By Helena Wahlstrom
Photos by Weekend in Italy.
What walks on two legs, glides on water, or zooms down ancient cobblestone streets on two or four wheels? It could be you, if you’re planning on heading to Rome. There are many ways to experience the majestic city, and next time you go, why not try something new?
Weekend in Italy, an online booking service, allows visitors to enjoy Rome in a variety of ways. Here’s a list of alternatives to move you through the capital city of Italy. Some of them might surprise you!
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When it comes to locomotion, there are few ways that are cheaper and healthier than the old classic: walking. Pack a pair of comfortable shoes and you’ll find that despite its size, Rome is an extremely walkable city.
Weekend in Italy offers four walking tours: the Vatican excursion, tour of the Vatican gardens, visit to the Vatican museums and the Sistine Chapel, and a historical walk to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.
Or if you’re feeling independent, leave your comfy hotel room behind and set out on your own! In Rome, spectacular sights await around every corner. And since you are walking, what better excuse to stop at every enticing bistro and gelateria you come across? With the statues, fountains and piazzas of Rome surrounding you, there is hardly a better setting in which to burn those calories.
Slower pace allows you to view sights and visit locations as long as you want.
Freedom – you are not tied down to a bike or car. So go anywhere!
It doesn’t get much cheaper than walking.
Can get tiring, especially for those who are older or in bad shape
Watch out for traffic and pickpockets, and be careful where you walk, especially at night.
Beware sunburn and heat exhaustion. If you go during the warmer months, wear a hat and plenty of sunscreen, and drink lots of water.
On a bike, you’ll have the benefits of walking — exercise, fresh air (especially if you pedal beyond the metropolis fumes) – but in a faster and maybe even more fun format. Weekend in Italy offers a new Appian Way bike tour, on which visitors can bike on the famous, strategically important road of the Roman Empire.
The tour is designed for lovers of history, archaeology, nature and, of course, gorgeous landscapes. Highlights of the tour include the historic Baths of Caracalla, the Roman Empire’s largest existing sports and bathing place; the Catacombs of San Callisto; Mausoleum of Cecilia Metella; and Villa deiQuintili, the most luxurious villa of the Roman suburbs.
Weekend in Italy has bike tours within the city’s heart as well. If walking from one monument to the next feels too slow, try biking it. On the tour, cyclists experience all the good stuff, including the Colosseum, the Imperial Forums and Vatican City.
Bike Tours and Rentals:
And if you’re in the mood for something different and not afraid of looking a little silly, try a Segway tour.
If you’re planning on biking Rome, a word of warning: the traffic can get crazy, and cyclists are especially vulnerable. Freelance writer Martha Miller of Austin, Texas, writes about her biking experience in Rome, reminding cyclists to stay on their guard. Those heading out on two wheels should keep in mind this warning from her story: “Drive with six eyes; two in the front, two in the back and two on the sides.”
Fast and fun
Pleasant cool breeze while riding
More freedom than with a car
You still have to worry about where to park and leave your bike.
Lock it well – don’t fall prey to bicycle thieves.
Traffic. Be very careful while riding.
Maybe you’re looking for something a bit more stylish and retro? It’s only appropriate, after all, in a country famous for its haute couture and high-style inhabitants. On a Vespa, visitors can experience sights that are farther apart while feeling the wind in their hair. Did you know that the Italian-made Vespa’s name means wasp?
Weekend in Italy offers four Vespa tours: the grand tour of Rome, including the most popular city sights; the night tour, where visitors experience the city’s most famous sights illuminated at night; secret Rome, including the ancient alleyways of the city; and a tour of the hills, revolving around the old city center.
Note, however, that no matter how adorable you look riding a Vespa by yourself, these tours are chauffeured, and visitors ride as passengers. There is also a weight limit of 220 pounds, so these tours are recommended for those able to somehow resist the sumptuous offerings of local bistros.
Rome & Tuscany Tours
Vintage and chic!
Even faster than a bike
Experience far-off sights.
Be in the open air, which you’ll rarely experience in a car.
Relax while being chauffeured around town.
Exert only the muscles that let you sit and hold on tight.
You don’t get to drive.
More expensive than walking or biking
You are stuck to roads that allow Vespas – less opportunity for exploration.
By Bus and Boat
In a city like Rome, there’s no reason to settle for doing things one way. For those who love to relax while sightseeing, Weekend in Italy offers a Bus ‘n Boat tour. With the purchase of one ticket, visitors enjoy a one-hour cruise on the river Tiber and a two-hour ride on a double-decker bus, where eight-language commentary is provided through the headset. The cruise navigates between Tiberina Island and Risorgimento Bridge.
More bus and boat tours:
Experience two faces of the city: the river and the streets
See many sights without leaving your seat
Good for those looking for a calmer experience
Detached from street life
Whether you prefer to experience the city by walking, biking, Vespa, bus, boat, or dancing through the streets, Rome is a place not to be missed. Each mode of transportation has its own benefits and drawbacks, but anyone can find a style that’s just right for them. Next time you find yourself in Rome, ready your walking, riding or pedaling shoes and find a new way to experience what the city has to offer. Adventure awaits.
For more information, visit Weekend in Italy
Helena Walstrom was born in Helsinki, Finland where she grew up. She was an intern for GoNOMAD, and was one of the best. She now lives in New Hampshire and works as an editor.