Renting a scooter in Rome
Getting around Rome by motorino (motor scooter) or Vespa
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Although I wouldn't rent a scooter just to whizz around the historic center, a Vespa is an excellent way to visit several outlying sites in a single day—or, my own favorite, making a self-guided tour of the hills of Rome (not just the classic Seven Hills within Rome itself, but also the taller ones ringing the city—like the Gianicolo—that offer spectacualr panoramas).
Note: Traffic is very heavy on the streets of Rome, and the rules and norms of driving are much different from our own.
Keep that in mind, and read the bit about smart scootering below before taking that Vespa out for a spin.
Scooter rental agencies in Rome
There are three private rental outfit get a great deal on a rental bike or scooter:
- Treno e Scooter, at Track 1 inside Stazione Termini (tel. +39-06-4890-5823; www.trenoescooter.191.it)—Pick up the motorino outside the station on the right. It's road bikes are on the expensive side, but the scooters are cheaper than most.
[Note: If you arrive in Rome by train on the same day you rent, bring your canceled rail ticket to Treno e Scooter for a 10% discount on bike or scooter rental for your first day.]
- Bici e Baci, Via del Viminale 5 (tel. +39-06-482-8443, www.bicibaci.com)—Bikes are cheaper, scooters are a bit pricier.
- Happy Rent, Via Piave 49 (tel. +39-06-4202-0675; www.happyrent.com)—Rents bikes, Vespas, and vintage Italian mini-cars, like an Alfa Romeo Spider and everyone's favorite cute-as-a-bug (and about the same shape and size) Fiat 500.
Scooter rental prices
The prices for renting a motorino in Rome are pretty standard across most companies.
- 50cc model: from €6–€10 per hour, €19–€45 per day
- 125cc model: €13–€15 per hour, €42–€70 per day
- 150cc model: €80 per day
Vespa tours of Rome
Hop on the back of a classic Vespa scooter and sightsee your way around central Rome! Taking the hassle out of navigating Rome's complex streets, your expert guide will drive and manage the logistics, letting you sit back, relax and enjoy the sights. Stop at must-see sites like the Colosseum and discover Rome's historical center, home to lively Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain. With the choice of a morning or afternoon tour, your city Vespa tour is the perfect Italian experience to fit around your plans in Rome! ...
Combine history with adventure on a 3-hour tour of the hills of Rome by classic Vespa scooter! As your private guide drives, enjoy the wind in your hair and take in the highlights of Rome's historic seven hills. See the impressive Baths of Caracalla on Caelian Hill and cruise along ancient Appian Way. Take a break on Palatine Hill and soak up views of the Colosseum and Ancient Rome. If there ever was an ancient city to see on the back of a Vespa, it's Rome!...
Tour Rome by classic Vespa scooter, and see the city from an insider's perspective! With an expert private guide, zip through Rome's bustling neighborhoods – including Trastevere and Testaccio – on the back of an iconic Italian Vespa. See hidden delights like the Piazza of the Knights of Malta alongside bigger-name attractions like the Arch of Constantine. This private tour is perfect for those keen to see fascinating sights that the tourist maps miss while traveling around the city in a typically Italian way!...
Explore Rome at night in a truly local way: on the back of a classic Vespa scooter! Perfect for navigating the city’s windy roads and alleyways, a fashionable Vespa is ideal for evening sightseeing, allowing you to see more of Rome's big-name sights than you'd expect to see on a standard tour. As your expert private guide drives, hold on tight, enjoy the fresh air and pass lavishly lit-up attractions like St Peter's Square, the Pantheon, the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and more!...
scooter - motorino or scooter
rental - noleggio
two hours - due ore
one day - un giorno
helmet - casco
Everyone will tell you never to rent a scooter in Italy. They say motorini are too dangerous, too unstable, too unpredictable, and the surrounding traffic is too insane.
They say you'll inevitably get into an accident and return home with, if you're lucky, an ugly road rash from skidding through gravel in your shorts at 30mph (and, if you're unlucky, a cracked skull).
Poppycock. I rent scooters in Italy all the time and the worst injury I've ever suffered was a bent-back thumbnail once when I misjudged flicking the start button. The real issue is that people don't treat scooters with respect. They're just too cute: like baby motorcycles, or bikes pretending to be grown-ups with an engine and everything. Aww. Plus, they're just so much darn fun!
As a result, many people drive around, without a helmet, at high speeds. They rubberneck the sights, chat with their companion behind them, or sit there texting with one hand and steering with the other. That's just dumb. Remember: a scooter is essentially an undersized, underpowered, under-stabilized motorcycle.
It's not so much that scooters are dangerous as it is tourists are stupid (not people: tourists. People who are perfectly sane, rational, and responsible at home often transform into giddy idiots after just a few hours on an exciting, exotic, sun-drenched vacation).
Scooters also fool you into thinking you can join the cars racing all around as if an equal. You're not equal. You are perched precariously atop a tiny scrap of metal and plastic with wheels. The drivers of the cars are cocooned in a protective metal shell padded by airbags and such. If you get hit by a car, you'll be road kill; they'll probably just think they hit a bad pothole.
Yes, scooters are dangerous—though not much more so than walking—and yes the traffic in Italy is atrocious, doubling the danger, so take precautions:
- Wear a helmet (casco).
- Stay off major roads.
- Drive cautiously.
- Obey all traffic signs.
- Keep your eyes on the road and on the surrounding traffic, not the sights.
- Don't weave in and out of heavy traffic or jump-start a red light before it turns green.
In other words: do no, under any circumstances, drive like the locals, who are used to the traffic rules and have been riding a motorino since the age of 14.
- Rome Vespa tours
- City transport tickets (bus/tram and Metro)
- Getting around by: Metro (subway), bus, taxi, bike, car, foot
- Rome city layout
- Rome planning FAQ
- Rome homepage
- Other scooter adventures in Italy
This material was last updated February 2011. All information was accurate at the time.
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