Rome by Segway Tour Review25 September, 2010
Rome is a very large city and its key attractions are all quite far apart – about 10 minutes by foot even with the Metro which has only a few stops. To see all these key attractions within half a day and in a fun relaxing manner (no tour groups with guides herding you around like cattles into souvenir shops), your best bet had to be via a Segway tour. For €75, you will get a 3-hour tour of Rome’s greatest sights e.g. the Colesseum, Roman Forum on the Imperial Rome Segway tour.
The tour starts at 5pm and if you have sufficient numbers, you can even get a private tour for your own group. The tour group is kept at a maximum of 8 participants so you can be assured of constant attention from the guide. Participants are advised to arrive about 30 minutes before for the training session. Understandably so, there is a certain degree of apprehension among first-time users of Segway – how can a 2-wheel device support and move me along this 3-hour tour?; will i fall?
The Segway has an in-built gyroscope – the type of device used to support a helicopter to hover in mid-air; simply put without the scientific/engineering jargon, how it works is it will counter-balance your movement on top of the Segway. Of course, it only works to a certain extent so there are still certain rules to follow when using the Segway. It is a very heavy equipment and it is very sturdy and can handle most terrains e.g. slopes, sandy, grassy. Pay attention to the guide’s instructions during training and you should be able to pick up the skills to ride a Segway within 10 minutes after a few trial rides. It’s even easier than riding a bike.
From the RomebySegway’s office at Via Ostilia, you will be doing most of your trial runs at a nearby park. Once the group is comfortable with handling the Segway, off we go for our tour!
Once you arrived at a particular destination, the guide will provide a quick brief of what this place is about and then refer you to the ipod touch which contains a video and audio guide of the history of the area. There are visual reconstructions of what this place looked like a few thousands year ago. Some parts of the historical narration could be a bit dry but you can always fast forward. Or you can choose to walk around the area without the ipod. The guide will give you a few minutes to linger around and when the group is ready to go, he will lead the way to the next place. Very free and easy with no rushing and stress.
There are a number of road crossings with and without traffic lights – for those crossings w/o traffic lights, the guide will make sure the road is clear before letting you go through, ensuring safety at all times but you still have to be alert especially for cars turning the corner and worst still, if you panic and Segway refuses to budge because you are not riding it right. There are also a number of steep downhill slopes along the way – the trick is to control your speed and maintain your posture (don’t lean too much forward or you will speed up downhill).
Follow the guide’s instructions at all times, grasp the basics of how to control your Segway and you will be on your way to a very fun and educational tour with Rome by Segway. There are lots of photo opportunities along the way too and stop your guide anytime you see something interesting e.g. we stopped our guide for a group photo in front of a huge ruins (see picture above in the middle) – that’s actually the Trajan market – it used to be the shopping mall of the Romans a few thousands years ago.
For a bird’s eye view of the route we took around Rome with the RomebySegway tour, check out: