TBT: Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy. June 2008.

Touched down on European soil, life changed f o r e v e r.


Thinking back, we were the tourists that every native or seasoned traveler hates: we were a group of fifty-one American high school students, we were led around the city in a massive tour bus, we blocked entire sidewalks while shouting ignorantly in English in our flip flops & short shorts. Our tour guide even walked in front of us with a little flag to keep us all together. We were probably so obnoxious it’s almost cringe-worthy, but this first trip to Europe in June 2008 was my first taste of flight and my gateway to the world.

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In high school, our Latin teacher led us on a trip to Italy and Greece the summer after junior year. We started in Rome for five days, then made our way down to Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri and eventually a few stops in Greece. In Rome: winding skinny streets, indulgent gelato post-every meal, Trevi Fountain coin tosses, goggling at the designer stores dotting Via Condotti, the sun beating down and roasting my fair east coast skin in a Mediterranean summer, legally drinking alcohol (at 17!), endless pasta and PIZZA, more old churches and cathedrals and museums steeped in culture in history than we had ever seen in our short time on this vast planet. I was with all of my best friends — who are still my best friends — and we were having the time of our lives.

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I haven’t been back to the Eternal City since that trip, and though I visited Venice in 2012, Italy and I aren’t even close to being done with each other yet (then again… is it possible to get tired of Italy?). I’d love to return to Rome as an adult and take it all in with eyes that have seen lots of new European cities since our initial meeting in 2008.

Travel is really important because we, as humans, can get too comfortable in our own little worlds. I think if you don’t meet people in other places, other cultures, [the world] becomes something that you’re ignorant about, and it becomes easier to treat people like “the other,” and that’s dangerous.
-Amy Toensing

Have you been to Roma?

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  • Reply classiccosmopolite

    I spent some time in Italy (and Rome) this summer. I blogged about it here:
    Next time you go (and you will!), explore Trastevere. It is a beautiful neighborhood in Rome–I had the best four cheese gnocchi there!

    October 30, 2014 at 9:54 am
    • Reply Kristen Hopf

      I’m already looking forward to exploring Trastevere & my future, unplanned trip back to Roma!

      October 30, 2014 at 9:20 pm
  • Reply papict

    Your post made me Romesick. I absolutely loved Rome and have a perpetual longing to return. I am generally not a city-phile but I don’t think I could ever tire of Rome.

    October 30, 2014 at 1:29 pm
    • Reply Kristen Hopf

      I feel the same way about London. I will never tire of it and will always miss it and always yearn for it!

      October 30, 2014 at 9:18 pm
      • Reply papict

        I lived just outside London for five years so I very much have a love-hate relationship with it. It is still wonderful to visit there but I have never regretted moving away.

        October 30, 2014 at 9:20 pm
        • Reply Kristen Hopf

          Haha! I think I might understand what you mean. Every time I’ve left London I’ve always been very ready to leave, but within a few weeks I’m back to unbearably missing it. I studied there for awhile in college and I’d love to go back, but I have lots of other places to explore first 😉

          October 30, 2014 at 9:24 pm
  • Reply Isabel

    Rome is perfection <3

    November 5, 2014 at 8:51 am
  • Reply fabiantarango

    Pretty jealous of both your domain name, and the fact that you’ve been to Italy right now.. I’ll get over it, but interesting blog 🙂 thanks for checking out mine!

    November 26, 2014 at 10:19 am
    • Reply Kristen

      Haha! Thank you! 🙂

      November 26, 2014 at 10:20 am
  • Reply Anna

    Piazza Navonna! I know it’s touristy as all hell, but it was one of my favorite spots in Rome.

    August 31, 2015 at 2:25 pm
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