There’s nothing more romantic than the notion that one day you’ll run off to Italy, buy a classic vespa, and spend your days driving through cobbled streets and the countryside, stopping for the occasional espresso or limoncello on the way. This might be but a dream for most, but at least you can easily spend a holiday touring around the Italian capital on two wheels, whether they be electric, pedal-powered or both. In fact, many would argue it’s by far the best way to see the city. Biking means being mobile, which allows you to explore sights you might not have had the opportunity to, because of their location or time constraints.
Driving a car through the ancient streets of Rome can be stressful at the best of times, with Italians seemingly operating with a different notion of road safety. However, there are plenty of bike paths in Rome, and the narrow back alleys that make up most of the city are perfect for a vespa to happily glide through. Whether you want an engine or not will depend on your specific needs, but you’ll be sure to find some form of transport that can help you get the most out of your trip. Here are some of the best two-wheeled tours, tips, and routes to check out on your visit to the Eternal city.
Vespas: the basics
First thing’s first: before you jump on a vespa or scooter, you technically do need a valid driver’s license, although there are almost certainly places you can get around that requirement, especially as the minimum age for driving one in Italy is 14. However, if you do this, then you could end up in serious trouble, especially if you have an accident. The police and insurance companies take a very dim view of people driving illegally, so it’s best not to risk it. It’s also not suggested to drive around Rome if this is your first go on a vespa, but if you can ride a push bicycle, you should have the basics down within a few minutes. With a valid license, you can drive a bike up to 125cc, although the 50cc bikes are recommended; they are safer and pack more than enough power to get around. Helmets are always required, as is the proper paperwork.
Once you have all of that sorted, you can start looking into where the best hire place is for you. Price is a major driver of this, but you should also try to rent from near somewhere you are staying, in case there are issues with the bike, and you have to bring it back early. The less powerful 50cc models can be rented for as cheaply as €35 per day, with 125cc prices going up to around €70. Some places also allow you to rent by the hour, but usually it works out cheaper to take the vehicle for the whole day and will likely be cheaper still if rented for more than a few days. There are a whole host of rental places, but some of the most reputable are My Vespa Tours, Barberini Scooters for Rent and OnRoad, who can deliver the scooter to your hotel.
Driving around Rome is a challenge, although a fun one. Whilst you’re likely to see the locals weaving in and out of traffic like their lives depend on it, that level of bravery is not recommended for tourists. If you can avoid major thoroughfares, you should, because they can feel like an ultra-Darwinian space. With that being said, it’s important to stay alert and attentive irrespective of where you are; Romans will drive around you with no regard for your space if you hold them up. The good news is there’s plenty of parking for two wheels in the city, and most roads allow scooters and vespas unless explicitly stated. Google maps is quite reliable, however always check your surroundings for further information on where you can or cannot drive. You should always make sure your bike is locked and secure when leaving it for an extended period of time; replacing a stolen scooter will eat up a fair amount of spending money!
So, you’re on your bike and ready to explore Rome with a newfound sense of freedom. How do you go about making the most of your time on two wheels? Vespa tours in Rome are convenient and fun, as well as being safer than riding on your own, although if you do want to be independent you can often do the suggested routes by yourself. Most of them follow similar paths, taking in the most famous sites, but there are several that are specifically tailored to niche interests.
Without a doubt the most versatile of the touring companies, Scooterama offers a number of three or four-hour vespa tours in Rome for all interests, including a foodie tour, a street art tour, and a film location tour. For those who aren’t comfortable riding, there is also a ride along option. Costs vary depending on the tour/if you are riding or sitting along and are all available upon request.
Dearoma also offers a number of vespa tours in Rome, with the two main choices being Classic and Secret Rome, starting at €130.00 and €150.00, respectively. The self-driving options are slightly more expensive but offer more freedom. Both tours take around three hours to complete, and the Classic covers the main attractions in the city, including the Colosseum and the Testaccio market.
Bike Tours in Rome
If you’re uneasy at the thought of driving in that famous Roman traffic, there are plenty of slower options available. Cycling in Rome is very accessible, and bike hire in the city is easy too. Aside from city rental bikes from Helbiz, there are several Rome bike tours available, including one from Dearoma for €30. Another firm favourite is Bici Baci, which offers bike rental for €12.50 per day and electric bike rental for €25.00; ideal for getting up and down the hills of the city.
There are plenty of bike paths in Rome that take in all areas of the city, but the best way to go about cycling in Rome is through the parks. There, you can avoid bumpy cobbled streets whilst seeing the stunning natural scenery that surrounds the Italian capital. Furthermore, the Via Appia route is both steeped in history and a fun cycle, although given the searing temperatures and distance covered, an electric bike may be necessary. It’s also recommended to do on Sunday, as the road is closed to traffic then. There is also the amazing Lungotevere bike path; it’s closed to motorised traffic and follows the Tiber river, taking in plenty of sights along the way.
There are a number of electric scooter sharing apps in the city, including Helbiz and Lime. You can also take Segway tours with a number of companies; Rome by Segway is one of the best, and they often have sales dropping the price of a tour down to as low as €40.
Want to get on your bike with one of these Rome bike tours? Download the Orbzii app to Dream, Plan and Book your next two wheeled adventure, today!