If you want to stretch your legs in Rome but don’t want to have the same old experience of using a running machine in your hotel, there are some wonderful places to run in Rome that will give you some interesting perspectives on the city.
While we do not recommend the hazardous pursuit of running through the crowds and the traffic in the city center, there are parks galore, a Mussolini-era running track, a great dual-use cycle path alongside the river, and finally there is a genuine ancient monument to run round.
Run around an ancient stadium in Rome
The Circo Massimo (‘Circus Maximus’) is right next to the Palatine Hill in the center of the city. At 620 feet (190 meters) long, and seating 250,000 people – according to Pliny – it’s the largest sports stadium ever built, and is where ancient chariot races used to take place. The emperor Domitian even built a terrace on the edge of his palace so he could watch the games, which still looms above the area. Today it’s a long grassy public space, although one end of it is now being excavated, and is a popular place for locals to exercise. Nearest transport: Circo Massimo Metro station (Linea B).
Run on a historic running track in Rome
Run along a tranquil cycle path next to the river Tiber
Running 11 km (6.5 miles) to the very edge of Rome, the Pista Ciclabile to the north of the city center provides a unique, rural riverside aspect to the city, far from the traffic. Though originally designed for cycling, it is now dual-use and very popular with joggers, and its southern end can be found in the popular Ponte Milvio area. It snakes through a surprising amount of countryside along the side of the Tiber all the way to the edge of the city at Castel Giubileo.
Nearest transport: Flaminio Metro station (Linea A), then Tram #2 to Tiziano then a 5-minute walk north across Ponte Milvio (‘the Milvian bridge’). The cycle path here is called ‘Lungotevere Milvio’ and starts just to your right as you exit the arch of the bridge. You can also pick it up at the Tor di Quinto light rail station (trains from Flaminio).
Run in the genteel surroundings of Villa BorgheseA beautiful tree-filled park on a gentle hill in the city center. Nearest transport: Spagna and Flaminio Metro stations (Linea A).
Run on an original Roman road in Parco della Caffarella
An original Roman road, lined with ancient tombs. Be careful of your ankles on the ancient cobbles though. This is on the south-western edge of Parco della Caffarella, which is a vast park with miles and miles of trails suitable for running. This is also where Parkrun events take place.
Nearest transport: Piramide Metro station, then a 10-minute walk down Viale Marco Polo.
Run around an eccentric collection of follies in Villa Torlonia
This park is charming, relaxed, and extremely popular with locals for exercise. The perimeter path is only 1.3 km (4/5th of a mile) around and features two gentle hills. Read more about Villa Torlonia here…
Nearest transport: Bologna Metro station on Line B.
Run in the wilderness of Villa Ada
Another vast and beautiful park, this one a bit wilder than other Roman parks, with some gentle wooded rolling hills and a beautiful lake, though less convenient to get to by public transport. It is, however, in jogging distance of Villa Borghese so a two-park route could be worked out!
Nearest transport: Sant’Agnese Metro (Linea B) then a ten-minute walk down Via Panaro, or the ‘Urbano’ commuter train from Flaminio train station (next to Flaminio Metro station [Linea A]), getting off at ‘Campi Sportivi’ (‘sporting fields’) and a two-minute walk down Via della Moschea.
Run on a hill above Rome in Villa Pamphili
Some stunning views on sweeping meadows on the Janiculum Hill above Trastevere at one end, and St Peter’s at the other.
Take the Tram #8 to Gianicolense and walk up the hill.
Obviously the above are merely a tiny selection of suggestions. There are hundreds of other places to run in Rome (one popular choice that we don’t favor is along the river in the city center, breathing in fumes), but these are ones that we’ve enjoyed. There are also events such as fun runs, marathons, mini marathons, and the famous Parkrun has also arrived in the city.
Wherever you decide to run in the city, it will give you a new perspective on Rome, and allow you to see sights far away from the teeming traffic and the tourist traps.