Before I even embarked on my study abroad trip, I was the most excited for us to get to Italy. This destination was two weeks into our trip, but I was so excited to get there. Most of this excitement stemmed from the fact that I love pasta. I could live off of pasta. In the United States, I like to eat pasta pretty often, whether that is at a restaurant or in the comfort of my own home. However, I knew that the pasta I would get to experience in Italy would blow any perception of “good” pasta I had out the window. On our second night in Italy, we ate at a small restaurant called La Cabana in Rome. We were greeted by locals and restaurant staff who took great care of us during our meal. I ordered my favorite pasta, spaghetti alla carbonara, and could not wait for it to reach the table. When the waiter placed it down, all I could do was stare. I could not help but be excited for this plate of food. After taking my first bite, it was clear that this was the best pasta, of any kind, that I would ever eat. The ingredients were so fresh, and the pasta itself was obviously homemade. If I could have ventured back to La Cabana for every meal while in Rome, I certainly would’ve.

Not only do I love pasta, but my mom also does, so me getting to experience real Italian cuisine meant that she would be living through me. Before I got to Italy, she sent a place on Instagram called Pastaciutta, which is a small “hole-in-the-wall” type restaurant known for selling cheap, but homemade pasta. On my last day in Rome, a friend and I went to the Vatican and decided to eat at this restaurant for lunch, since it is right outside the walls of the city. It is a very tiny place, with only a few menu items, but I was excited nonetheless. I ordered a pesto pasta, which strayed from normal cheese-based appetite. While I waited on my plate, I watched the chefs prepare the fresh pasta and sauce, before plating it in paper dishes. This was arguably my second favorite pasta dish while abroad, and for only 6 dollars, it showed me that I did not have to eat fancy to eat good.