Rylan Chromy Rome 23/24
Hi! I’m Rylan Chromy and I am a junior Sorin Scholar studying architecture! I also have minors in both European Studies and Italian. Since I am a junior “arkie,” that means that I’m spending my entire school year in Rome! I can’t believe that I will be here until May of next year, that is still absolutely wild to me!
I’ve already been in Rome for over a month now and it has been such a change of lifestyle for me, and I love it. Before coming to Rome, I spent my summer working in Colorado on a conservation corps for the Rocky Mountain Conservancy. During that time, I was living inside of a tent, so you can imagine how crazy it’s been going from a tent in the mountains to the Eternal City. I have absolutely fallen in love with it though.
Rome quickly has become less of a study abroad and more of a home for me as I’ve learned the city. It’s been so easy to just fall in love with the city and give myself to it. One of the reasons it’s been so easy is because of all the classes I’m taking while here. The biggest advantage of studying architecture in Rome is that you’re one of the most historically packed cities in the world. Since we have that benefit, most of our classes are spent outside of the classroom, learning in the streets of the city.
We take classes on both history and urbanism, two classes that are taught almost exclusively within the fabric of Rome. We journey through the city from neighborhood to neighborhood discussing the significance of an area and how it’s different from those around us. Seeing so many different parts of the city really make it feel like it’s alive and constantly growing. It is so cool. Our drawing class takes us around the city too and gives us the opportunity to capture that life through art and I will forever be jealous of my current self for having that opportunity.
To begin this semester however, I was able to continue my research on “Sports as a Diplomatic Tool” in Dublin during the Aer Lingus Football Classic. After beginning my research in August of 2022, I was able to work directly with OnLocation (the company who produces the event) this year. As a part of my research, I worked with the OnLocation media team to help prepare for the event, day of. My favorite part of that day was preparing the field for the trophy presentation after the conclusion of the game.
Overall, my first month in Rome has been absolutely amazing. I feel like I’m learning something new every time I walk down a new street. The city of Rome is magical and I am so excited to see what else my year has to hold.
I can’t believe that the month of October is already over! Time is flying by and that makes me so sad!
The month of October has been absolutely jammed packed and I have yet to catch my breath. The month started just as the architecture students left Rome for our first field trip of the year. This trip was a weeklong trip to the Tuscany region. The trip’s major two stops were Siena and Florence, but we also took trips to Pienza, Montepulciano, San Gimignano, and Lucca.
The trip was so much fun, and I fell in love with the region. The city of Siena has my heart. The town was the coziest place I think I may have ever been and I can’t wait to go back. After Siena, we went to Florence which was really exciting for me. The rich history of Florence has always been something I loved, especially with all of the brilliant minds that have come from that city, from Alberti, to Dante, and even Machiavelli. It was incredible to be immersed in such a rich history.
After the field trip ended, our fall break began. For break, a group of friends and I made a trip to Spain and then to the south of France. We started in Barcelona and spent time touring the city and the architectural works of Antoni Gaudí. The Sagrada Família was one of the most spectacular buildings I have ever seen. From Barcelona, we journeyed to Madrid and had a few relaxing days there spending time in gardens and museums.
When our time in Madrid was done, we flew to Marseille. Marseille was a very pretty town but the nature around it was even better. We went to Parc National des Calanques and spent a day there hiking, beaching, swimming, and cliff jumping. It was definitely my favorite part of our trip. After that, we spent a day in Aix-en-Provence and then journeyed to Nice. Nice was definitely my favorite of the cities we went to as it was just absolutely gorgeous, and our time spent there was very relaxing. One of the days in Nice I was able to take a day trip to Monaco too!
The semester picked up again after break just where we left it. Immediately, we began working on our next studio project, a palazzo across the river from Castel Sant’Angelo. This will be an interesting project to take on as it’s the first studio project that I will be taking on relatively independently. We have very little instruction for this project and have to set my timeline myself. It should be a very interesting November with this project!
November was easily my favorite month out here in Rome. The month started with a class trip to the Veneto region. We went all over the region with stops in Venice, Vicenza, Verona, Mantua, Padua, and Bologna. Venice was one of the coolest cities I have ever been to and to be honest, I may have even liked it more than the city of Siena. The culture of the city was so fun, and it wasn’t even that crowded as November is not the tourist season there by any means. After Venice, we went to Vicenza and spent a few nights there. The food was delicious, and the sunsets were gorgeous. We took a day trip to Padua from Vicenza, and I saw one of my favorite churches in Italy so far in the Basilica of St. Anthony. As the trip continued, we made our way to Mantua, where I got the chance to see one of my favorite buildings in Italy, Palazzo del Te.
After getting back from this trip, the Rome Global Gateway hosted an event that took a group of students to an AS Roma match. It was one of the coolest sporting events I have ever gone to. The atmosphere of an Italian soccer match was unlike anything I’ve been to in the past, including Notre Dame football, and I can’t wait to go back. This game even inspired me to go to a Premier League match in London this upcoming January.
Classes were also really good over the course of the month too. My urbanism class came to a conclusion, and I couldn’t be sadder. It was such a fun class to get to go walk around the city of Rome with one of my favorite professors I’ve had at Notre Dame with Professor Mazzola. I’m devastated that I won’t have him again while at Notre Dame. My graphics class has also been amazing, and I have gotten so much better as an artist because of it. We had a figure drawing session in class with a live model as well which is something I have never done.
One other thing I was excited about was that we got a Thanksgiving break, despite being outside of the United States. To celebrate, I flew to Greece and met up with a group of other Notre Dame students currently studying across Europe. We spent three days in Athens just exploring the city and everything it had to offer, especially the food. I had Gyros instead of Turkey for Thanksgiving, and honestly wish I could do that every year.
After thanksgiving though, deadlines for studio have been fast approaching and the real architecture grind has begun. I haven’t pulled any all-nighters yet, but I think I might have too soon. I can’t believe that when deadlines are past though, that the semester will have gone with it and I’ll only have one more left here in Rome. It has gone too fast.