I received some somewhat troubling news today. No, no, it’s nothing serious, unless you’re a lover of cats. Specifically, Roman cats.
During my junior year at DePauw University, I had the amazing opportunity (Thanks, Mom and Dad!) to spend a semester in Rome. I lived in an amazing apartment in Gianicolense, otherwise known as the Janiculum hill, made some incredible friends, and indulged in La Dolce Vita for five amazing months. It was an incredible experience and I enjoyed every moment of it, so much so that I have made a pact, a promise, to return to Rome at least once every decade. I had my first adventure in Rome with my Mom and older brother, Chris, when I was a freshman in high school.
Here’s me, sporting some fantastic red hair, my brother, Chris, and my Mom. I was kind of a punk kid back then. I blame my brother for that.
So, then when I knew I wanted to study abroad, I knew that I wanted to go back to Rome and, as they say, do as the Romans do. And boy, did I! Days spent lounging in piazzas, sketching fountains for my drawing class, nights spent sipping cheap wine and walking along the Tiber. Eating suppli after class and finding the best panino in Roma.
Anyway – I’m sure you’ll all hear more about my study abroad adventures in future posts, but I’m getting sidetracked. Because I love Rome! Some of my classmates and I started saying, “Rome is home,” and I know that we all still miss it.
But – so I mentioned that I lived in Gianicolense, which is kind of on the outskirts of Rome. It’s nice if you want to visit the Vatican, but not if you have classes right next door to Piazza Navona, basically in Centro Storico. So every morning my flatmates and I would jump on the tram to get to our Italian language classes by 9AM. Our apartment was literally on the last stop of the tram and school was on the other end. Altogether, the tram ride could take up to an hour, but it was never a hassle. Sometimes there were creepy people to watch, or singing gypsies to listen to, and if not, I always had my trusty iPod to listen to some Lady Gaga.
The last stop on the other end of our darling Tram #8, let us off right into the footsteps of history, in Largo Argentina. This place was the very place where Julius Caesar was assassinated on the Ides of March in 44 BCE. The most interesting thing, by far, though is the presence of a cat sanctuary right within the ruins.
That’s right. You heard me. Cat sanctuary.
Sadly, my dear roommate L sent me this new story (you can read it here) alerting us that the Romans are considering shutting down i gatti di Roma! Where will all of those adorable kitties go? I have such fond memories of tromping past there in an awful mood, missing home, and being greeted by a large black and white kitty that I had nicknamed Tubby. Tubby always made my day better. Everyone who came to visit me got the tour. Sure, the Colosseum is great and the Vatican is gorgeous, but have you seen the cat sanctuary?!
Forza Tubby! Forza i gatti di roma! Forza Roma!