The Eternal City boasts some of the world’s most important cultural and historical sites, Rome is also infamous for its congested traffic, pollution, and unreliable public transportation. Luckily, due to increased demand from locals and responsible tourists alike, Rome now has effective- albeit comparatively small- infrastructure for cyclists of any skill level.
Biking is one of the most responsible modes of transportation for tourists. Not only do bikes produce less emissions than automobiles, but they also contribute to the preservation of monuments, parks and green space, and buildings in destination countries. By taking a bike in Rome, tourists can help reduce carbon and noise pollution, and can promote increased usage of, and investment in, dedicated bike paths.
There are several free, online resources available for those searching for bike rentals (noleggi di biciclette) and bike paths (piste ciclabili) in Rome.
Renting a Bike
Like many capital cities, Rome offers a bike share program for tourists and residents called Roma-n-Bike. Offered by ATAC, the same company that operates Rome’s public transportation system, the shared bikes are plagued by the same organizational problems as other ATAC services. Despite this, when Roma-n-Bike bikes are available, they offer incomparable convenience and pricing options for tourists. Stations and pricing information are available here.
If Roma-n-Bike stations are not readily available, or if you prefer the reliability of renting from a private rental company, there are several options available. A list of private noleggi di biciclette can be found here. Our recommendation is to choose a bike rental company that is locally owned and operated, which further contributes to the local economy.
Finding a Bike Path
Roman streets are a mixture of ancient, narrow cobblestone (sanpietrini) lanes and high-traffic highways. The touristic center is often better navigated by foot; however, with a little bit of creativity, getting between different areas of town can easily be accomplished by bike. For example, a quick way to navigate the center of Rome is to follow the lower level of the Tiber River (the Lungotevere), which passes nearby several well known sites such as the Trastevere neighborhood, Circo Massimo, the Bocca della Verità, the historic center, Vatican City, and Piazza del Popolo (Villa Borghese).
One website stands out for having superb route suggestions, not only in Rome but throughout Italy. Map views allow users to choose between mixed use (ciclostrada), dedicated lane (strada ciclabile), and exclusively bike/ pedestrian paths (ciclopedonale).
One notable path begins at Rome’s zoo (Bioparco di Roma), travels through the city’s exclusive Parioli neighborhood, and runs the entire distance of Villa Ada Savoia. Villa Ada is one of Rome’s largest parks and houses the ancient catacombs of Priscilla, which house the remains of early Christian martyrs in Rome.
For tourists with a bit more free time, the Province of Rome offers a considerable amount of piste ciclabili that pass by unique areas of natural and cultural significance.
One example departs from Acilia Station, about 20 minutes by train from Rome near Fiumicino Airport, and finishes at the Port of Ostia, on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Passing though the National Coastal Reserve of Rome and the ancient ruins of Ostia Antica, the location of harbor for ancient Rome. The dedicated bike path also spends several kilometers directly on the coast, allowing for beautiful views and a salty breeze. A link to the itinerary can be found here.
Whether you’re an avid cyclist or just want to see Rome and its surroundings from another vantage point, renting a bike is the most responsible way to navigate Italy’s capital.