In all of my four years in Italy I’ve lived in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome. I loved the narrow cobblestoned streets and the lively atmosphere day and night, not to mention being within walking distance from both John Cabot University campuses. Over the years I’ve found my favorite restaurants, made friends with locals, and discovered where the best espresso is made. This semester, though, my final semester at JCU, I decided to move to Prati, the neighborhood bordering the northern Vatican walls.
I arrived in the middle of the day in mid-August, a.k.a the most deserted time in Rome. Most Italians take their holiday during the weeks around ferragosto, so virtually every shop and restaurant is closed, save the more touristy spots. I love August in Rome because, despite how hot and humid it is, it is the one time when I feel like the city is quiet. Being from Chicago, I’ve lived in a big city my entire life and it’s completely surreal to experience a city with less than half of its regular inhabitants. Hot days don’t seem as hot when you’re the only one walking down the street or standing in front of one of Rome’s many wondrous monuments.
Prati is very different than Trastevere. It is a much newer district of Rome, only built after Italy’s unification in 1871. It covers the area from Castel Sant’Angelo, along the Tiber up to Piazza Mazzini and over to the Vatican walls. Walking through the streets, you are surrounded by the bustle of smartly dressed businesspeople on their way to or from work, or maybe getting some retail therapy on the neighborhood’s main street – via Cola di Rienzo. Prati is also home to some of Rome’s best restaurants, both Italian and international.
I’m in love with Prati’s large variety of beautiful architecture and wide, tree-lined boulevards. If you’re deciding where to live next semester, don’t be afraid to make a change. Trastevere is beautiful, but Rome is made up of a lot more neighborhoods than many students realize!
Class of 2017
Hometown: Evanston, Illinois