From ancient ruins to modern street art, Rome serves up timeless intrigue. Aptly dubbed “The Eternal City”, Rome and its many layers have something to offer just about everyone interested in a study abroad experience.
1. It’s one of the most historic places on Earth
Rome is one of the few cities in the world where you can easily experience over 3,000 years of history at your doorstep. Marvel at historic sites like the Colosseum (still the largest amphitheater in the world!), the Pantheon (the largest unsupported dome in the world) and the Roman Forum.
2. The city has amazing art
From ancient artifacts to modern street art, Rome is a must-see destination for art lovers! Don’t miss the Vatican Museums, a collection of museums featuring art from the Etruscans, Raphael, Van Gogh and more. The Sistine Chapel is on the visitor route through the Vatican Museums, where you can experience the awe of Michelangelo’s fresco paintings. In addition to timeless masterpieces, Rome is also home to an impressive street art scene. Most street art in Rome is found outside of the historic center, in neighborhoods like Trullo, Ostiense and Trastevere.
3. The food is incredible
Each region in Italy has their own unique cuisine. Authentic Roman cuisine focuses on simple, local ingredients. Artichokes are a staple in Rome cuisine, and Carciofi alla Giudia (Jewish-style fried artichokes) and Carciofi alla Romana (braised whole artichokes) are commonly found on menus throughout the city. Traditional pasta dishes in Rome include cacio e pepe (made with only pecorino romano cheese, pepper and pasta) and pasta alla carbonara. Breakfast is usually a cappuccino with pastries like cornetti (similar to croissants) or maritozzo (think donuts filled with whipped cream). For a sweet treat, there’s always time for gelato! Rome has no shortage of gelateria selling authentic, artisan gelato.
4. Rome is a major film capital
Whether you are a Fellini fan or The Lizzie McGuire Movie still lives rent free in your head, Rome is a great destination for all kinds of film buffs. The largest film studio in Europe, Cinecittà Studios, is located in Rome. In the 1950s and 60s, the studio was known as “Hollywood on the Tiber” and its studios were used in popular films like Roman Holiday (1953), La Dolce Vita (1960) and Cleopatra (1963). More recently, the studios were used for productions including Gangs of New York (2002), The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) and the BBC/HBO series Rome.
5. Coffee culture is big in Rome
Ordering coffee in Rome can be quite an adjustment for Americans. Local coffee shops are called bars and your cup of java is meant to be consumed at the bar counter – not while sitting and working at your laptop. Ordering a latte will get you hot milk, while caffè (coffee) will get you a small cup of straight espresso. Cappuccino is usually only enjoyed during breakfast hours in Rome – culturally, Italians view the milk-heavy drink as too heavy to enjoy after 11am. If you want coffee with milk in the afternoon, try ordering a caffè macchiato instead (espresso with a shot of milk).
6. There is so much to explore!
The historic center of Rome is small and very walkable. Major tourist destinations in the center of the city are usually very close to each other. There is plenty to explore outside of the historic center as well! Take the metro, buses or taxis to explore more of the city. Each neighborhood in Rome has its own unique vibe. Prati is an upscale residential neighborhood with art nouveau villas and luxury boutiques. Trastevere is a labyrinth of cobblestone streets, trendy cafés and a bustling nightlife scene. Although a bit off the beaten path, San Lorenzo is home to a high student population, inexpensive pizzerias and gritty warehouses turned into art galleries and pubs.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, as the saying goes. A city with so many layers of history and complex culture deserves to be savored. Studying abroad in Rome is a great way to truly immerse yourself in everything Rome has to offer!