Off the beaten track in Rome

Old Jan 22nd, 2013, 12:27 PM
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Off the beaten track in Rome

Has anyone hired bicycles specifically for the Appian way.

It is something I have wanted to do since being a child. My father told me stories of the Roman armies marching victoriously back to Rome. I read that the way is closed to traffic on Sundays.

Is it worth it or am I living in dream land?

We are in Rome for the first time, in May. The weather should not be too hot for cycling.

Anyone any other off the beaten track ideas?

We have also looked at a boat trip down the Tiber to Ostia Antica.

The Spanish steps gives me the shivers.
Dickie_Gr is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2013, 09:22 AM
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Not sure I'd want to bicycle down the Appian Way. It's all cobble stones/blocks and might be like riding one of those old vibrating exercise machines!

I did a tour of the Trastevere area that was off the beaten track. And a night walk thru Rome (free thru Rome Walks - meet every evening at the Keats/Shelley house at the bottom of the Spanish Steps). Both were really informative.
The area around Camp di Fiori is interesting and worth getting lost in.
There's so much to see in Rome that you might not have time for off track things the first time!
hollywoodsc is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2013, 09:45 AM
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We're very probably beyond such things now, however lots of people do cycle the Via Appia Antica - either with organised tours....



... or by hiring bikes from the cafe

... and elsewhere in the Park:

Suggested routes etc:

... and try Youtube for plenty of videos!

We have walked various sections several times, and Sundays are indeed quieter - although you can still expect "local" traffic, even when the road's closed, as people live along many stretches and need to come and go!

There's also the Archeobus:

... or the city's various forms of public transport will get you to several areas:

For more of what the city has to offer, try:


PS - Have you found a boat line that's definitely operating? I've long wanted to do that journey, but have had no success as yet!
A_Brit_In_Ischia is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2013, 09:48 AM
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Thanks Hollywood

The tip about the night walk is really helpful sounds great and the apartment is round the corner from the steps. We are in Rome for a week and dare I say it are not city people. In think the idea is to see the larger non admission sites early in the morning and do things out of the way at the busier times.

We are starting to put some sort of things to do list together with our son. I would love to hire cycles generally for the week but the implications of taking a 7 year old on to the streets are obvious.

I have put this trip off for years, I hate Florence every time we go. We went to Venice last year and loved it and Rome is very definitely for our son. The more I think about the trip, I am beginning to act like a 7 year old obsessed with "the empire". I think it is a boy thing.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2013, 09:54 AM
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"I hate Florence every time I go."
Me too, Dickie, but after a year or two I want to go again. And you have to admit, the food is very good!
tarquin is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2013, 09:54 AM
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>>>We have also looked at a boat trip down the Tiber to Ostia Antica.
kybourbon is online now  
Old Jan 23rd, 2013, 10:03 AM
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Not at all a 'boy thing'! I live on a farm and am definitely not a city person but love Rome.
A tour of the Forum, talk of gladiators and swords are a must for a 7 year old boy.
The historic center of Rome is very walkable and there are hop-on hop-off buses (#116) that drive around the historic center all day.
Tip: take the bus or metro to your starting point and then walk/wander your way back towards the hotel, stopping for snacks or lunch. Take a nap or at least sit down for an hour before going out for dinner.
Get a good map, I love "MapEasy's Guidemap to Rome" (Barns and Noble). It's water and tear resistant. It's sort of hand drawn, and lists hotels, sites, restaurants. It might be fun for your son to find and circle where you're staying, the Forum, Colosseum, etc.
Ostia Antica is a great day trip. Download Rick Steves podcast to listen to while you walk thru the ruins. They have a cafe and bathroooms conveniently about halfway thru the tour.
Hopefully people who have traveled with children will give you pointers on kid friendly things to do.
hollywoodsc is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2013, 10:15 AM
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You mentioned hiring bikes for the week. If you are thinking of riding bikes in dowtown Rome, especially with. 7yo, i would strongly suggest not doing it.

The traffice in the city is very busy and frenetic, and even in the pedestrian zone, there is a certain amount of vehicular traffic along those narrow streets.bulk food and many of them are cobbled.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2013, 01:01 PM
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I agree about the idea of tours then breaks. We persevered to finally find an affordable apartment, in the middle of everything but with a terrace to relax on. The apartments all seemed to have the eternal trade offs between decor, location, cost and a terrace. We have done Seville in 46oC and so try to pace things. We find London to be the hardest work as the weather is usually at best OK which draws you into doing too much in a day, we all become fractious.


From what I can remember, we are both Vicenza people!


Thanks for those links, I will look into those possibilities. Our son has one ambition in life which involves riding round France in a certain colour jersey. He is cycling mad but I agree Lex we would have to be mad to take him cycling on the open roads. I used a mountain bike in London for 4 years and know the score. I a going to investigate the Sunday cycling on the Appia. I spoke to my Dad tonight, he had totally forgotten about the stories of victorious armies marching in to Rome he told me as a child.


Thanks for the link, this will be first trip in over a 100 to Europe in which we will not be hiring a car. I will feel naked as like my cars too much. My wife is dragging me on boats to keep me off the roads. This looks too tempting

I really wasn't keen on this trip as it was supposed to be a 3 day sideshow prior to 7 days in the Sicilian countryside. We decided that there was too much to do in Rome and we went to Sicily a couple of years ago. The more I dig, the more I can't wait.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2013, 01:18 PM
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We have also looked at a boat trip down the Tiber to Ostia Antica. >>

I looked into this too, and all the advice i got was "don't".

I gather that it takes too long and isn't very exciting.

a place which I plug regularly, but otherwise isn't mentioned much [apart from with thanks from the people who have gone there] is the galeria doria pamphilj.

it's in two parts - the first is a trip around the family's apartments via audio-guide narrated by the poshest english voice you will EVER hear, and the 2nd is the picture gallery which is crammed with more wonderful works of art than you can shake a stick at.

and the bonus is [or was when we were there] there's no-one there.

it's near the Pantheon so easy peasy to find.
annhig is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2013, 02:27 PM
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You might enjoy the Museum of the Walls:
We have been there a couple times with our son and enjoyed it. The last time we went (April 2011) we were able to go out on the terrace on top of one of the towers. We were also let out to walk inside the walls but that section might be closed now.
y_lou is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2013, 12:12 AM
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Annhig, perhaps not available in the UK (like the BBC's i-player, RAI's equivalent may only be viewable by those in the "home" country) but their excellent "Linea Blu" series - about all things maritime - once made an episode of the Tiber journey down from Rome to Ostia.

Sadly, that's long gone from their website, but here's the one on Ischia, from last month:

Good test for your Italian, and perhaps cheaper than an apple as a gift for your teacher?


No commentary on these, but they may give some idea of what I saw!

OK, no herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the plain... but a very different river to the stretch through Rome (much like those in my native Norfolk), even if not competing with the train service for speed, or cost...

Sadly however winter floods in recent years have repeated swept away their riverside quays and boarding platforms - hence me asking if any would be running in 2013!

Very spectacular in 2008

.. but again this last November

So as far as I'm aware there's no regular walk-on walk-off service, although these people have offered a combined river trip and ruins tour for groups some time:

... but do want at least 30 passengers!

A couple of less-commonly trodden routes?

Portus, especially for those who've already seen Ostia Antica:

... or have a day with tram number 3 which, in skirting the city centre, gives access to a host of sites - some busy, others relatively unknown:

A_Brit_In_Ischia is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2013, 12:09 PM
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grazie mille Peter.

I will leave the Rai broadcast until i have a nice quiet spot to watch it in - several times i suspect.

but thanks for the links.
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