Scooter in Rome?

Old May 14th, 2007, 09:41 AM
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Scooter in Rome?

Has anyone rented a Vespa to navigate Roman streets? Is it worth it?
Ivan_Drago is offline  
Old May 14th, 2007, 09:46 AM
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If you're an EXTREMELY good vespa driver, go for it. Italian drivers are daredevils but excellent. I'd rent one for a day just to see. There are a couple of places to rent vespas in Rome near the Campo Dei Fiori -- and one place on the Corso Vittorio Emmanuelle
that is reasonable and gives you helmets as well.

We did the both the iPod walking tours when we were in Rome -- they gave us total info and we never had to take the guidebook out with us again.

Though a MAP is wise on vespa. The problem, like many big cities -- is the that so many streets are one way. That's how you get lost! which i guess is part of the fun.
worldtalker is offline  
Old May 14th, 2007, 10:06 AM
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I've never driven scooter in my life, but I didn't think it would be too difficult. I couldn't help but thinking of it because Roman holiday conjures up this image of riding Vespa.

On the other hand-I've heard about Italian drivers, if they disregard rules as much as Russian ones then I'd rather walk.
Ivan_Drago is offline  
Old May 14th, 2007, 10:12 AM
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ARE YOU CRAZY? Have you been to Rome. It's like a battle field on the roads. I have been all over in my little lifetime and no city and I mean no city can compare to the traffic in Rome.

Example 1: 40 fatalities in one weekend. Is that enough of a point?

Example 2: Our Guide Stefano (Romecabs) "The Italian's are wonderful people, they will give you the shirt off their backs, but when they get behind the wheel of a automobile, they are animals.

enough said.
Mamaw is offline  
Old May 14th, 2007, 10:12 AM
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We havn't rented one in Rome but my two sons rented scooters in Florence about three years ago. They enjoyed it a lot and it has become one of the highlights of the trip. You haven't seen anything until you have seen two - 6 foot three inch linebacker types sitting on little scooters singing "Born To Be Wild" at the top of their lungs.

They were both a little intimadated by the Italian drivers at first but they both said that the traffic made a lot more sense once they were in the middle of it instead of looking on from the sidewalk. I say go for it and have a great time.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 10:14 AM
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If you were an experienced scooter rider, I would say "go for it".
But otherwise, it is definetly not the place to learn.
Besides, walking the city really gives you a great feel for the place.
steviegene is offline  
Old May 14th, 2007, 10:18 AM
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Rome is NOT a place to learn how to ride a scooter!!

Roman Holiday was a movie, and a 55 year old one at that. I can only echo mamaw - ARE YOU CRAZY?
janisj is online now  
Old May 14th, 2007, 10:19 AM
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must agree with the PP.
just got back from Italy ; you have to see it to believe how those motorcycle guys ( and girls) zoom around. A taxi driver in
San Remo ( much less traffic than Rome) told us " for each kilometer - one death"
Old May 14th, 2007, 10:25 AM
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Roman Holiday is a movie that was made 60 years ago. There is probably 5 times as much traffic now. And - unlike in the movie - they won;t close all the streets so you can drive around dealing with only a couple of other vehicles carefully orchestrated to stay out of your way.

What you are contemplating is so difficult and scary as to make me wonder about your mental status.

I'm a native New Yorker and used to driving in very heavy, frantic and often not law-abiding city traffic. And I do know how to ride a bike. But I would NEVER consider doing this in Rome - way too scary and dangerous.
nytraveler is offline  
Old May 14th, 2007, 10:33 AM
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There are many (Rome scooter) videos on
TravMimi is offline  
Old May 14th, 2007, 11:41 AM
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Two words spring to mind...

...Death Wish

and another two if you decide to go ahead...

...good insurance!
julia_t is offline  
Old May 14th, 2007, 12:11 PM
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My hair stylist just got back from vacation in March. And he rented a scooter. And he broke his arm in about 5 places and couldn't cut my hair (or anyone else's for that matter) for five weeks. If you aren't used to scooters, Rome isn't the place to start learning.
beaupeep is offline  
Old May 14th, 2007, 12:31 PM
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Wow, I think I would receive less vehement response if i decided to jump into Niagara Falls.

I've never been to Rome so I have no idea what the traffic there is like, i guess i'll see it myself, but thanks for heads up!
Ivan_Drago is offline  
Old May 14th, 2007, 01:04 PM
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Hi Ivan,
Jumping into Niagara Falls might possibly be safer. I think everyone is just concerned for your personal safety. A lot of people think scooter riding looks fun and harmless, but it is not a skill you can pick up instantaneously. (I hope you wouldn't think so casually about riding a motorcycle for the first time in a foreign city either, and the dangers are similar.) Trust us, you will have much more fun walking and enjoying the sights and sounds at a slower pace!
hausfrau is offline  
Old May 14th, 2007, 01:34 PM
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It is not just the safety issue. Rome, IMO, is a very walkable city. Distances are relatively short, and the joy of walking is being able to stop and stare when something strikes your interest. Stopping short in a stream of Rome traffic is asking for trouble.

In addition, where would you park one? I'm sure there are some sort of rules or conventions on where you may leave a scooter safely, while you visit some site or restaurant, but I'm sure I wouldn't know them. I can think of no more horrible scenario than to have committed some sort of scooter sin, and be surrounded by a crowd of angry Romans shouting at me.


Relax and enjoy strolling about the city, and save your learning experience for the wide open spaces of Tuscany.

nukesafe is offline  
Old May 14th, 2007, 01:50 PM
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As above, that's because jumping into Niagara Falls would be a much smarter thing to do then rent a Vespa in Rome when you don't even know how to ride!!
suze is offline  
Old May 14th, 2007, 01:54 PM
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Ivan, You take a look and see what you think. Without Vespa experience, I would agree that any big city with a lot of traffic is a bad place to learn to drive ANYTHING! Your big problem besides the very heavy traffic is that you would be looking for your turn, trying to get the lay of the land as well. In Rome, like Paris for instance, there are hundreds of street names - sometimes the same street changes names every few blocks to keep you on your toes, sometimes they are just very short streets.

I drove a car in Rome - only from the rental station at Termini until I got onto the highway - and didn't have any problems, though I had my usual share of wrong turns as in any new city, plus the issue of just knowing which direction you're headed at any given moment.

If you do rent a Vespa while in Rome, be sure to report back! One thing about Roman Holiday, when the princess starts driving she crashes into everything in sight, but since it is a movie everyone escapes unhurt - in spite of the damage. Also, of course, in 1953 there were a lot fewer cars on the roads of Italy, and everywhere else for that matter.

Anyway, I thought Italian drivers good and attentive, even in Rome. But they didn't particularly like having me in their way on the street ... !
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Old May 14th, 2007, 02:01 PM
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OK, I wasnt' sure whether to respond, but my conscience says I have to.

A few years ago I saw a bad accident. A young woman had wiped out on her scooter. She was lying by the side of the road, shaking, well, twitching, really. Maybe she had snapped her neck - I don't know. But it was gruesome and unforgettable.

This was on Block Island, which is virtually traffic-free. Roman traffic is, well, different.

Don't do this.

OK, there, I said it.
robertino is offline  
Old May 14th, 2007, 05:31 PM
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Rome traffic is essentially a huge game of chicken. Streets are narrow, most are one way, there are lots of piazzas and circles and practically NO traffic lights. So - literally the flow of traffi is determined by whoever has the most guts (or biggest car).

If you're willing to play chicken with cars - constantly challenging them for room - when you're riding on an oversized bicycle, that you don;t know how to ride - and when you don;t know where you're going - be my guest.

But - do get lots of insurance.
nytraveler is offline  
Old May 14th, 2007, 06:13 PM
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If you do decide to rent a Vespa I believe Auto Europe now rents them (
Sally30 is offline  

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