One of the most iconic things you can do in Rome is to ride a Vespa, 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 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.
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 in Rome 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. 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 before you start exploring on your own.
These are some of our favorite Vespa tours in Rome
Private Vintage Vespa Tour
This tour is great if you’re short on time. It 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 scooter while holding onto your guide (I get it, that can be a little awkward), then this 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
Tips for Riding a Scooter in Rome
- Get your International Driving Permit
- 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 right Vespa rental or Vespa tour in Rome. Whatever you choose will be delighted by your ride around the city!