One of the most iconic things you can do in Rome is to ride a Vespa scooter, or Motorino as they’re called in Italy! You can’t visit this historic city without seeing thousands of scooters zipping around the ancient streets. With so many people and so few parking spaces, many locals opt for scooters over cars.
And you won’t see very many bikes in ancient Rome either. Because the city is built on seven hills, bike riding is only for the truly in shape! But if you’re just a regular human, scooters are a better way to get around.
This post about riding a Vespa in Rome was written by Italy travel expert Vanessa Hunt and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this website.
Renting a Vespa in Rome
If you’d like to try your hand at riding a Vespa in Rome, all you’ll need is a regular driver’s license, an international driving permit (you can pick one up at AAA for $20), and a lot of courage! Learn more about getting your International Driving Permit for Italy here.
Renting a scooter is one of the way to explore Rome and it is surprisingly affordable. I recommend booking your scooter beforehand, especially if you’re traveling during peak season.
Take a Vespa Tour in Rome
Renting a scooter in Rome can be fun, but also terrifying, and it’s not for everyone. Another great alternative is to take a Vespa tour of Rome. It takes the stress of driving off you so you can sit back (or hold on tight) and enjoy the ride while your knowledgable guides zip you around the city explaining the history and telling you stories and myths.
I always recommend taking this Vespa tour on your first day in Rome. It really helps to get a layout of the city of Rome before you start exploring on your own. Some places you may want to consider are visiting the Eternal City, Pizza Venezia, and just strolling down on the streets of Rome!
These are some of our favorite Vespa tours in Rome
Private Vintage Vespa Tour
This private tour is great if you’re short on time. The Vespa Tour with Local Guide lasts 3 hours and comes with your own private driver that will take you around the city. You can make requests and have the tour tailored specifically to your needs.
Sidecar Vespa Tour
If you’re not comfortable riding on the back of a vespa while holding onto your guide (I get it, that can be a little awkward), then this Highlights Vespa Sidecar Tour is a great option for you. These cute Vespas have little sidecars that you can ride in. So it’s still a great way to see the city on 3 wheels instead of 2.
Historic Rome Vespa Tour
Self-Drive Vespa Tour
If you’re an experienced scooter driver, have a valid driver’s license, your IDP, and are 18 years or older, you can take this self drive tour. It gives you the benefit of still having a knowledgeable guide to show you the best roads and sites, while allowing you to drive your own iconic Vespa scooter.
Tips for Riding a Scooter in Rome
- Get your International Driving Permit (driving skills required)
- Bring your Drivers License
- Always wear a helmet
- Park with your front wheel facing the curb, do not parallel park!
- Park in designated scooter spots
- Wear sunglasses to shield your eyes from the sun and from bugs
- Parking on the pavement is illegal
- Scooters can drive in the Centro Storico and through ZTL barriers and access many areas that cars can’t
- For gradual braking, start with the right hand, which controls the back wheel, then add in the left hand. In an emergency, use both simultaneous.
- Go slower on cobblestones
- Always wear pants and a jacket to protect your skin in case you fall off.
- Don’t drive with ear pods
- Honk only when you need to
I hope you find just the best Vespa rental or Vespa tour in Rome. Whatever you choose will be delighted by your ride around the ancient city of Rome!
Vespa Tour in Rome FAQ
Vespa tours in Rome are one of the best ways to experience the city. Especially if you’re renting a self-drive Vespa you will have the incredible freedom to explore Rome at your own pace, and off the beaten path. It’s a unique and authentic way to see the city from a local perspective, while still being able to cover more ground than you would on foot.
As long as the person has the following requirements such as a driving license, international driving permit, and other requirements.
Rates varies depending on the type of tour you avail or if you’re renting a self-drive Vespa. Generally, prices start at around €39 for a 2-hour tour and can go up to €199 for a full-day rental. You can also opt for group tours which may be more affordable than private tours.
Well, most tours and rental Vespas are only allowed to operate within Rome (if you’re renting here) and its surrounding areas, so traveling through Italy entirely on a Vespa may not be possible. However, there are some rental companies that offer longer tours or multi-day rentals for those looking to explore more of Italy on a Vespa.