Sophia Manzi

Sarah Lawrence College

I went to Rome nervous with excitement and a large suitcase in tow unsure of what was to come. It only took a couple days to find a wonderful apartment with a fantastic Roman Signora who eventually became a close friend and ally. I found my home in San Lorenzo, a bustling student quarter a few blocks from La Sapienza. I remember one day passing a banner that hung out the window of a theater, it said “Nessuno è uno straniero a San Lorenzo,” (No one in San Lorenzo is a foreigner) it served as perfect confirmation that I had found my place. It wasn’t long before I had a rhythm: going to class, going to the market down the street, getting coffee at the bar under my palazzo, Sunday trips to the laundromat with my roommates, etc.

Rome is a jaw-dropping city that will open itself to you the more you explore it. I soon discovered it is best seen on foot. Wandering the city, exploring different neighborhoods and passing the countless stunning monuments quickly became part of my routine. I was honored to have had the privilege of stumbling across the Pantheon, the Colosseum, Piazza Navona, Piazza del Popolo as much as I liked. Soon they became dear old friends that I got to see month after month transforming from one season to the next.

I left Rome 11 months later with tears in my eyes already planning how to return to the place that became my home.