Ciao! I’m Julie Booth, a junior Classics major currently studying in Rome, Italy. When I first arrived in Rome, I was astounded by how immense the city was. With the large, metropolitan streets and busy Italians running here and there, the task of navigating this city was daunting, to say the least.
However, in the couple months that I have been here, I have learned to navigate this bustling city, converse with the locals, connect with the culture, and see the very monuments and sights I have been learning about my entire life. I have also had the opportunity to do so many things I never would have been able to do anywhere else, like attend mass presided by Pope Francis, eat pizza with the Swiss Guards, and enjoy a back room tour of the Vatican Museums with my class.
Rome is really a great location for studying abroad. You are never at a loss for something new and exciting to discover, as the city itself offers a rich, tangible history. Whether it is one of the many museums Rome has to offer or stumbling upon your new favorite gelateria, Rome never leaves you bored.
The city, at the heart of the country, also offers you easy access to the beautiful cities and countryside of Italy. Just a short train ride from Rome, you can see the amazingly preserved cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Ostia Antica. You can see Michelangelo’s David and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus in Florence. You can explore the wineries of southern Tuscany and the cliff sides of Sorrento and the Almafi coast.
Recently, our program went on a three-day trip to Sicily, during which I got to visit the archaeological sites of Selinunte and the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento. To end the trip, we visited the ancient Greek theater in Taormina, overlooking Mt. Etna. I got to learn a lot about the island and its immense Greek influence in its early settlement, while also seeing some of the best-preserved temples from the ancient world.
Throughout my time here in Italy, my understanding of the ancient world has grown exponentially by simply being immersed in its history. And I have found that having knowledge of the Classics makes one’s time in Rome all the more richer. I am constantly amazed at the beauty and ambiance of Rome and the rest of Italy, and in my last month here in Rome I’m looking forward to exploring the city more, improving my Italian, and continuing my search for Italy’s best cup of gelato.