by Courtney Bettin, CCI Greenheart Travel Exchange student in Italy
It’s finally summer in Naples. The sun is shining brightly, not a cloud in the sky, not a worry on my mind. I’ve been spending a lot of time outside sitting in the coffee bars, eating gelato, or walking around window shopping. Most of my time is spent with Alessandra. I cannot even express how grateful I am for her total acceptance of me. We are like two halves of a whole, except one half is English and one half is Italian. She knows what I’m thinking without me even having to say anything. She is so thoughtful and compassionate and I haven’t been this close with someone in such a short amount of time. As I only have 7 weeks left in my program I am at a loss at how on earth I’m ever going to live without her. She is the one person I can turn to no matter. I’m really going to miss her and I can only hope that we will stay in touch and I can continue to come back to Naples and visit her whenever possible. We have already made plans so she can return to Canada with me this summer.
On Sunday we visited Rome for the first time! Pino, Elisa, Matilde and I, along with the other exchange student Avery all piled in the car early in the morning and drove the two and a half hours to Rome. The first thing we visited was the Vatican. It is incredible, truly. Saint Peter’s Basilica is one of the most outstanding pieces of artwork in the world. We all walked around the square, taking pictures and literally just gawking at the church. The details all come together so perfectly as one and give it a real presence. The line to get inside is longer than the ones at Disneyland, something I didn’t think possible, but it went fairly quickly and before we knew it we were standing in one of the most holy places on the face of the earth. Avery, Matilde and I bought tickets and took the elevator to the top of the church. Once walking up spiral staircases and making your way through the crooked walls of the dome you are able to overlook the entire city and let me tell you, it’s indescribable. What a sight.
We then walked through the streets of Rome looking for the Trevi Fountain. Rome is the most complicated and confusing cities ever built. I was lost in an instant. We ended up coming across more than one tourist attraction including the Piazza Navona where two architects are at war with each other and the Pantheon where Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino’s tomb is. My host mother makes an excellent tour guide. Being both an architect and an art history teacher, she knows every detail about anything you can set your eyes on. She gave us a good background on everything we saw.
Finally we found the Trevi and it is without a doubt one of the highlights of my trip. It gives off an essence of pure magic and making a wish in it fills you with such triumph. I felt like a piece of history myself, making a wish as hundreds of thousands of people had done before me hoping the fountain would be true to it’s word. The tradition of the Trevi is to throw a coin over your shoulder into the fountain and if it hits the very bottom without touching any other coins your wish will come true. Here’s hoping mine made it to the bottom!
Continuing onward we finished the day at the Colosseum. It’s just as beautiful and grand as I had always imagined it would be. We didn’t go inside it but I was just content to sit and stare and it. There’s a certain unexplainable feeling about seeing all the spectacles you’ve read about your whole life, dreaming about someday being able to see for yourself. It fills you with a sense of self accomplishment and happiness that bubbles out of every pore. There’s nothing like it.