Three Sightseeing Running Routes in Rome

Running in Rome: Three Sighting Routes While Running In Rome
Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

I enjoy running especially outdoors. Not only is it great exercise but it’s one of my favorite ways to reset and clear my head. Since wellness and self-care are important to me, I run when I’m home and I continue the tradition when I travel. Yet, I only recently discovered that there is a term for what I do. Running in Rome or “sight jogging” is a combination of running and sightseeing – who figured!

Killing two birds with one stone, running in Rome kept me in shape as I discovered panoramic viewpoints and iconic landmarks perfect for watching the sunrise. Waking up early meant that I avoided crowds. This allowed me to get off the beaten path for a bit and check out different parts of the city which I might not have seen otherwise. After each run, I felt energized and ready to learn more about Rome’s rich history and culture through a variety of guided tours, classes and day trips offered by Bookmundi.

Looking for the best places to run in Rome? I have three recommendations!

Best Places for Running in Rome

Via Appia Antica – Running through ancient Rome

My Run Total: 6.75 miles or 10.86 kilometers

Via Appia Antica (Appian Way or Old Appian Way) was one the first running routes that I discovered in Rome. On Sundays, the road is closed to traffic. Since I started my run at my hostel in the city center, I only covered a small section of the road. However, you can cover more ground by biking – check out the pros and cons to see more.

Via Appia Antica is the perfect mix of history and beauty. Dating back to 312 B.C., this well-preserved route is a great place to retrace the footsteps of the ancient Romans. It’s the earliest road that led to the ancient city of Rome. To put this into perspective, it predates the Colosseum. Used to transport military supplies, this road was critical in sending Roman troops to southeast Italy. It is now an archaeological park with attractions such as churches, villas, and Roman baths.

Via Appia Antica has the original slabs of stone from the ancient city of Rome. Along the straight cobblestone route, you’ll find the Catacombs of San Callisto, the final resting place of more than 16 popes and 50 martyrs. In ancient Roman times, the dead were not allowed to be buried inside the city walls.

Villa Borghese – Running through greenery

My Run Total: 4.16 miles or 6.69 kilometers

Running in Villa Borghese in Rome.

Villa Borghese is the third largest park in Rome. Once a vineyard and private park for aristocrats, the Villa is now a charming public park. On a hillside overlooking Rome, this multilevel oasis offers expansive views of Rome’s gorgeous skyline as well as museums, lakes and even a zoo.

From my apartment, I ran to the Piazza del Popolo or the “People’s Square”, a grand square which houses Rome’s oldest Egyptian obelisk. Next, I worked my way up the paved Viale Gabriele D’Annunzio, a steep tree-covered hill. Along the way, I stopped to admire the colorful rooftop gardens and counted as many as nine church domes. I also spotted all sorts of church spires and bell towers.

Villa Borghese Viewpoint in Rome

Next, I climbed a short flight of steps leading to the Terrazza del Pincio, a large viewpoint which overlooks the Piazza del Popolo. This balcony is a great place to take panoramic photos of the city.

Since there were only a handful of early risers enjoying the view, I sat on the ledge (be careful it’s slippery) and enjoyed the park’s peaceful ambiance. There’s something special about seeing Rome come to life.

Best places for running in Rome.

After checking out the viewpoint, I walked down a scenic statue-lined path. The statues depicted prominent historical figures and the stone pine trees created a beautiful canopy overhead. For those who want to have a seat, there are wooden benches scattered throughout the park. To the right, the sculptures, water fountains and 1867 water-clock added to the dreamy scenery.

Running in Rome Italy.

Although I didn’t get to explore Villa Borghese in its entirety, this is my favorite scenic running route in Rome so far. My only wish is that I’ll get to return to Rome to see the sunrise or sunset here.

Read Next: Best Free Things to Do in Rome

Vatican City – Meeting the Pope

My Run Total: 3.20 miles or 5.14 kilometers

Top places to run in Rome, Italy.

Since my apartment was close to the Vatican, I concluded my trip to Rome with a morning run to Saint Peter’s Square before heading to the airport.

I ran through my local neighborhood and covered most of the Vatican’s two-mile border. Standing at 39-feet, the Vatican walls are slanted at an angle instead of vertical. Completed in 832 A.D., the walls protected the pope and clergy from invasions.

I also ran along the banks of the glistening Tiber River and stopped in front of the Saint Angelo Castle where I strolled to the Saint Angelo Bridge. The bridge has ten angel sculptures each holding one of the things critical to Jesus Christ’s death like nails, a whip, and cross. Pressed for time, I didn’t have a chance to take the stairs to go down to the river.

Rome running routes you shouldn't miss.
Where to run in Rome?

Since I already visited this area during sunset, that morning I enjoyed ditching the crowds and street vendors.

Best places to run in Rome.

At 7a.m. I counted less than ten people in line to visit the Vatican. But on my way back there were lots more. This means that if you plan to visit the Vatican, expect long lines. The Vatican museum opens at 9 a.m.

These three Rome running routes prove that in an hour, you can cover a lot of ground. I can’t wait to continue discovering more places to run in Rome next time I visit.

And if you need help crafting your perfect trip with plenty of sightseeing, this Rome itinerary is perfect for the first time visitor.

Do you enjoy running while traveling? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Running Routes in Rome Perfect For Sightseeing
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11 replies
  1. Angela says:

    I know this is an older post, but I was wondering what the experience running in Rome was like, other than being beautiful of course. Were there a lot of catcallers? Did you have any safety concerns? Any running etiquette that is unique to Rome or Europe? Are the roads tough on the joints? Thank you. Beautiful pictures, I can’t wait for my trip now!

    • Danielle Desir says:

      Hi Angela, I ran several times during my Rome trip and there were absolutely no catcallers and I felt safe the entire time. I think if you can get out early (when the sun is out) you’ll beat the heavy foot traffic and have a more enjoyable time. Bring your phone with you and carry a key for safety.

  2. Mel Butler says:

    What a great idea of suggesting running routes in Rome and getting in some sightseeing at the same time. I never really thought about running while in another country but now you have put the thought in my head. So nice to see the city without all the crowds around.

  3. Gem (Travels with a Hobo) says:

    Great post! You must have had the most scenic views during your run. And what a great idea to do some sightseeing at the same time as keeping fit when traveling. Hope I can do some running to in my future travels, I always say I’ll do it but I end up sleeping in most of the time haha

  4. jetsetandforget says:

    Love this! I ran through Villa Borghese in September and ran into some other runners which was cool! Heading to Thailand soon and plan on running there… in the heat… wish me luck! ~ Gina

  5. Anne @TravelTheGlobe (@TTGLOBE4L) says:

    OMG i so subscribe to this philosophy. Some of my great travel memories involve runs. Like a run in Indonesia with local children chasing us, or a run in Borneo where I had to jump over snakes. My only disappointment is that I am in Zanzibar and have managed to pull my groin so I cannot do my usual running sightseeing

  6. Nina Zara says:

    Never crossed my mind to combine running and sightseeing! I am really not a fan of running but i admire you for doing it. Looks very empty, so its definitely rewarding thing to do!

  7. Soraya Nicholls says:

    What a great way to explore Rome, while also making sure to keep fit! You would see so much along the way that it would be an amazing experience. I would love to experience running through Ancient Rome – the sights and sounds would be amazing. Not sure if I could make the 10km run though!


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