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What’s better than whizzing through Rome on the back of a Vespa? Getting picked up to go whizzing through Rome by a charming Italian man with flowers…which is exactly what happened my first full day in the city thanks to Scooteroma.
I’m normally hesitant about signing up for tours. They always seem to be hit or miss and, honestly, I don’t want to spend the money usually opting to wander around a place by myself and see what happens. On the other hand, I think tours can be great ways to see the world’s big cities, and actually lucked out with not one, but three excellent ones in Rome.
My day with Scooteroma was the most non-touristy tour I’ve ever done – like what you’d expect from friends showing you around when you visit their city – which is always the best way to see a new place.
Not only did we cover more of the city more quickly than I could have done on my own (especially since I didn’t have a guidebook or map), but I also learned way more about what I was surrounded by. Yes, we hit some of the main ‘must-see’ spots (and got the most touristy photo of me ever)…
…but we also went down old roads to stop and look for chariot wheel markings still visible on the worn cobblestones. We passed excavation sites which held multiple layers of ruins spanning several centuries and that had just looked like a nondescript dirt pit when I had walked by on my own. I learned about the Roman aqueducts and grand bathhouses while looking at renderings of what they would have looked like in their heyday then glancing up to see what still remained. Knowing more about the city changed my perspective. Ruins (which are absolutely everywhere) weren’t just random piles of brown stone or crumbling columns – they were like time capsules – and originally covered in marble! (Did you know that??)
Overall it was the perfect mix of sightseeing, riding, walking, history lessons and getting acquainted with the city. We took a quick break for espresso at a busy bar in a working class neighborhood and it felt natural, normal – not like when you usually stop to eat on a tour with a large group of people and there is mediocre food already waiting for you.
To wrap up the ride my guide dropped me off at a sports store where I could buy a football to take back as a souvenir for my boyfriend – it was the only thing he had asked for and with only a day and a half left in Italy I still hadn’t found one!
“Is this this funniest stop request you’ve gotten,” I asked my guide.
“No,” he said, a football fan himself. “I think it’s one of the most serious,” before he kissed my cheeks goodbye and left.
The downside in all this? It doesn’t come cheap (prices vary depending on the tour and if you drive yourself or ride with a guide). While I think it’s worth it – 4 hours of a personalized tour, caffeine stop and experience of riding around the city – if you’re traveling on a budget it definitely makes a sizeable dent. To counterbalance the cost, plan ahead and look at your itinerary to see where you can cut corners. Perhaps instead of spending more on a nicer hotel room for a couple nights, you hold back and then spend that money on the tour instead.
Scooteroma Details and Contact
Whether it’s your first or fifteenth time in Rome I’d suggest checking out the city on the back of a Vespa with Scooteroma. You can learn more about their current tours here and contact them for rates and booking here.
Note: I was a special guest of Scooteroma and received a discounted tour rate but all opinions and recommendations are my own.