Post for Friday, Jan. 8, second day in Rome. It was cloudy in the morning and lasted the entire day before a hard, but relatively brief rain. I have not really taken any photos yet due to the potential for rain today, and not wanting to look like a total tourist as I still try to orient myself in the maze of inner Rome. I started my day later than usual and went we a half a dozen others to get cellphones. At the TIM store we met several other students from America, some from Dartmouth and some from Cornell University. For lunch we ate at a pizza place nearby. They have a variety of kinds of pizza, smaller in size, and cut off the amount you request. The cost is determined by weight. I had half a pizza, about the size of a very large slice, for €3 and a bottle of Nestea for €2.

To get to the cellphone store we crossed the Tiber River to the north through a fine shopping district to a major road called Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. (I haven’t even began to try to remember street names.) There were several shops and restaurants in this area. In front of a McDonald’s (the only recognizable chain anything I’ve seen so far) there were some young boys smoking. On our way back through the narrow vias we stopped at a household goods store for towels (salviette). No luck so we returned to the apartment. At this point it was near 5:30pm or so. Crossing the bridge we ran into two others, who I continued on with to a supermarket.

The supermarket, Panella is on our side of the river on Via Natale Del Grande (street). To get there we walk from our apartment along Via dei Genovesi, another very narrow alley street, about a five block distance till we hit the major road Viale di Trastevere, that crosses the river and has a tramline running down the center. From there we cross and walk down about two blocks until Via Natale Del Grande, which is opposite from a piazza. The first block of Via Natale Del Grande is wider and limited to pedestrians and is tree lined on both sides. There is an art supply shop along this block. The next block with Panella is much narrower and open to cars. Of course the street is used for much more than that. The sides are full of parked scooters, compact cars, and several portions are built out with patios for restaurant dining space.

The supermarket was very subtle from the outside, as most shops seem to be. The front is very small and contains only a few checkout lanes. Like a supermarket we stopped at earlier near Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, it was made up of several smaller rooms and spaces connected to each other, but probably nearly twice as large. I bought some bread, prosciutto, cheese, some generic Italian cereal, and a liter-and-a-half bottle of Ben Cola for a little over €8. My first “self-prepared meal” here was a sandwhich and cola.

Later this evening a friend Jamin and I went out exploring in the general direction of the Colosseum, not too far from our apartment across the river. We did not take the most direct route, but as always interesting. It was not quite as large as I had imagined, but certainly impressive. Our roundabout exploration ended up being a little under 4.5 miles, or a little over 7 km. (see route here.

There’s so much of Rome I have yet to see and many famous sites I haven’t even thought of yet. Tomorrow is Saturday or Sabato and I look forward to spending another day exploring, maybe even take some photos. I’d like to do some map sketching and some digital diagrams, but likely won’t get to that in the next few days. I believe mapping and spatial drawing will be a major focus of our first few weeks of study, which begins Monday. Rome is certainly a city where maps are critical.