When I lived in Rome, I spent a lot of time on the back of a motorino, scooter. Mainly because I didn’t have a car, most people I knew didn’t have one, either, and those that had a form of transportation had a motorino. The lucky ones had a Vespa.
So if you were getting a ride somewhere, most likely you were strapping on a helmet and holding on to dear life while whizzing through the streets and in and out of traffic. And when you’re a passenger with someone who is comfortable driving a motorino, it’s even better!
In Italy, as crazy as the traffic is, I always feel like drivers are a bit more sensitive to scooter/motorcycle riders than say, the United States. Since they are so prolific, as a car driver you absolutely have to be aware of them and make room, otherwise you could hurt someone or at least get your car banged up by not paying attention.
That’s not to say that riding on a motorcycle in Italy is safe, but you just feel like you’re more a part of the road than an intruder.
But if there ever was a city to see on the back of a Vespa, it’s Rome.
So when I was in Rome a few weeks ago, one morning (after my early early morning in Trastevere) I found dozens of (mostly vintage) Vespas lined up with their owners and waiting….for something. That something arrived in the form of dozens of very large tourists. They didn’t speak Italian, the Italians didn’t speak whatever, but each driver paired off with a passenger that in most cases was much larger than he, and mounted those Vespas.
Motors started, cameras were pulled out, helmets went on, and away they went!
Now, if you’ve never been on a Vespa or a scooter before, it’s definitely something to try. It might even be safer to try it as a passenger if you’ve never ridden before.
Interested in seeing Rome from the back of a Vespa? I’m not sure if this group I saw is one of the ones I listed below – you’re welcome to send me other links of similar groups and I’ll post them here!
- The NYTimes talks about Touring Rome on a Vespa
- Nerone Vespa Tours (mentioned in the NYT article)
- Happy Rent Classic Rome Vespa Tours
- Vespa in Italy strangely is only in the north of Italy, not Rome
Riding a scooter or motorcycle around Italy? Yay or Nay? Done it, afraid to? Tell me in the comments.