By Andrea Zachrich

So, as you can tell by the maps below, I definitely attempted to run while I was in Rome for the summer (attempted being the key word in that sentence. I started the month working out 5-6 times a week and ended it 2-3 times a week. You win some and you lose some). I think I have mentioned this in every post so far, but Rome is hot during the summer. Like walk outside and feel like you’re melting like the Wicked Witch of the West HOT.

Additionally, the free time we had during the day away from class was smack in the middle of the day. We usually went from 8:30 until lunchtime, and then took a break from class until 4 or 5 pm when we met back up again. As such, I was working out during the hottest part of the day in one of the hottest cities in Europe (I know some of you are going to say “Just go in the morning” to which I respond “no, just no.” But if you like mornings, then by all means go for it). As such, much of my route planning was focused on finding routes that alleviated some of the pain of the heat, which meant trying to run in parks and by water instead of on concrete of cobble stone that really absorbs the heat and throws it back at you. Here’s a couple of ideas for runs in places near Trastevere that aren’t ludicrously hot.

Run #1

As mentioned before, running near a body of water usually means that the air is cooler. Luckily, Rome has a large river, the Tiber, running right smack dab in the middle of it. I tried to plan this run so that I just ran alongside it as much as possible. The run looks kind of haphazard because I sort of made it up as I went along.

Pros of this run:

  1. Running near the water makes it much cooler, especially in the evening
  2. The Tiber can be really pretty in certain places
  3. There is a running path in places along the river

Cons of this run:

  1. There can be a lot of people at certain parts along the river such as one section near the heart of Trastevere where there’s a bunch of shops and restaurants
  2. No water fountains (nasoni) along the river itself, you’d have to pop back up to ground level if you got thirsty.
  3. It’s not the most scenic route – you’re just running next to the river the whole time.

Even with all the cons, I would still recommend the run. It’s easy enough to walk up a set of stairs if you’re dying for water, and if you time it right (i.e. don’t go at dinner time or during a World Cup game oops) then people won’t be a problem. There is a separate path for walkers/runners along the shop area that’s usually pretty free unless it’s a busy time for whatever reason.

Run #2

Again, I tried to find a run where at least a part of it would be off the streets for the sake of keeping cool. The closest park to our apartment, according to google maps, is called Villa Doria Pamphii. It’s the giant green thing you see on the map. I headed off one day to go and check it out on a run, and I was pleasantly surprised.

Some quick background on the park because I was curious after I ran through it:

This park is the largest landscaped public park in Rome (who knew?) It was owned by the Pamphii family until their family line died out in the 17th century and was then passed down to Prince Doria (hence, the double name of the park). The Pamphii’s were very wealthy, and one was even a pope! (Innocent X). The park was purchased by the city of Rome in the 1960’s, and the villa on the property was turned into a museum housing much of the work that was in the collection of these wealthy families (I didn’t end up running by this).

Pros of this run:

  1. The park is beautiful – there’s lots of water and trees and grass and pretty buildings interspaced among the nature and it’s just generally a really nice park.
  2. There’s nasoni all over the park. Being able to do a quick stop (or four) for water during a run in the summer makes the run much easier.
  3. Some of the paths in the park aren’t paved – I guess some people wouldn’t like this, but I trail run a lot at home and I prefer the dirt paths.

Cons of this run:

  1. It’s a mob to get back to Trastevere. On my way home, I encountered the largest outdoor staircase in terms of height I have ever seen (and, mind you, I hunt out large staircases to do workouts on). Even though I love stair workouts, I don’t tend to love them towards the end of a 5 mile run.
  2. You have to run through city streets to get there – not a deal breaker, but the park isn’t THAT close.

Again, I would recommend this run. I really enjoyed the park a lot, and it’s a really convenient place to run due to all the nasoni. Yes, it is rough to get home, but I just told myself I got an extra scoop of gelato that night as a reward for running up that massive staircase. About half the run is inside the park, and the other half isn’t too bad because you’re running through not particularly busy side streets most of the way to get there. If you like running through nice parks, and you’re staying in Trastevere, you should consider giving Villa Doria Pamphii a visit.

Overall, I think running in Rome is actually a really cool thing to do. It gives you a much better sense of the layout of the city, and you’re running through and by history every time you step out the door. During any given mile, you could run past a 2000 year old structure (like the Coliseum), a 17th century villa (like Villa Doria Pamphii park), next to a river that helped build an empire (like the Tiber), or across a bridge adorned with statues designed by the famous Baroque sculture Bernini (like the Pont Sant Angelo). It’s not always comfortable, given the heat and the cobblestones, but I was often so distracted by the fact that I just passed something incredible that it was easy to lessen the discomfort. If you’re a runner, and you have a chance to run while you’re in Rome, do it! I will always have fond memories of my runs in Rome.