Creating “Movie Magic” in Rome

“La citta Eterna!….Rome! The Eternal City! Did no one read the info packets?” – Ms. Ungermeyer, from the Lizzie McGuire movie.

The Lizzie McGuire movie, a movie about a girl who travels to Rome and has the adventure of a lifetime. Weeks before our trip to Rome, my fellow SRISA peers and I watched the movie in anticipation for what we hoped would be our own versions of the Lizzie McGuire movie. We knew the sites to see, some phrases to say, and secretly hoped for an Italian boy named Paolo (or something just as dreamy) to whisk us away on a vespa.

Well, there wasn’t a camera crew filming our trip, and you won’t be seeing our story in theaters anytime soon, but you could say our trip to Rome had some movie magic going on. On our first day in Rome, we started off in the Vatican City. A wonderful woman named Roberta was our tour guide. She lead us through the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peters Basilica. In one word, I would describe the Vatican City as: Ornate.

SRISA students in the Vatican City

After our tour of the Vatican City, we set out on our own. We made it to Piazza Novana, the Trevi Fountain (Unfortunately under construction, but still worth seeing) and the Spanish Steps.

For me, the moment with the most “movie magic” was when we stumbled upon the Pantheon. It was later in the evening, so not many people were out and around the monuments, it was much more calm. There was a light sprinkling of rain, turning the sky pink, filling it with plush clouds, and the air with a soft coolness. I walked into the Pantheon, my first thought to go to the center, just below the Oculus of the dome. I stared straight up. My eyes widened, my mouth smiled, and I was overcome with awe and happiness. Though it is the most simple in its design out of all the other domes I’ve seen in Italian architecture, there was something about it that I couldn’t take my eyes off of. I felt so small underneath it, but so happy to be there under the beauty. Everything else around me disappeared, for a moment, it was just me and the Pantheon. I kept my gaze upwards and spun in circles. Even in a blur, the dome retained and even increased its wonder to me. I felt hopeful that somehow I could maybe be a part of the Pantheons beauty, by appreciating it. I’d go back if I could (and maybe someday I will) just to spend a few more minutes staring up at the ceiling.

My favorite monument in Rome, the Pantheon!

Day two in Rome started off at the Colosseum. We had just walked off the train, out into the sun and there it was, the giant Roman Colosseum right in front of me! Its size is impressive no matter where you look at it from. The top or the bottom, from outside or in the middle. No movie screen is big enough to capture all its power and size, trust me, you need to see it in person. It is hard to believe that human hands built this, almost 2 thousand years ago without modern technology. What would it have looked like in its original glory? A packed audience seated in marble bleachers, gladiators battling just for entertainment.

SRISA students and Professor Matilde at the Colosseum

We also made our way passed Constantine’s Arch, into the Roman Forum. Once the city center of Rome, the forum was filled with temples, markets and all things essential to everyday Roman life. Today merely all of it is in ruins, and yet there is a sense of wonder there as well. Not only wondering what it looked like, but about Roman life and the everyday Italian. Having lived in Florence for about a month, I wonder, have I gotten the true everyday Italian experience? As I continue to travel around Italy, I’ve realized that no movie can compare to seeing the country myself, and making “movie magic” my reality.

– Mari Marks

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