Our class had the opportunity to stay in Rome for about 5 days this past week. Rome is a huge city with so so much to see! We spent most days as a class taking tours around ancient Rome, the Vatican, and other sites here and there, but had one day free to ourselves. A handful of us decided to tag along with Dr. Lombardini and head over to some nearby botanical gardens. It was incredible to be in the middle of this huge, busy city, and all of the sudden step into this beautiful piece of land completely consumed by nature. Botanical gardens are already amazing to see, but when you have someone pointing out cool and unusual characteristics about different plants it is even better. Dr. Lombardini pointed out a cork tree as I was about to fly on past it. I was so fascinated by the fact that I was looking at a tree that produces wine cork. We all had Keith break out his knife so we could take our own pieces of cork home! We also stopped to look at one plant that had its stomata on the upper side, which is also covered by waxes allowing water to completely roll off of the surface of the leaf. Of course we had some fun with that and decided to make our own drinking fountain! The garden had a section set up as a Japanese garden. We saw a rose garden, walked through a greenhouse full of succulents, played around in a forest of bamboo, and did a million other little things. It was one of my favorite parts of our Rome trip; to be secluded while still in the heart of this huge city that we were in.