Walking down cobbled lanes and through green fields littered with Roman ruins, cycling riverside, jogging through the landscaped grounds of palatial villas and historic palazzi: activities in Rome are not only tied up with the city's astonishing history and art heritage; they also give visitors the chance to explore the city from a different perspective.
Cycling & Scootering
While Romans themselves are (understandably) not big biking fans when it comes to navigating their traffic-crazy, partly cobbled city, cycling remains popular with tourists keen to see the city from a different perspective. Several outlets rent bicycles, with or without a tour guide; electric bicycles, Vespas and scooters are a kinder option for navigating Rome's seven hills.
If you want to dodge the traffic and simply pedal along quiet 'country' lanes laced with green fields and the odd scatter of Roman ruins, get a bus to Via Appia Antica, from where you can rent a bicycle to explore the Parco Regionale Appia Antica.
In town, a smoothly paved cycling path stretches along the River Tiber for some 9km from Ponte Guglielmo Marconi in Ostiense (south) to the Stadio Olimpico (north).
Walking & Running
Rome is a pleasurable city to walk, if only for the astonishing littering of ancient Roman monuments that captivates and enthralls pretty much everywhere you walk. Several companies, such as the Roman Guy and Through Eternity Cultural Association, run guided walking tours of the city, some at dusk around Rome's bounty of captivating piazzas and fountains. For architecture buffs, the small-group tours of Rome's contemporary architecture led by Arcult are an excellent way of walking around the city.
Footpaths along the Tiber, sections of which are decorated with fantastic street art like William Kentridge's monumental Triumphs and Laments, provide the perfect jogging track for many a Roman who enjoys a morning run. Grassy routes, kinder to the knees and greener on the eyes, include Circo Massimo, the landscaped park of Villa Doria Pamphij, and out-of-town Parco della Caffarella in the Parco Regionale Appia Antica.
Serious runners can sign up for the annual Rome Marathon, held each year in March. The 42km-long course starts and finishes near the Colosseum, taking in many of the city’s big sights.
Many a city park doubles as informal football pitch for Roman teenagers who can be found kicking a ball around at weekends. For serious football fans, Sunday is match day when the most ardent head north to the Stadio Olimpico to cheer on their team. Watching a football match at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico is an unforgettable experience, although you’ll have to keep your wits about you as crowd trouble is not unheard of.
April to October, Rome Boat Experience runs hop-on, hop-off cruises along the Tiber. From May to October there are also dinner cruises (€65, two hours) every Friday and Saturday, and a daily wine bar cruise (€30, 1½ hours) from Monday to Thursday. The main embarkation point is Molo Sant’Angelo, over the river from Castel Sant'Angelo.