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December is a month for GRATITUDE. We are blessed with countless small and big things but we hardly or almost never take a moment to be grateful. Today I am thankful about a wonderful April afternoon that I spent in Rome with Bici & Baci Tours. (It means Bicycles and Kisses) A rental company that helps you see Rome in the best way, Bici & Baci is one of the oldest vespa companies in the eternal city. It offers a hoard of options for rentals from the quintessential Fiat 500 to scooters to Piaggio Ape that helps one see more of Rome than usual. I went for Bici & Baci after a recommendation from Diana of  Italy Translated  and I am so pleased I did because it made my short trip of Rome worthwhile.

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Needs no introduction

My tour started around 2 in the afternoon with Alexander, my tour guide and motorist. There was also another couple who joined in on another vespa and together we started the tour from the Colosseum. Alexander was very passionate about his culture and heritage and it showed from the moment he shared his insights about the city’s history. I learnt so much from him in those few hours, it was pure joy to see his enthusiasm for the city. Might I mention that the way he drove in that Roman traffic was commendable!

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Say Hello to Alexander!

After learning the history of Colosseum we crossed the Baths of Caracalla which were founded around 212 A.D. He mentioned how parts of the baths are now used in the summer by the Rome Opera company.

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Couldn’t get a great picture of the Baths of Caracalla

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Aventine Hill

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Oh, sweet Rome

Afterwards crossing swanky Roman villas and apartments, we reached the Aventine Hill which was a special treat. It was my first time at the Aventine and the view from there was exceptional.

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But first coffee!

Our next stop was the Circus Maximus– a huge playground which also turns out to be the largest stadium from ancient Rome. Currently it is used for many things such as a concert for Rolling Stones 😉

After the Circus Maximus we had to stop for a caffe` so Alexander took us visited the neighbourhood of Testaccio at a quaint place called Trentare3. We passed by Protestant cemetery to see a Pyramid jotting out of nowhere (YES you read that right). The Pyamid of Cestius is one of the most best preserved buildings of Rome as you can see in the picture below. It is extraordinary what all Rome is made up of.

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Testaccio neighborhood

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Pyramid of Cestius

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View from Gianicolo Hill

We then stopped in Ancient Rome to see familiar sights of Piazza Navona, the Pantheon and Fontana di Trevi. It was such a beautiful moment to be there again, remembering my earlier travels with my red vespa gleaming in the sunshine, wind blowing on my face. Whatever more could I have wished for??

Before crossing the Ponte Sant’Angelo and reaching Trastevere, I wished we would cross Fontana dell’Acqua Paola which I had seen in movies. It turned out that was the route to the Gianicolo Hill– our last stop.

It was such a fun day and I may have missed so many more spots in between but the best part of Bici & Baci tours is that you wouldn’t see these sights if you came to Rome as a first time visitor. These are hidden areas and places that locals would know. Being on a vespa with a guide definitely helped me know more about Rome. I was so pleased when Alexander told me twice that he was happy that I already knew so much about Rome and its history. It made me feel proud of myself.

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San Pietro in Montorio

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My Audrey Hepburn Moment *drumrolls*

Bici & Baci was kind enough to host me for the 4 hours of my ride for no cost. Thanks guys, your tours are already high on my recommendation list for all my Indian friends who visit Rome.

Meanwhile, tell me have you ever seen Rome on a vespa??

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