53k along ancient Roman roads and trail - Rome, Italy
I did this single backpack adventure following the Plane -> Trail -> Hotel schedule I talk about in my earlier post: Maximizing your time - Planning your run straight from plane to trail to a hotel. I had less than 36 hours in Rome, so had to be efficient to get in my ultra run and touring of the city.
This trip began at the Ciampino Airport at about 8:30 am on a Saturday morning. Once I landed I grabbed my usual fuel (Twix, Gummi Bears and water) and then had a couple Cafe Americano and a chocolate croissant to fuel for the day. Since I traveled in my running gear and only had my running back pack with me I was ready to get going so called an Uber to take me to the town of Frascati. The Uber was quick to arrive and after a 20-minute ride I was at the start of a trail ready to go. I was immediately confronted with some cool sights, a very interesting gate that was unclear what it was protecting.
The trail started at the edge of the Parco dei Castelli Romani Park that is southwest of Rome. The plan for the day was to run through the park then link up with the Via Francigena trail. It’s an old pilgrimage trail that people have taken to Rome for 100s of years and has a lot of history and artifacts along the way. Much of the run was along old Roman roads that were “paved” with large cobblestones with rolling hills that added up to about 3500 feet (1000m) of elevation gain over the 33 miles (55k). The second half of the run was completely flat along the Via Francigena trail.
The run in the park was diverse with forest trail, fields, old Roman roads, a trail that overlooked a large lake, and a small village that also overlooked the lake. At parts the trail was alongside walls, in disrepair, that seemed to have bordered some old regal or royal properties.
Once I exited the park I was on the main Via Francigena trail. It was nearly straight as a ruler on its way into the city. Midway into this part of the run it rained heavily for a couple hours. Good thing it wasn’t too cold, and I was also prepared with my rain jacket. See my photo gallery for some cool shots of the different footing and the old buildings along the trail. The ancient sites really kept this run interesting.
The last few miles (5k) were challenging since it wasn’t so much a trail but a run alongside a busy road bordered by walls with little buffer between me and the cars. Contrary to drivers in the US that seem to give runners and walkers some space, these drivers didn’t waver an inch when they saw me in the road. I made it safely into the city and was suddenly upon the Colosseum. What an epic sight. I live only miles from the Ohio State University stadium known as the Horseshoe, in Columbus, OH and this coliseum, built well over a thousand years ago is equally impressive. I went back on Sunday to take the full tour, a true highlight of the trip.
The run then wrapped up at the Relais Maddalena hotel in a quaint square next to the Pantheon. Nothing to complain about on this run. It was a long day, but the diversity of trails, artifacts and an ancient city really made for an interesting run.
I wrapped the trip up on Sunday with some power touring. The high point of the touring was the trip to Vatican City and getting to go to the top of St Peter’s Basilica Dome (551 steps). What made this part of the trip special was looking out over the city and seeing the mountain range far off in the distance where I started. These trails were great places to run in Rome and make this an ultra running destination you should be sure to check out.
I took a round trip flight from Berlin, Schönefeld Airport to Ciampino Airport. The flight times on Ryanair were perfect for a weekend trip, landed at 8:30am Saturday and returned on 9:00pm on Sunday evening. At the time of this trip Uber worked in Rome, so was super easy to get to Frascati for only 32 EUR.