“Me” Time: Gianicolo Hill

10 Feb


It’s hard to believe that I’ve been living in Rome for exactly one month. Time has flown by. As much as it feels like I just arrived yesterday, since I got here I’ve learned so much about myself, other people, and life in general. This is pretty much my first “real world” experience as an adult. I’m cooking every meal on my own, booking trips, and traveling across the continent. For the first time I’ve realized that I don’t have an endless supply of money, so I needed to learn how to budget. Although I’ve been living on my own at college for a couple years and have traveled to several different places around the world before coming here, all of those experiences feel like training for this whirlwind of a semester abroad.

I can’t say that I’ve been homesick yet (key word: yet), but obviously I do miss home. I have a major FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Of course I do miss my family, but I know they’ll always be there for me. More than anything I miss Marquette, all my friends, and those damn cheese curds! When I say Marquette I’m definitely not talking about the schoolwork. I’m trying to convince myself that I’m actually in school here, but it’s just not working. Not only is it probably the fact that I only have 3 days of school a week, I also think it’s hard to believe you’re at school when you come from the industrial city of Milwaukee, WI to the ancient city of Rome where you’re surrounded by history, adventures, amazing food, gorgeous people, and palm trees (Still trying to figure that one out!).

I LOVE SUNDAYS! Back at home I hate them because Sundays mean waking up at the break of dawn, heading to the library, and not leaving until you’re about to die of starvation or you finish your work (aka never). But here Sundays are just another exploration day, yet much more relaxing. As the weather’s getting warmer there are more people out and about since all the businesses are closed on Sundays.

All of the cafes I wanted to go to were closed, so I started my day at some random cafe near the Pantheon with un caffe e un mille-feuille, or napoleon. Yeah, don’t worry.. I took the “tinier” piece.


After walking around for a while and doing some quick grocery shopping for our “family” dinners this week, we headed back towards campus. It was beautiful out. 50 degrees, clear sky, and the sun was beating down on me. I was not about to go and sit in my apartment for the rest of the day. Instead, I decided to hike up to Gianicolo Hill. It’s right up the street from campus, but a very very uphill hike. If I wasn’t wearing a jacket and carrying my purse and groceries I probably would have been fine, but halfway up I felt like Fat Amy.

fat amy

Never the less, I made it to the top and honestly couldn’t believe my eyes. These pictures will never do the view justice. Before really soaking in the scenery I popped a squat on a bench in front of the massive Fontana dell’Acqua Paola. Half because it felt like the perfect “reflection location” and half because this fatass needed to catch her breath.




It was upon this hill that in 1849 Garibaldi defended the Roman Republic against the French forces. Aside from the breathtaking view of the city and its numerous domes and bell towers, there are many monuments atop the hill honoring Garibaldi and the fallen soldiers of the Italian Independence wars.

Independence War Memorial

Independence War Memorial



Manfredi Lighthouse

Manfredi Lighthouse

The walk was so relaxing and peaceful. It was nice to be surrounded by so much greenery and be able to breathe in the fresh scent of the cyprus trees. Instead of continuing my walk on the gravel road, I thought it would be smarter to hike along the empty dirt trail where if someone wanted to rob, kidnap or kill me, they probably could have and no one would have seen a thing (I’ve watched too many scary movies in my life). I followed the quiet path up to a flight of stone steps that lead to the tippy top of Gianicolo Hill.

Garibaldi Monument

Garibaldi Monument


The overlook was packed with people sitting on the ledge, street vendors, music, and a bar hut (keeping this in mind for the future..) The cobblestone is covered with confetti and champagne corks because of all the Carnevale (Mardi Gras) festivities. I don’t know where Tuesday’s festivities will begin, but I’d love to start at the top of the hill with a bottle of champagne to watch the fireworks (Once again, hopeless romantic). Kids were running around in costumes and face paint and I followed the winding road to a vibrant carousel with flashy lights and little kids climbing all over it. I wanted to get on SO BAD. It took so much out of me to just walk away..



Trippy trees

Trippy trees

It was such a nice day to clear my head and appreciate this home away from home. I can not thank my parents enough for this unbelievable experience. I wake up every morning and pinch myself. I’m waiting to wake up from this dream. My parents have sacrificed so much for the life they’ve given me. They could have chosen to travel the world, but instead they have made me the luckiest girl in the world. I don’t know how I can ever thank them enough. Love you so much mom and dad!

Ew. Sorry for being all sentimental. That was kinda gross. Back to reality – the festivities continue tomorrow (my friend’s 21st birthday), Tuesday (Mardi Gras), and then PRAGUE for the weekend!! HERE WE GO PEOPLE!

Never a dull moment in Roma!




One Response to ““Me” Time: Gianicolo Hill”

  1. Judy Cerone February 12, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

    Marlo, I know Jillian and Big Rich appreciate your feelings and thankfulness. You are “that girl”. your Nani Judy

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