We've had a busy few days! Thursday Marie and I had class at Santa Maria Maggiore which was great because it's right outside our building, and also because I was genuinely interesting in learning more about it since I pass it multiple times a day. Just a few interesting facts, apparently it is one of Pope Francis' favorite churches and upon his election as Pope he went there to pray. It is also where the artist Bernini is buried, one of my favorite artists. It is such a beautiful church, after St. Peter's it is definitely my favorite.
Friday we didn't have class until Italian and since I haven't been feeling so well I just took that time to rest and do some work. After Italian a group of Loyola girls went to this restaurant that my friend's Lara and Sophie found where you get a full meal and wine for 15 euro each and it was right by the Italian school kind of tucked away (though apparently Mariah Carey went there!) They had been raving about it and we all wanted to try it. It's a fixed price menu with a few options for each course. I got truffle tortellini to start that was absolutely insane. Then I got meatballs as my second course, a salad, and panna cotta for dessert. We were all stuffed by the end, but it was such a fun dinner, our waiter was really friendly and was intrigued by us Americans. Great place, we will definitely go back.
On Saturday we woke up bright and early to head to the buffalo mozzerella farm which we were all insanely excited for because everyone had been told by people who had done the program previously that this would be the best meal we'd have all trip. The farm was about two hours south of us in a small little town. Driving through it, it was hard to picture people actually living there, in the middle of nowhere Italy. It was a bit run down, honestly not very pretty but there were probably about 5 wedding dress shops for this little town. The farm though was up on a hill so even in the fog (it wasn't a very nice day) had beautiful views of the country side. We first went into the actually factory to see them making the mozzarella. It's a small family owned business and I have to say I have never tasted such amazing mozzarella, probably because it was so fresh! They literally would hand massive gooey wonderful pieces of it out to us as they made it there in the factory, still warm. It was like died and went to heaven. Then we got to go look and pet the buffalo! It smelled pretty gross but it was worth it. We got to get so close! The baby buffalo were definitely the cutest, just a few days old! Then we went into the restaurant they run there and sat down for our much anticipated meal. They immediately brought out the antipasti plates with proscuitto, and two other types of meat, as well as three different kinds of cheeses and bread. Then they brought out eggplant, these based potato cake things with pancetta in it, a kind of cold fritatta thing, and I think even a few more dishes. No joke it was so much we all thought this was the meal. But oh how wrong we were. Once we finished scarfing that down our program director stands up and says "ok all, now we're ready to start the meal" Everyone just looked at each other in shock. They brought out a pasta course, one with chick peas and a kind of light oil based sauce, and one with meat and red sauce, like a ragu. The next course was a large pork chop and potatoes. Then salad and fruit and then desert which was an assortment of different brownies and cakes. My only regret was not spreading out my eating more, I ate way to much at the beginning to be able to fully appreciate the other courses! They served us red wine with the meal, but it was like a bubbly red wine which at first I wasn't sure that I liked, but it was good just different. After dinner they served two types of liquor which I think is supposed to be good for digestion or something. You could pick from a sherry like liquor or a fennel based one and they serve them in little shot glasses. Our program coordinator Aurora stopped us all as they were pouring them and said frantically in her think italian accent, "PLEASE NO SHOTS. it is mean to be SIPPED. Shots are sacrilegious." And then she looked at our table of girls, and this one is for you mom, said "but ladies don't do shots anyway, right?". It was a really fun day, but somehow exhausting, even though we didn't really do all that much except eat. Everyone passed out on the bus, probably from a food coma.
Saturday night we went to a neighborhood called Testaccio which we had heard had good clubs, ones that were not as Americanized. It was really fun, and probably the most Italian place we have been to yet. It's so weird though because there are a lot of people our age and older, but then theres a whole bunch of like 16-18 year olds, really young looking kids. And it's so bizarre because it's entirely legal. Still haven't gotten used to that yet.
Today we went to our first soccer game!! Roma vs. Parma. It was organized through our Italian school and one of the Italian teachers took a big group of us who signed up to go. It was pouring rain and it took us forever to get into the stadium but once we did it was SO much fun!! The atmosphere was unreal, I knew the Italians liked their soccer but it was so cool to experience. Right before the game they all sing I guess the anthem of Rome (it must be a thing?) and everyone waves their flags and banners and everyone hold up their Roma scarves (we got them before the game!) They even have a smoke machine that emits yellow and red smoke, that Rome colors, on both sides of the stadium. And then when they announce the players everyone goes wild and as each headshot and name appears on the jumbotron they all yell the last name of each player and cheer. It was really funny seeing all the little boys get into, already die hard fans. Unfortunately, after the first quarter or so the game was cancelled due to rain. Still though, so much fun and we really want to go again. The rain did not let up and we were freezing and wet when we got home so Marie and I crawled into bed and took a nap. When we woke up Maria had tortellini soup waiting for us with bruschetta and mozzarella which hit the spot.
Can't believe it's already the end of another week! This coming week is the last of my first Italian class which is crazy! The time is just flying by, it needs to slow down! I was thinking about it today and I think someone is going to have to drag me on that plane kicking and screaming come May...I don't know how I'll ever leave this incredible city.
More to come