Tag Archives: Rome

Romance, Derived from Rome

23 Jun

Where better to research the customs of weddings than in one of the most romantic cities in the world? The word Romance after all, is derived from the name Rome!

For my ADV 490 Independent Study course, our current assignment was to pick a topic of our choosing and conduct research about it. I chose to research Italian wedding customs and I found out some very interesting things. For instance, the show I was in a few years ago, “Tony ‘n’ Tina’s Wedding” is a stereotypical and very un-Italian representation. Still, funny as hell.

I did some focus group research with the MSU students on my trip about wedding traditions back home so I had something to compare to my Italian wedding findings. This is the list of things that are very typical of an Anglican/American wedding:

  • Cutting of the Cake (shoving it in each others face)
  • Tinking Glasses to Kiss
  • Throwing Rice
  • Cans on the back of Cars
  • Daddy Daughter Dance
  • Bouquet Throw
  • Garter Throw
  • Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
  • Gifts: Kitchen appliances, China, Linens

Sound pretty good? I’ve only been to a few weddings but I do have another one coming up soon 🙂 After that, I interviewed Rosa Fusco, the Director of Computer Services at the American University of Rome. She has lived in Italy for 17 years but she’s from London and she married an Italian man. Here are some fun facts that she told me about Italian marriage ceremonies:

  • There are no Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
  • The Bride and Groom each have 2 Witnesses (similar to a bridal party but they are called Testimonies)
  • The rings are bought by the Witnesses
  • The Groom’s tie is cut into pieces and sold throughout the night, the money from this then goes to the happy couple
  • Gifts: Money. That’s it.
  • You eat A LOT during the reception. A LOT.
  • Each guest receives 5 White Almond Confetti nicely decorated (the 5 Almonds represent love, fidelity, longevity, fertility, and happiness and even numbers are considered bad luck)

    Italian Almond Confetti

    Italian Almond Confetti

I also found that picture customs are very similar with wedding photos. Traditionally, pictures are taken the day of the wedding for both Anglican and Italian weddings. I thought in Italy that the pictures were taken on a separate day but because Italy is such a beautiful place, people are coming here specifically to take their photos so it may not be the same day as the wedding. This is a newer trend that is happening with the changing technology and customs.

Lastly, if you want to know some other crazy fun facts, you should visit this Associated Content article I found, Italian Wedding Traditions. It’s got some interesting points about what colors to not wear the day before a wedding and other silly things like that. Worth the read! Hope you learned something cool from this post, it was definitely interesting to research. Ciao!

Worth the Sweat

22 Jun

Inquiring minds want to know, what is my current bug bite count? 14. Awesome.

This past weekend we left early on Friday morning to catch the train to Cinque Terre where we hiked and cliff jumped! Let me start by saying that I can hike with the best of them, but I suck at cliff jumping. You would think that falling off a cliff wouldn’t take skill but apparently, it does. I landed wrong both times I got the guts to do it and cut up my hands, feet, and knees on the rocks trying to get out of the water. It was cool, glad I can say that I did it, but I doubt I would ever chose to do it just for fun again.

The hiking aspect of the day however, I was pretty damn good at. I kept up at the front of the group for the whole hike and sweated out all 4 bottles of water I drank that day. Cinque Terre is comprised of 5 cities all set in the mountains along the coast. We got off in Riomaggiore, hiked to Manarola which took about 20 minutes. From there we hiked to Corniglia which took about 45 minutes or so. We hopped on the train to Vernazza to grab lunch and swim a bit then hiked all the way to Monterosso which took about an hour and a half. The total distance that we covered was 9 km which is about 5 and a half miles!! Last time I hiked that much in a few hours? Oh, never.

View of Vernazza

View of Vernazza

After the sweatiest day of my life, we grabbed dinner in Monterosso and while walking around looking for a place to eat, our professors asked a cute old Italian woman for suggestions. She told us about her cousin’s restaurant at the top of the mountain. Next thing we knew, she was on the phone with him and there was a bus waiting to take us to the top of the mountain for a fabulous Italian meal! It was an amazing view and just goes to show you how helpful Italian families are. We took a cramped train ride back to Rome and I arrived in my apartment around 6:45a.m.

The rest of the weekend I spent at the markets and relaxing in Rome while my roommates were in Capri. Today is the first day of our 5th week here. Wednesday we leave for France and next week Friday we are flying home! It’s going to be a bittersweet goodbye to say the very least. I’ll post later about why I’ll miss Rome but I can’t deny that I’m happy to be going home. So much is happening that I’m missing and I should be home for. I’ll see you all soon enough! Can’t wait 🙂

Hiking to Monterosso

Hiking to Monterosso

Bless You, MSU

18 Jun

If you are a Michigan State Spartan, you should be pleased to hear that yesterday, the Pope himself blessed Michigan State University! And no, that is not a lie. We got up extra early yesterday and traveled down to spend the day in  Vatican City. It reached a high of 90 here yesterday and we watched the Papal Audience in St. Peter’s Square in the scorching sun. I have never sweat so much in my whole life like I did yesterday, it was disgusting.

Seeing the Pope was amazing and I took some incredible pictures. I also got a video of the five minute English interpretation and naturally, the very last group blessed was MSU so when I post the video, watch it to the end! I will upload photos/videos soon so keep an eye out for that.

From there we got lunch, toured the many, many museums within the Vatican Museum with Susan Sanders and lastly, saw the beauty of the Sistine Chapel. We weren’t allowed to talk or take pictures so naturally Susan told us everything about it while we were there and I got some great pictures I will post for you soon!

Today Aubrey and I went for another run. It was once again amazing but I’m worried my sweat tastes sweet because I am covered in bug bites and Aubrey is fine. Yuck. Tomorrow we are catching the bus at quarter to 7a.m. to go to catch the train to Cinque Terre. Our professor Tom is taking us hiking through the mountains and cliff diving. It will be another super sweaty trip but one I am highly looking forward to. All my roommates and a few other people will be traveling after that but I’m coming back to Rome to shop and catch up on my Independent Study project.

My roommate back home, and my dear friend since kindergarten is engaged so I am researching traditional Italian wedding customs. If you know of anything that you could tell me about traditions/how the weddings compare to American weddings/customs/gifts, any information would be useful. I would like to ideally get her a traditional Italian wedding gift while I’m here so Kerrie, if you read this, hope that works out!

I’ll update again soon with news from Cinque Terre and any findings I have on Italian wedding customs in case you too are interested. Hope you are doing well, miss you as always and I will be home 2 weeks from tomorrow. Gosh time is flying by! Ciao!!

Reconnecting in Roma

16 Jun

You know how people who work out always seem to just feel good about everything? I forgot what that feels like, til now. Tonight Aubrey, Maeve, Alex and I went for a run in the big nearby park just as the sun was setting. Mind you, I haven’t really ran since senior year of high school during track. I haven’t really gone to a gym and I haven’t really noticed how lazy I’ve become over the last three years.

Yes, we did not run the whole time and yes, I did stop more than the other girls, but I still did it. We did some ab work after we ran and made plans to do this again during our trip. I can honestly say that tonight is the first time in a long time that I have really, completely felt just plain good.

Just before I came to Italy, my boyfriend and I of almost four years called it quits. I also found out that I am graduating early, and my roommate and best friend since kindergarten, is now engaged. I packed up my life and I moved across the Atlantic Ocean for a few weeks of my summer before senior year, and I think I realized tonight what a pivotal point in my life that this really is. I’m almost a college graduate and I’m not completely happy with myself yet I have no reason to not be.

I’m going to try to start running again, I think that will be the first step to a much happier and healthier me. I’m so excited to get into shape! But I think I’m more excited that this trip is proving to be the biggest life changing experience I’ve ever had. I want to get back in touch with the things that truly make me happy in life.

Not everyone needs to leave the country to reconnect with themselves, but if you aren’t happy with where you are in life, you should be. You have no reason not to be. Take a step back, look at the bigger picture, and make the changes you want to. Maybe you need to remove yourself from your life, even if for just a moment, and observe. I promise you, you will see things so differently.

Oh, and if you can, go for a run. You will feel like a million bucks! Just my overly optimistic mood jumping out for a bit, hope I can make it last!

Home Sweet Rome

8 Jun

OW. I’m burned! I spent the weekend in Pompeii touring and climbing volcanoes, ya know, the everyday stuff and I came back bright red. It’s quickly fading to a great tan so I can’t complain but for now… ow.

I made it!

I made it!

Friday morning we boarded our bus to Pompeii and got to Mount Vesuvius around noon. From there, we hiked our asses up to the top, took way too many ridiculous pictures, then slid our way down to the bottom again. The walk itself took about 30 minutes which really isn’t much, but our bus drove us up the crazy winding roads and we had to finish the steepest parts on foot. It was beautiful, not as high up as I was expecting, but still gorgeous. P.S. Mount Vesuvius is the volcano that erupted and petrified the ancient city of Pompeii. It’s still an active volcano, be glad I’m alive 🙂

After that, we drove for another hour and a half to our hotel just outside of Pompeii. Spent the afternoon catching up on sleep and showering, then had an amazing Italian dinner at the hotel. They served fish, not my fav, but the pasta, potatoes, salad, and naturally, GELATO, were all fantastic. Afterwards, we trekked through the trees/forest across from our hotel to the Mediterranean Sea beach. Spent some time running through the warm salty water lit only by moonlight and had a blast.

Saturday morning we took a tour of the ruins of Pompeii and then did a little market shopping. I’m still struggling with your souveniurs so any help would be greatly appreciated. Pompeii was fascinating, but again, not what I was expecting. As morbid as it may sound, I wanted to see more bodies that were petrified and I was expecting to see a layer of volcanic ash still covering things. Wrong. There were 3 replicas of bodies, not the real things, and everything was cleaned and in great condition. Again, very interesting, different from what I was expecting.

Another great dinner Saturday night and another trip to the beach at night. Some of our group went to a creepy disco party in the basement of the hotel while I tried (and failed) to find a good English television channel.

Wrapping up our trip, we spent the morning at the beach, had lunch at the hotel, and laid out by the pool until 5p.m. when we got on our bus to go back to Rome. We must have been going the wrong way because our bus arrived 2 hours late and we were all pretty crabby.

Overall, the weekend was a nice RELAXING break from classes everyday and the sun only made it that much better. However, lesson of the weekend? I really hate bus rides and I’m not sure how I’m going to survive the 10 hour trip to Cannes, France in a few weeks.

Key things to note about this weekend:

  • Bus drivers are creepy
  • Italians eat too much for my stomach to handle
  • Stealing food from hotels is fun
  • Debating with them when they overcharge you at dinner just makes them treat you more like shit than anything else in Italy
  • Climbing a volcano is fun and gives you a great sense of accomplishment
  • And as always, gelato still rocks my world

Miss you as always! And in case you didn’t know:Wish you were here!

Amor Roma

4 Jun
Missy, Aubrey, and I with a great view

Missy, Aubrey, and I with a great view

Have you noticed that Amor is Roma backwards? Adorable, isn’t it? Our cultural professor, Susan Sanders, pointed that out to us yesterday. Yesterday was a very good day. My roomies morning class was canceled so they got to sleep in and the sun was out, so I got to work on my tan! Class came around and everyone has a touch of a cold or, as Becky says, the “sneezies” so class was pretty relaxed as well.

Polyphemus, the cyclops aka Me

Polyphemus, the Cyclops aka Me

 After class, we had a private tour of Villa Farnesina or better known to our group as “The Love Shack”. Villa Farnesina was built by a very rich man for his mistress and all of the frescos (the paintings on the walls and ceilings) tell stories of the love lives of the Roman gods. It was built around the same time as the Sistine Chapel and is in beautiful condition. This tour, unlike our others, was framed around the idea of telling a story throughout each room. I volunteered to do some readings and ended up getting the part of Polyphemus, a hideous, hairy cyclops who has the hots for a sea nymph that is completely uninterested. Nice.

The private tour was a nice break from the same old history lessons we’ve been receiving and I highly recommend visiting Villa Farnesina during your trip to Rome. It’s right by Trastevere which has an amazing little panini shop, MangiaMo!, which I also strongly recommend visiting. Rome is, after all, a city of love, so where better to visit than a mansion built by love for love?

Today we are visiting the Roman Forum and the Coliseum (also Collosseum) after class. Pictures and tales to come. Tomorrow morning, we are boarding a bus to leave for Pompeii for the weekend. We will be climbing Mount Vesuvius if the weather holds out, touring the ancient city of Pompeii, and of course, hopefully catching some rays on the beach Sunday!

I think I’ve settled in nicely over here, but of course, you know I miss you more than anything. Keep checking back, updates will come as often as possible. Also, I’ve updated my Facebook and Snapfish accounts with loads of pictures!! Tuesday was Rome’s National Republic Day and we went to the parade, check out all the awesome pictures from that!

Arrivaderci Amori! Goodbye Loves!

Rainy Day in Roma

1 Jun

Let’s start with yesterday. For me, yesterday was a rough day and I cherish my roommates for putting up with it. Our professor, Becky, told us that we might hit a wall after the first few days here. Specifically around day 4. Yesterday was day 6 and that was my wall. Which, by the way, I have you to blame for.

It’s enough that I’m in a foreign country and scared out of my mind, but when it comes to those I truly love, none of you are here with me. Well, minus AubZim of course. I miss my family, my friends, and yes, my puppy, much more than I was prepared for.

Maverick, Bebe, and KaCee

Maverick, Bebe, and KaCee

Looks like she’s having a hard time without me at home, huh? Ha.

Anywho. I miss you. Moral of the story. I am having the time of my life here in Rome. I’m seeing amazing things, learning incredible things, and most of all, I’m IN ROME! Hard to believe the first week has gone by already and I only have 5 short weeks left. This week ended with a rainy day but that’s good for the city. Washes away all the dirt and leaves everything fresh and clean. It fit my mood lately though, and along with the dirt, washed my wall away.

Tomorrow is Rome’s National Holiday the Anniversary of the Founding of the Republic. Therefore, pretty much everything will be closed. We’ll be going to the national parade in the morning, and hopefully the beach in the afternoon. Expect more from me soon. As if I haven’t said this enough, I miss you and I love you tons.

XoXo Ciao!