Location: Covotavecchia, Italy

Today we visited Rome, which was absolutely wonderful. After a bright and early wake-up at 6:30 am, we ate a quick breakfast and headed out. The first sight we visited in Rome was St. Peter’s Basilica; from the magnificent domed roof to the tombs of the Popes under the cathedral, it was absolutely stunning. After the basilica, we spent the morning as a group walking through much of the city, stopping at multiple historical sites along the way. I personally found it really enjoyable to get to talk with everyone and hear everyone’s unique perspectives on the sites of the city. Before lunch, we walked up one of the hills to the top of the Spanish steps, which gave a beautiful view of almost the entire city. At that point, we split off and were given free time to get lunch and walk around the heart of Rome. It was a lot of fun to see all of the little cafes filling the side streets and people-watching with all of the different types of tourists that were around. After lunch, we regrouped and made our way over to the Pantheon. It was absolutely a stunning sight. Not only were the art and decorations inside beautiful, but the architectural masterpiece of the design of the dome (which is incidentally the largest unsupported dome in the world) was amazing to learn about and see as well. After the Pantheon, we made a small detour to get gelato, which was definitely a fan favorite. I had a delicious combo of dark chocolate and raspberry gelato. Our next stop was to a beautiful fountain before heading out to the palace of Victor Emanuel II. After accidentally climbing the wrong set of VERY STEEP stairs (and slightly crashing a wedding), we made our way up to a plaza behind the palace that gave a wonderful view of the Colosseum and the old Roman ruins. It was amazing to see the ruins and think about the people that used to live there and call those places their home. We next made our way down to the bottom of the Colosseum, took a group photo (shown above), and were released again to wander the city for about an hour before meeting up again and catching the bus home. After a slightly more traffic-y trip than in the morning, we finally arrived and were greeted by a lovely meal of vegetable curry prepared by Garret. We ended our night with dinner and clean-up under strict instructions to get a good night of sleep in preparation for setting out for Sardinia tomorrow.

Overall, everyone agreed that it was a wonderful day. Not only did we get to see and explore more of Rome than it really should have been possible to do in a day, but we also really started to get to know each other and become more comfortable with the people that would be our crewmates for the next three months. A few of our crewmates were very knowledgeable regarding Rome, and it was a lot of fun to learn from them and be drawn in by their infectious enthusiasm about Rome and its history. While for the meals and free times, the group naturally split into smaller segments as people pursued their different interests in the city. While we were walking as a group, those groups were very fluid, and there were lots of people drifting around and talking to people in different groups. I think I can safely say that every single person got to speak with and get to know someone new, with whom they had maybe not spoken before. Being in Rome was a really wonderful experience, and it allowed us all as a crew to grow closer, which will be helpful as we embark tomorrow on our first passage!

1: a group photo in front of the Colosseum
2: the inside of St. Peter’s Basilica
3: the fountain
4: the inside of the Pantheon
5: the Colosseum