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Are you curious about how you can make your next trip to Rome more sustainable? Well, then read on for plenty of local sustainable travel tips for an eco-friendly itinerary in Rome!

Rome, Italy, also known as the Eternal City, sits at the top of the must-see list for many would-be travelers. However, some eco-conscious global trekkers might be wondering what the city is doing to curb its impacts on the environment.

In this area, Rome undoubtedly faces an uphill battle: unfortunately Caput Mundi lags behind in cleanliness and sustainability when compared to other Italian cities. That said, while Romans have quite the climb ahead of them, travelers can rest assured there are definitely ways to travel sustainably in Rome. [no_toc]Sustainable travel guide to Rome and four-day eco-friendly for Rome, Italy

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  • Rome Food Policy Project: Rome is joining the global fight against food waste. The project began in 2021 and encourages food system operators, from bakeries, butchers, supermarkets, and restaurants to donate surplus food to organizations that distribute meals to the homeless in the city.
  • Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan: The city is hard at work addressing its mobility issues. Due to its unreliable public transportation systems the city is notorious for excess use of personal vehicles, leading to high levels of local pollution. However, Rome has lofty plans for improving mobility and reducing environmental impacts. By 2024, the city will ban diesel vehicles from the city center and is in the process of constructing over 150km of bike lanes.
  • Participatory Urban Garden Project: Fun fact: Rome has the widest urban agriculture area in Europe! To promote more resilient urban and peri-urban agriculture in the city, the URBACT project was started to fight social exclusion, poverty, and promote soil recovery in Rome’s green areas by teaching locals to use permaculture farming techniques.
Roman ruins in the city of Rome

Getting Around Rome: Green Transportation

Ask any Roman walking on the street what they think of the mezzi pubblici, they will scoff and shake their heads. Plagued by decades of disappointing reliability, Rome’s public transport is the bane of many motorless citizens. However, with the recent changes being made, the future of Rome’s urban mobility looks very green!

Electric Scooters and Bikes

In the midst of the 2020 Covid Pandemic, the public’s need for a safer form of transportation to avoid Covid caused an explosion of electric scooter and bicycle companies to pop up in Rome. Today, you can hop on a red Jump bike for €0.20/minute, a Helbiz bike for €0.07/minute, or take a scooter from Lime, Dott, or Wind for between €0.19-.25/minute.

Take one of these eco wheels for a spin on the new bike lanes along the Tevere River!

Rome resident traveling by bike

Public Transport

Though it is limited to only three lines, Rome’s metro system is impressively regular. Trains come every five minutes and can get you from top to tail in 20-30 minutes, where driving that distance would take over an hour.

Kill two birds with one stone while touring Rome! Experience the metro and learn some history and visit the “metro museum” in San Giovanni.

As for other forms of public transport, I recommend the trams. Though not as reliable as the metro, they’re a fun and quick way to get around. To experience some of Rome’s more modern history, catch one of the old trams on line 19 that go to Villa Borghese.

Lastly, to avoid creating waste with paper tickets, I recommend you use TicketAppy. Scan your QR code at end-cap metro terminals or just show the public transportations officers if they board your bus or tram to check tickets.

Rome public transportation sustainable transit for Rome

Walkability

You’ll be doing a lot of walking in Rome. Lucky for you, all the greatest sites in the city are well within walking distance. To stay hydrated, don’t forget your reusable water bottle at the hostel! Rome has free water fountains, called nasoni (for their nose-like appearance), all around the city. The fountains are fed by freshwater springs from outside the city so it’s very cold and tastes great. Better than any bottled water you can buy.

Travel Rome Off-Season

While most travelers are drawn to Italy in the summer for its beautiful weather and breathtaking views, travel during this season can be stressful, crowded, expensive, and uncomfortably hot. Traveling to Italy in the off-season can be a great way to avoid seasonal price spikes and contribute to a more steady stream of income for the tourism industry.

August should be avoided anyway since most Italians leave the city during this month. So when in Rome, do as the Romans do! Visit in the off-season instead.

Spring

Spring is one of the best times to visit Rome. The trees and flowers are blooming and the city feels vibrant and alive after enduring the cold and dreary winter. Prices will still be low as the weather can be a bit unpredictable at this time of year.

rome in spring time

Fall

While Rome doesn’t experience the traditional four seasons, we do get a small window in autumn where the weather begins to chill and the leaves start to turn pretty colors. This is also the time of year for roasted chestnuts, which you’ll find street vendors cooking around random areas of the city.

Rome skyline during the fall travel season

Winter

If you’re looking for a beautiful place to spend the holidays in Europe, Rome is the place to go. While you won’t have a white Christmas in the capital (the photo above was taken on a rare snow day in 2018), Via del Corso, the main street of Rome, is decked out with lights for the holidays, and every year the city places a gigantic Christmas tree in Piazza Venezia. With the large marble Altare di Patria as the backdrop, it’s quite the view!

Rome’s Urban Green Spaces

One of the best things to do in Rome, besides visiting ancient monuments, is to spend some time wandering around the amazing parks and urban green spaces.

Villa Borghese Gardens

Take an afternoon to visit the most famous and well-visited of Rome’s parks, the Villa Borghese Gardens. Wander the park and visit the many little temples, fountains, and monuments as well as the Borghese Gallery and Museum, which houses some of the world’s most spectacular statues and art pieces.

View of the city from Terrazza del Pincio

Parco della Caffarella / Parco dell’Appia Antica

The park is so big it has not one but two names. Caffarella Park is a massive urban green space that spans 190 hectares and is used for a variety of outdoor activities including horseback riding, bicycling, yoga classes, and nature walks.

Parco della Caffarella / Parco dell'Appia Antica Urban parks in rome

Villa Doria Pamphili

Want to feel like a Roman royal? Visit the Villa Doria Pamphili park, the former estate of ancient Roman nobles. Today the park is a beautifully landscaped green space, perfect for an afternoon picnic.

Roman Culture & History

Rome is considered an icon of Western culture. Luckily, Italians love to share their culture and Rome offers many activities for foreigners to learn about the local way of life and the city’s history.

Public Holidays & Events

One of the many interesting things about living in Italy is learning just how many minor holidays, in addition to the major holidays, Italians celebrate. If you’re lucky enough to be in Rome on one of these days you might even catch the Frecce Tricolori, the national acrobatic flying team. Check out this list of public holidays in Italy as well as 13 of the best events in Rome coming up in 2022.

Museums

You could spend years living in Rome and never run out of museums and archaeological sites to see. So to make it easier on you, here’s a shortlist:

  • Colosseum – Roman Forum – Palatine Hill: If you didn’t go see the Colosseum, did you really go to Rome? This incredible trio of historical/archeological sites are a must-see on your first trip to the Eternal City.

Roman Colosseum ruins in Rome

  • Museo di Roma: This museum exhibits an amazing collection of art essential to the story of Rome’s history and culture.
  • Borghese Gallery and Museum: The Borghese Gallery and Museum houses some of Italy’s most famous and historically significant artwork and artists. Not only do you get to see some amazing art, but the building itself is a beauty to appreciate, too.

Borghese museum in Rome

Local Life Off the Beaten Path

If you want to avoid paying high prices for mediocre food in the more touristy areas, or you just want to say you saw some unique corners of Rome, I definitely recommend a visit to the following neighborhoods.

  • San Lorenzo: a little on the grungy side but chock full of unique character and incredible up-and-coming artists, and artisanal bars and eateries. Here’s a list of where to go for the best food in San Lorenzo (and Rome!).
  • Quartiere Coppedè: Once you enter Quartiere Coppedde, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a weird Roman-Bavarian fairytale. It even has an entry in the Atlas Obscura!

Quartiere Coppedè

  • Ostiense: If you’re looking for a break from pizza and pasta, Ostiense is the place to go. This area is dominated by Asian restaurants as well as some super hip and trendy bars.

Rome street art in Ostiense neighborhood

Sustainable Shopping

One of the most fun and most sustainable ways to experience Rome like a Roman… is to go shopping!

Farmers Markets

The quintessential Italian experience, food shopping. Throughout Rome, you will find huge food markets that are a combination of indoor/outdoor wet markets. The best of these markets in Rome also happens to be the most sustainable: Campagna Amica. This market brings produce straight from farms in and around the city of Rome. The goods are sold at fair prices for farmers. Booths here also sell food products like fresh pasta, cured meats, cheese, jams, sauces, and even wine and olive oil!

Farmers market rome

Clothes Shopping

Stick to window shopping Via del Corso’s fast fashion stores. Rome has hundreds of little boutique shops where owners either hand make clothes or source items made in Italy. There are also tons of new shops popping up that are making vegan leather goods or creating clothes and other goods from RE(f)use!

Shopping Secondhand

The city of Rome has a number of places, small and large, where you can shop for secondhand or vintage clothing and other items. For a cheaper but more chaotic experience, check out Porta Portese (only on Sundays).

Rome second hand flea market and outdoor shopping

For more high-end options check out the MercatoMonti Urban Market which sells artisanal jewelry and clothing as well as high-end secondhand clothing. Monti also has tons of small vintage and secondhand clothing stores. My favorites are Fabrica and King Size Vintage!

Eating Green in Rome

In Rome, you will not just be eating more greens, but eating more sustainably, too. Many restaurants outside of tourist areas get their ingredients from local farms and food producers. There has also been an explosion of restaurants specializing in vegetarian and vegan cuisine, unheard of in the city just a decade ago.

Organic food in Rome

Check out eateries like 100% Bio or Rumi Bottega Organica, which sells some great vegan desserts and organic products.

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Sustainable Itinerary for Rome

Morbi vitae purus dictum, ultrices tellus in, gravida lectus.

Rome is one of those cities where you could spend three days and feel like you’ve been there a lifetime. This is not a rag on the city but rather a testament to how incredibly dense the city is with places to see and things to do!

While it’s generally good to aim for between 3-4 days in the capital, do consider extending your trip if you can and visit some of the areas surrounding Rome.

Day 1:

A good way to approach your travels to Rome is to check off the “big stuff” on Day 1 so you have more time to relax and enjoy the rest of your time in the city.

On day one, hit the big sites in the city center: you can see the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, and Campo de Fiori without even breaking a sweat. Get a spot of lunch in one of the piazzas and then take a walk down the Tevere river towards Trastevere.

Piazza di Santa Maria Trastevere

Here you can meander the rest of the evening, soaking in the little neighborhood where it feels like you’re stepping back in time. Get dinner at Tonnarello for an amazing Cacio e Pepe and then walk next door to Piazza di Santa Maria Trastevere where you can find Romans and tourists alike enjoying a nice evening out.

Day 2:

Depending on what you’re more interested in, I would take day two to either:

OR

  • Spend the day walking, biking, rollerblading, scootering, etc. around Villa Borghese. After you’re done with your walk, there’s a great pizza and pasta place called Al Forno della Soffita that can satisfy all your carbohydrate desires.


Day 3:

Use Day 3 to finally see the Colosseum. To be honest, you don’t need to even go inside the Colosseum, it’s really just as incredible from the outside. To get the best view, go to this bridge which offers the most optimal angle for photographs! Take the rest of the day to explore Monti and all its little vintage and second-hand shops, you will not be disappointed by the food in the area either, try Ce Stamo a Pensà.

Then, have a little rest at your accommodation if you need it and gear up for a fun night. Hop on the 3 tram or the green line metro and go to San Lorenzo to explore this quirky area and experience the unique nightlife.

Day 4:

If you want to go somewhere in Rome that’s truly unique, hop on the metro’s blue line and head south towards the EUR district in Rome. This district is considered Rome’s financial area but feels almost otherworldly. Its bold modern architecture, influenced by fascist ideology, is a complete 180 from Rome’s city center. The best way to explore this area is to wander around and google monuments, features, and buildings you find along the way.

Rome Sustainable Travel Guide

When you head back to the city, take the same metro line and make a stop in Ostiense for some sushi at Issho Sushi Amazoniko, then head over to Taba Beat Ostiense for a coffee and admire the smog-eating mural.

Make sure to share and save this in-depth sustainable travel guide to Rome. Explore Rome with this eco-friendly itinerary for an authentic cultural experience that reduces your footprint. What was something you learned that you are excited to implement on your next trip to Rome? Let me know in the comments. Let’s get curious about reducing your impact and saving travel in Rome, Italy.

Thanks to Rome local, Lexi from Crossing Oceans for this awesome sustainable travel guide to Rome, Italy. Make sure you head over to her blog and check out her slow travel content.

Sustainable travel guide to Rome Italy and 4-day eco itinerary
Rome Italy Sustainable travel guide and 4-day eco itinerary

Eco Hotels in Rome

Morbi vitae purus dictum, ultrices tellus in, gravida lectus.

Before you go, if you’re looking for an environmentally-conscious place to lay your head at night, consider these sustainable hotel options in Rome.

High-End Hotels

  • Bio Hotel Raphaël is definitely a splurge, but their commitment to sustainability and great location makes them the best option for those with a bigger budget. The hotel serves seasonal, vegetarian, and organic food, they are locally owned and have a standing commitment to maintaining the building in an eco-friendly manner.
  • Hotel Palazzo Manfredi is part of the small luxury hotels in the world. This family-owned local hotel has stunning views of the Colosseum. Housed in a building oozing with Roman history this is a great place for luxurious cultural connection.

Mid-Range Hotel

  • Seven is a colorful boutique hotel. They have bike rentals and use renewable energy! Great location, highly-rated, and sustainable – win-win-win!

Budget-Friendly Hotels

  • Magic Guest House invests revenues back into the local community, works with local tour guides, and displays local art.
  • Relais Roma Centro ask your front desk and they will share information about local environmental issues, tourist etiquette and they’ve ditched single-use plastics.

Remember to always look for Booking.com’s sustainable property award.



Booking.com

Rome Sustainable Travel Guide and 4-Day Eco-Friendly ItineraryRome Sustainable Travel Guide and 4-Day Eco-Friendly Itinerary