As I looked at the beautiful paintings that covered the ceiling, I could not help but stop and stare. St. Peter’s Basilica was the most beautiful building I saw not only on my European excursion but also in my life. For ten days in July, my mother, uncle, aunt-in-law, and myself went on a ten-day vacation in Italy and France. I had been to Paris before, but Rome was a new mystery waiting to be debunked. I knew I loved eating pasta and appreciated history, but I still did not know what to expect in the boot-shaped country.
The first five days of the trip were spent in Rome, Italy, which I soon discovered was a city unlike any other. Rome was rich with history and full of people. I was stunned to find my hotel was a mere four blocks from the Coliseum, which was located in the heart of the bustling city. During my stay, I visited all of the traditional places, including the Coliseum, the ancient Forum, Pantheon, and the Trevi fountain. My favorite part, however, was seeing St. Peter’s Basilica. Construction of this cathedral began in 1506 and was not finished until 120 years later. Upon seeing the beautiful, detailed murals lining the walls and ceiling, the ornate sculptures, and overall grandeur of the cathedral, I realized why it took over one hundred years to build. It is incredible and almost impossible to imagine how people could conceive and actually erect such a large building.
Outside of seeing the incredible St. Peter’s Basilica in the quaint Vatican City, I had my fondest memories in between tours when my family and I explored the city independently. Unlike most large American cities, Rome does not have drive-thrus, Targets, Wal-Marts etc. In fact, I only saw two McDonald’s in the entire city! (They even had fresh sandwiches on the menu, how cute!) Instead, there were a huge number of restaurants, usually two to three per block. Life in Rome is not as hasty and fast-paced as life in LA, which was very refreshing; leisure and relaxing seem to be greatly valued. The food was actually to die for — I think I must have had pasta at least twice a day. All in all, Rome was the best and most unique city I had seen in my entire life. Visiting the Italian countryside for a day was beautiful and seeing Paris was exciting; however, neither topped my love of Rome.