells, and other random trinkets filled an entire square.
Around the corner I saw the most adorable produce shop, with colorful arrays of fresh fruits and vegetables surrounding the doorway.
A sparkling fountain sat in the neighboring public square, where children ran around screaming with joy, couples sat on benches eating gelato, and elderly people strolled arm in arm, without hurry.
At lunchtime, we had to try three different restaurants before the staff decided to serve us.
Even though some of my roommates spoke Italian, we were clearly foreigners and servers turned us away from their empty restaurants without reason.
We had already realized that we were the only tourists in this small town, and we were thrilled to finally be able to sit down and eat after being rejected a few times.
We ate outside by the water, where everyone ordered things like pasta with anchovies, a potato and vegetable dish with giant prawns, spaghetti with some unknown local fish, salad with calamari, and I had the best eggplant parmesan of my life.
Our food adventures continued later in the day with cheap, simple, and delicious pizza from a takeaway window, and kebabs and falafel wraps made by staff who loved practicing their English with us.
At least we found two people in Anzio who liked Americans.
Throughout the day we napped in the sun, walked through quiet residential neighborhoods, watched dogs play on the beach, and admired the warm glow of the saturated sunset.
It was such a beautiful day in a random Italian town, and I’m happy I got to enjoy the adventure with my crazy, charismatic roommates.
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To read about my other experiences in Italy, check out these articles: