Monday, June 1, 2009

Scooter Resource -- When In Rome...

A Vespa by Any Other Name.

It may be the iconic images of Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck zipping around Rome on a Vespa in the 1953 film 'Roman Holiday' that first gave me the idea, but renting a scooter in Rome is something I always wanted to do. Last October, three friends and I decided to give renting a scooter in Rome a try and we all survived to tell the tale.
Hopefully by sharing our experience renting a scooter in Rome, you will be able to make a decision if it is something you should try.
When renting a scooter in Rome, it is important to be clear on what it is you are renting. You can rent a moped in Rome or you can rent a scooter in Rome you can even rent a motorcycle in Rome. You can, of course rent a Vespa in Rome, but that Vespa may be a moped, a scooter, or a motorcycle. Sounds confusing? Well just remember that it all has to do with the size of the engine and speed it can go
A moped engine is less than 2 horsepower and cannot exceed 30 MPH; a scooter has more horsepower and can reach speeds of 75MPH, the motorcycle has the most powerful engine and reaches the fastest speeds. Vespa, which means "wasp" in Italian is a division of Piaggio and is a brand of moped, scooter, and motorcycle in Italy.

All of the places you go to rent a scooter in Rome will require a motorcycle class license, safety and insurance being big concerns. (wink-wink) Of the four of us, only two had the motorcycle license required when renting a scooter in Rome but all four of us were able to rent scooters in Rome with no problem, not a word was said about the fact two of our party did not have a motorcycle license. There are plenty of centrally located places to rent a scooter in Rome, check out Scoot-a-long on Via Cavour 302 (tel. 011 06-6780206), RomaRent Vicolo de Bovari 7A near the Campo de Fiori (tel. 011 06-6896555), or Happy Rent at the Piazza Equilinio 8 (011 06-4818185).
Renting a scooter in Rome is a great way to cover more sightseeing in a day. We all felt very comfortable after the initial hour on the motor scooter. Rome's drivers are very used to bikes, mopeds, scooters and motorcycles as part of daily traffic so what is a novelty to you is everyday for the Romans. If you just don't think you would feel that comfortable renting a scooter in Rome and driving in the daily traffic, consider renting a scooter on a Sunday when the streets are far less crowded, or renting a scooter to drive around Rome at night when everything is lit up and the traffic is minimal.


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