A Roman Holiday: 5 Healthy Ways to Experience the Eternal City
June 7, 2018
By Juliette Housel

The Eternal City may put a focus on la dolce vita—the “sweet life”—but any visitor should know that Rome is not just the place for delicious pasta and exquisite wine. This ancient city can also be the perfect place to start or continue a healthy lifestyle.

When I first began telling friends and family that I was going to spend four months living in Rome, it quickly became apparent that no one considered the Italian lifestyle to be particularly healthy. Everyone warned me of the inevitable weight gain waiting for me in the form of gelato and supplì. In spite of everyone’s assumptions, my own included, I quickly realized that Rome is a city that promotes a healthy lifestyle.

Here are five healthy ways to explore the ancient city while still enjoying the staples of Roman culture.

Rent a Bike and Take a Trip Along the Tiber River

Not only will this activity burn off the calories from all the gelato, it will also give you the chance to see the Tiber River. There are many bike rental places, but one that is often used is the Rome’s ATAC bike sharing system. At only 0.50 euros every thirty minutes, this option is cost-effective and gives you a chance to see more of the city.

Take a Historical Walking Tour

As a poor college student, I was constantly online looking for free things to do on the weekend. Luckily, there is an abundance of free (tip optional) tours that can take you around the city. Now, most tours last around two to two and a half hours, but do not fret—while taking in the beautiful architecture that has stood proud for centuries, your mind will soon forget that you have been on your feet the entire time.

Visit Trastevere

If time is on your side and you have more than a couple days to see Rome, make it a point to explore one of the many neighborhoods for a more authentic view of the city. Trastevere is the perfect place to experience during a mid-afternoon stroll without even realizing how many calories you’re burning. I spent many nights after dinner roaming around with friends, seeing something new each time. 

Enjoy Less Traditional Cuisine

Though exercise is a huge contributing factor in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, food plays a large factor, too. After three months of just Italian fare, I started to crave something new. Pizza and pasta are the major dishes, but you will find there are plenty of options for healthier and lighter meals. One gem I found is the restaurant “VinAllegro,” which has an entire page dedicated to just salads. If you’re finding yourself a bit sick of classic Italian food, a little searching is all you need to do to find a perfect alternative.

Remember Moderation is Key (Especially with Wine!)

Any person trying to live a healthy lifestyle will tell you that moderation is key when it comes to eating. Thankfully, the portions in Italy are often smaller than those in the U.S., but when it comes to the wine, make sure to watch your consumption. The homemade wine offered at many restaurants may be delicious, but it is also high in calories.

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