What a weekend!
My first weekend in Rome was quite exciting. I started off with a tour of the Ghetto Ebrao and Teatro Marcelo, then went to the beach on Saturday, and to the Sagra dell'uva (Festival of the Grape) in the nearby city of Marino.
The tour on Friday night was pretty interesting; however, the whole thing was in Italian so I didn't catch everything that was going on. We visited what used to be the Jewish Ghetto, where the streets are very narrow and there are many fun surprises around every corner. Here is a picture of the Teatro Marcelo:
The next day I went with my roommate, Eva, and another girl from her Italian class to the beach. It was still very warm! I wasn't expecting it to be warm enough to swim, but once we got there I regretted not bringing a swimsuit.
On Sunday, we went to the wine festival in Marino, a small town about 30 km from Rome. It was quite the Italian experience! There weren't any tourists there, lots of culture, and I felt like it was definitely the "real Italy." The festival's history is very interesting. In 1571, a battle was won on the 7th of October, the same day as a procession of Our Lady of the Rosary and Pope Pius V attributed the victory to the intercession of the Virgin Mary. In 1716 Pope Clement XI extended the feast of the Most Holy Rosary that was started in Marino to the whole Church, to be celebrated on the first Sunday in October.
In 1925, the townspeople decided to have a festival to celebrate the God's gift of grapes to the town, which make the wine the town is known for throughout Italy. So, all rolled into one big festival are the celebration of a battle won, the procession of Our Lady of the Rosary, and lots and lots of wine!
Here are some children dressed in costumes preparing for the grand procession:
The nobles going to meet the victorious soldiers:
The miracle of the wine fountains (craziness!!):
I also had a great birthday here in Rome, I went out to a cafe with about 10 others from my Italian class and we stayed there most of the night. Overall, life is good here! The things I enjoy the most though are the small treasures that are hidden from the crowds that I come across on a daily basis pretty much. The beautiful churches tucked away in side alleys, fountains in the middle of residential areas, rose gardens I come across on the way to or from different destinations.