Most activities in Rome are tied up with the city's astonishing history and heritage: whether it be walking down cobbled lanes littered with Roman ruins, cycling past baroque fountains or jogging through the landscaped grounds of palatial villas, there's plenty to keep you both active and visually stimulated.
Cycling & Scootering
Navigating this traffic-clogged, partly cobbled city by bike isn't a popular local activity, but 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 perhaps more suited to 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 explore by foot, if only for the astonishing littering of ancient Roman monuments 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 such as 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, Villa Borghese, the landscaped park of Villa Doria Pamphilj, and out-of-town Parco della Caffarella in the Parco Regionale Appia Antica.
The annual Rome Marathon (www.maratonadiroma.it) follows a 42km-long course starting and finishing near the Colosseum, taking in many of the city’s big sights. There is, however, some doubt about the event's future – check the website for updates.
Many a city park doubles as an 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 here 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, as well as dinner (€65, 2½ hours) and aperitif (€30, 1½ hours) cruises. The main embarkation point is Molo Sant’Angelo, over the river from Castel Sant'Angelo.