For most people, Sundays are for two things: church and being lazy. Or, if you’re a college student, they are for catching up on all the homework you’ve been procrastinating on all weekend.
In Rome, Sunday mornings are mainly for church, as almost the entire country of Italy is Roman Catholic. One really interesting thing about churches in Rome is that they will not let you in if you are wearing clothing that is too “revealing,” such as shorts, short skirts, tank tops, clothes that seem torn or old, or anything that might reveal a woman’s shoulders. This is not just a rule for Sunday Mass; it is actually a rule for every day. We were advised to make sure we wear appropriate clothing when having a “site visit” for class, because students have missed field trips in the past due to “inappropriate” attire.
After morning Mass, it is quite common to either go grocery shopping or just go for a walk through one of the local farmers markets or Sunday markets, which, to me, highly resemble swap meets. In fact, every Sunday, a market sets up right in front of our dorms! The entire block from start to finish is filled with vendors selling anything from fresh fruit to furniture!
For most of UCEAP participants, this week is midterms season, but how can you not participate in Italian culture when it is everywhere around you? In the span of one city block, you can literally experience history from B.C. to ancient Rome to medieval times to the Renaissance, and all the way back to the present! So the real question is: to study, or not to study?