Rome's mild climate permits year-round outdoor activity, but the city's recreational pickings are pretty slim. City parks, especially Villa Borghese, are the best spots for walking, running, in-line skating or biking. Tennis and golf are a bit more challenging: They're relatively expensive and inaccessible.

Out of the city, Lago Bracciano and the coastal town of Lido di Ostia are two good spots for watersports, and the thermal spa Terme dei Papi in Viterbo is a favorite getaway for Romans. On Sunday, Via Appia Antica is closed to traffic, and the Appia Antica Park becomes a wonderful place to picnic, stroll among the monuments and bike.


Rome has several cycling options, including the 9-mi/15-km track that runs from Ponte Castel Giubileo to Ponte Risorgimento at its south end. Some paths wind from Ponte Risorgimento through Villa Borghese, Villa Borghese to Villa Ada and, south of Rome, from Ponte Sublico to Ponte della Magliana. Another trail flanks the Tiber River, from Ponte Milvio to Prati, though potholes and debris can make this route challenging.

It is also pleasant to tour the city center on Sunday, when it's closed to automobile traffic. For a surcharge of 3.50 euros, bicycles are welcome on any regionaleor diretto train (but not on the faster intercity or Eurostar trains), providing an excellent way to enjoy the Castelli villages near Rome, or Lago Bracciano to the north.

Bike rentals are available at different points across the city and within Villa Borghese Park. A good deal is found around the midpoint of the Via del Corso, at Largo San Carlo al Corso: 3 euros per hour or 10 euros for the day. Along the Appia Antica, bike rental companies cluster around the Sede il Parco (Park Seat), which itself charges 10 euros per day or 3 euros per hour for the first three hours. Get there early for children's models. Daily 9:30 am-4:30 pm (5:30 pm in summer). Phone 06-513-5316.

To the east is the Largo Tacchi Venturi, Comitato per la Caffarella, which charges 10 euros per day or 3 euros per hour for the first three hours. Open Sunday 10 am-4:30 pm (6 pm in summer). Phone 06-789-279. The same prices apply at the Catacombe di San Sebastiano, located to the south and open March-October daily 9 am-5 pm. Phone 06-785-0350.

Boating & Sailing

Battelli di Roma, a public-transport and tourist boat service, is reviving the much-neglected Tiber, which winds through the city center. One vessel hosts tours and a dinner cruise. The other, with eight stops, is an ideal way to avoid rush-hour traffic. The boats depart from the pier at San Angelo Bridge, in front of the castle. Departure times are 11 am and 12:30, 4 and 5:30 pm, daily year-round. The tour has onboard commentary, lasts approximately one hour and costs 12 euros. The dinner cruise (slightly longer than two hours and costing 54 euros) departs from the same pier at 9 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. (This service will not be available until summer 2009, as winter floods destroyed all of the docking stations.) Phone 06-678-9361 for reservations. Via Tribuna di Tor De' Specchi 18a, Rome.


Golf courses aren't very accessible from Rome. Without a car and a good map, don't bother trying to find one. Be prepared to spend some time in traffic en route. Unless you're staying at a hotel adjoining the course, take along your home club membership card. 

Hiking & Walking

The parks Villa Borghese, Villa Pamphilj or Villa Ada (off Via Salaria) are good for in-town walks. More invigorating hikes, however, are outside the city. The lakes just north of Rome are great for hiking and are easy to reach by train. Tiny Lago di Vico, surrounded by a nature preserve, is a good choice. Also nearby is the Riserva Statale Naturale del Litorale Romano (State Nature Reserve of the Roman Coast), a protected stretch of coastline that includes the pinewoods of Castel Fusano, where you can hike (or bike or ride horses) among pines, junipers and sand dunes. The area is just south of Lido di Ostia.

Horseback Riding

The Gianicolo and Pincio parks both offer miniature-pony rides.


Joggers mainly avoid Rome's streets, which are narrow and often clogged with parked cars and elegant, disdainful pedestrians. Before the morning rush hour (about 9 am), running along the Tiber is pleasant, or try the Villa Borghese, Villa Pamphilj Circo Massimo or Villa Ada (off Via Salaria).