All roads really do lead to Rome

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You’ve heard the myriad of clichés: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and “all roads lead to Rome.” However, the longer I study in Rome, the more I realize they are true.
For example, “When in Rome” is definitely a key piece of advice for getting the full cultural experience of Italy; the Italians have a completely different lifestyle than Americans.
Food is the most precious commodity here: not fast and easy food, but food prepared with the same artistry that Michelangelo used when painting the Sistine Chapel.
While I have no qualms whatsoever about consuming this delicious food and this massive intake of carbohydrates, I’m shocked that I have yet to see a single fat—or even slightly fat—Italian. Touring some of the historic sights in Italy,
I learned that the Romans used to build vomitoriums where after a big meal everyone would throw up afterward in the specifically assigned room. This may be true of ancient Rome, but the practice died out a while ago. So how is it they stay so fit?
It didn’t take long to realize why the carbs seemed to have no effect on the Italians. Along with massive amounts of carbs there are also massive amounts of walking. This may be because driving in Rome is nearly impossible unless you have excellent hand-eye coordination, are skilled at driving on the sidewalk and can parallel park in spaces that would be difficult to park a bike between, all the while ignoring the blaring horns. So walking and the public transport system are the next option for most.
Next, I realized that Rome really wasn’t built in a day. Along with staying in shape, there are so many sites to see in Rome that walking is the only real way to see everything.
Every building seems to have such a history and beauty that has stood the test of time. Centuries upon centuries were spent building this beautiful city, so there are endless things to see. Sitting in cafés is another way to attempt to take it all in, and Italians seem to do this a lot.
The Italians love their coffee and wine as much as their food and will sit, drink and casually people-watch for long periods of time.
This really makes you slow down and realize the beauty of the people and buildings. Many Italians exude a confidence in manner in which they dress and hold themselves. It is not a cocky arrogance, but their manner and walk shows that they are proud of who they are.
Finally, all roads do lead to Rome. If you look at a map of Italy, Rome seems to be the main intersection. Metaphorically, I would say that I believe Rome is an amazing experience that you just have to see firsthand. All of the statues exemplify the greatness of mankind and a strong Catholic faith in such a way that leaves me speechless. All I can think is bella, bella, bella. No wonder the Italians use that word so much. There really is no other way to describe it.

Maria Caruso is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, studying in Rome.