This week has been a pretty active week for me. I arrived back in Rome at around 10:00 PM on Sunday night from Croatia and waited for the bus to take me back to my apartment for about 20 minutes before we realized that the buses were not operating. Apparently, unannounced to us and the other 200 people waiting at the bus stops at the train station, the buses don’t run on May 1 because it is a holiday. We were surprised by this because last weekend was a huge weekend in Rome as Pope John Paul II was beautified and there was an estimated two million extra tourists in Rome. This means it was kind of a bad weekend to have no public transportation on a Sunday night. We prevailed, however, and hailed a taxi to take us to our apartments.
On Monday night, I went to my first Italian soccer game. It was a Lazio v. Juventus match. Lazio can be likened to the Mets of Rome (the team, AS Roma, can be likened to the Yankees). Lazio has always had less money than AS Roma, but this year Lazio is doing better than AS Roma. The game I went to was a big game because if Lazio won, their hope of winning the championship was still alive.
The game itself was amazing. I went with my roommate Zach, our friend, Tahli, and the assistant dean of IES Rome, Giovanna. Zach and Tahli sat in a different section than us because we could only get two handicapped tickets. Lazio looked great for the first 80 minutes and kept pressuring Juventus’ goal, but could not score. After the 80th minute, Lazio’s best player got a red card which meant the team had to play a man down for the rest of the game. In the 87th minute, Lazio gave up a goal. Ten minutes later, the match was over as well as Lazio’s season. Their fans were devastated.
After going to the game, I realized why I act the way I do when I watch sporting events. Italians scream, jump up and down, throw temper tantrums, and curse more than I have ever seen an American do at a baseball or football game. We had a little 8 or 9 year old boy two rows in front of us cursing for the whole game.
I had American ballpark food, too! They had hot dogs with ketchup and mustard and soda from the tap. The only downside was that it was Pepsi!
After going to the Lazio game, I decided that my trip to Rome would not be complete without going to a Roma soccer game. As a Yankees fan, I need to support the equivalent team of Rome. I decided that my trip to Capri could wait until next summer when I go backpacking and that I would stay in Rome this weekend. The game is tonight and it has a great match-up – AS Roma v. AC Milano. Milan is by far the best team in all of Italy (this year and historically). To use another analogy, it is like they are the Green Bay Packers. As if all that wasn’t enough to make tonight’s game sound exciting, Roma’s chances of winning the championship were kept alive after Lazio lost last week. Roma moved above Lazio and has a chance to keep their season alive!
I apologize to all the soccer haters, but I have one more thing to mention. On Tuesday morning, I had a field study for my architecture class to the Foro Italico which was the Olympic Sports Complex built by Benito Mussolini. We saw the swimming pools, track, tennis courts, and, yes, the soccer stadium. It was really cool!
You don’t see a monument commemorating Benito Mussolini every day
Soccer Stadium – Stadio Olimpico
Larger than life statues surround the track.
Tuesday night, two of my friends from my Italian class and I went to something called “apertivo”. Apertivo is basically a free buffet you get when you buy an overpriced drink between the hours of 6:00 PM and 8:30 PM. My wine cost five euro, but I got an all you can eat buffet along with it! The best part is they keep taking new and different types of food out. I was stuffed!
After apertivo, we went to a movie theater owned by an Italian filmmaker, Nanni Moretti, to see his most recent film “Habemus Papam” or “We Have a Pope”. The film was in Italian and had no subtitles, but we each understood more than 85% of it. At the end of the film, we pieced it all together. The film itself was about a Pope who is elected, but is not ready to become the Pope and runs away. It can be likened to a coming-of-age story of a really old guy. My friends and I agreed that we hated the ending, though!
I had a pretty normal week of classes this week. I ended my “real classes” on Wednesday, though, because I had a field study to Cinecitta, or the Hollywood of Italy, with my Italian class. It was really cool and we saw how they make a movie from start to finish. They also took us to see the sets of Gangs of New York and the HBO series, Rome. I really enjoyed it!
I have been cooped up in my apartment since Friday morning writing a paper for my Italy and the European Union class. The first draft is finally done, and I only have a few quick edits left which should only take another hour or so!Next up is a three page paper for my architecture class, but it should only take a few hours. Then, I have to translate a bunch of transcripts from Italian into English. I have no idea how long that is going to take! Our film class is editing our film, so we only have two more sessions to do that. I hope we get it done on time.
Note: This post was originally published on May 7, 2011 in a blog entitled “Romeing Around Europe” which chronicled my study abroad experience.