Rome is a huge metropolis and the public transportation isn’t as efficient as other cities we have visited. That being said, we found an excellent way to see the city while avoiding the hordes of tourists. We began our day early and was surprised that it was already unbearably hot outside. We waited for a bus to take us into the east side of town and it took forever to arrive. I was already missing the convenience of French bus stops, that have electronic boards which tell you when the next bus will arrive. It was also annoying that we didn’t have any change on hand to pay for bus tickets so we just gave the driver €5 and he smugly kept the change. We couldn’t order an Uber because the city only has Uber Black service which is insanely expensive so hot and dirty city bus it was. I have always dreamed of renting a pastel pink Vespa scooter with a matching pink helmet to tour the city pretending like I am Audrey Hepburn’s character in Roman Holiday. So I had the brilliant idea to book a scooter tour for our family. It took almost an hour just to find the scooter rental company as we kept getting sidetracked by the scenery.
Alas, my dream riding around Rome in a pretty, pink vintage scooter were dashed when I saw these red and black scooters lined up outside. Fine, I could improvise with bright red only because it matched my earrings and lipstick. I was ready to hit the road until the guy leading our scooter tour asked us, “So you know how to drive a manual transmission, right?” Uh, err, no absolutely not! He also asked if we had previous experience driving a scooter in city traffic. Now technically, I drove my Mom’s 4-wheeler in the desert once and that ended in me crashing into a cactus while wearing flip flops, so admittedly, not a ton of experience. He laughed and said you think you’re going to drive a scooter in this city (in heavy bumper-to-scooter traffic everywhere). We all agreed, we didn’t want to die that day despite my further disappointment. The guy at the scooter rental place gave me our only other option…take a guided three person Vespa tour. Bravo!!
The downside was the driver wouldn’t arrive for a few hours. We decided to walk around the neighborhood and find some lunch and gelato while we waited.
We were told to check out one of the city’s best gelato places Giovanni Fassi but we arrived before they opened. I was surprised that people were lining up for this place but luckily we were first in the door.
Holy Cow! The gelato was insanely good. Liv wanted another one but we promised to get some after our tour. The place had 1960’s Wes Anderson vibes. We headed back over to the scooter rental place and met our tour guide.
Our guide/driver, Georgio, was amazing! He was so knowledgeable and fun. He asked us what we wanted to see and put together a comprehensive tour of Rome in three hours.
I was elated that we didn’t opt for the crazy scooter ride. We chilled in the Vespa and soaked in the breeze as we drove past poor, miserably-hot tourists walking by.
Georgio made stops at each site and gave an in-depth explanation of the history of the location from the perspective of a bonafide Roman. We learned so much!
The time seemed to fly by. Georgio even swung by the Trevi fountain to attempt another photo but it was the middle of the day and swarmed with people.
We ended our tour by driving past the infamous Spanish Steps and it was so crowded I couldn’t even recognize them!
If you visit Rome and want to book the Vespa tour please request Georgio, he is the best!
We hugged Georgio and said ciao. I had to bite the bullet and ordered an expensive Uber Black to drive us to the other side of town. I knew I wouldn’t survive the city bus in that heat at that time of day. As we were basking in the air conditioned Uber, I totally kicked myself for forgetting to take a photo with all of us and Georgio, boo! 🙁
Well, I was immediately cheered up when we arrived at our next destination.
I was super excited to visit the Galleria Borghese. I followed the museum on Instagram prior to our trip and it didn’t look real in photos. I was absolutely blown away by the vivid colors and the 3-D painted characters.
I highly recommend visiting the Gallery Borghese even though it’s a bit outside of the city center. It was really nice to stroll through the tree-lined gardens after spending most of the day in the crowded, busy city.
We ended our day with another mediocre meal near our Airbnb. I was so tired and hungry I can’t recall what we had but you can guess it was some sort of generic pasta…when in Rome.