On first impact, Rome may seem like a city of indulgences – with pasta, pizza, gelato and free-flowing wine around every corner – but Italians have long benefitted from their healthy, balanced lifestyles and enjoy some of the longest life spans in the world. We asked 14 expats about their experience in the city and how they like to stay happy and healthy in the Eternal City.
Thanks to living in the center (and close to Doctors in Italy!), it’s easy to curate a health-focused lifestyle based on exercise and health focused diet. First and foremost, I make sure to move – I walk or bicycle everywhere, and when its raining, I am walking and running at the gym. My favorite routine is the family bike ride – we like to bike up and down the Tiber banks, from Castel Sant’Angelo to Trastevere/Testaccio and back, and then up to Ponte Della Musica, and finally back to the Centro Storico. And since we love to eat, we make it a point to focus on a thoughtful, healthy diet that gives us energy, but nothing processed. Living in Rome makes it easier- especially because we have great accessibility to fresh produce markets, great butcher and fresh fish vendors.
Erica Firpo, Travel & Lifestyle Journalist
For being a major European capital, Rome is a city fortunate to have a lot of green spaces within its boundaries – one of the most green in Europe – with almost 1,100 hectares of green space within the city and up to nearly 8,000 hectares when including parks & natural reserves in its perimeter. So when Rome’s noise and smog get to be too much, I head to one of Rome’s many beautiful green spaces to breathe in tree & plant infused oxygen and meditate in nature.
Linda Martinez, Hostel Owner at The Beehive
One of the ways I stay healthy in Rome is by waking up fairly early, grabbing my camera, and heading out on a photo walk around the city while the light is soft and the streets are quite empty. Besides the obvious benefit of getting in a several-kilometre-long walk first thing in the morning, I find that the act of deliberately forcing myself to really slow down and actually look at what’s around me while appreciating the smallest details never fails to make me feel more calm, focused, and balanced – for me, it’s almost a type of meditation.
Sara White, Interface Designer & Photographer
One of my favorite ways to stay happy and healthy in Rome is to workout outdoors. We live in the most beautiful city in the world! Take your workout to one of the numerous stunning parks and breathtaking locations to benefit from fresh air and to get inspired and energized for days!
Anastasiya Gorshkova, Fitness & Lifestyle Coach
To the outsider looking in, it may seem like Italians feast on pizza, pasta and gelato – and still stay in good shape – but the truth is attitudes to food here are well balanced. Forget calorie-counting or feeling guilty about enjoying a plate of carbonara but know that Rome boasts an abundance of fresh, seasonal and nutritious local produce that should be appreciated in much the same way. Above all, never, ever feel bad about an extra scoop of gelato.
Emma Law, PR/Marketing & Writer
Rome is, in my opinion, the most beautiful city in the world. I take full advantage of this by walking everywhere – it’s rare to find my on public transportation! Exploring Rome by foot has helped me to discover some of my favorite restaurants and shops while stumbling upon scenes that look straight out of a film. And when I’m not wandering around the city, I’m staying grounded at the beautiful Zem Yoga Studio.
Jenn Overstreet, Teacher & Blogger
One of my favorite ways to take care of my mental and physical health is by following a morning routine: it helps me start the day on the right foot by reading, writing, exercising, and meditating. I also try to avoid being on social media until an hour after I get up 🙂 We are also lucky to live in a city where the weather is generally very pleasant so I like to take those opportunities to run outside to Stadio dei Marmi in north Rome.
Estrella Gomez, Writer & Content Creator
As beautiful as it is, Rome can be an exasperating place to live. The way I stay centered and calm in the midst of Roman chaos is with a regular yoga practice. I also add in a long walk to and from the yoga studio that takes me past sites that include the Roman Forum and over Tiber Island.. that never fails to bring a smile to my face.
Gillian McGuire, Travel Writer & Blogger
One of my favorite ways to stay fit in Rome other than walking is to go for little jogs/runs in some of Rome’s many beautiful green spaces. We have lots of them sprinkled throughout the city so no matter where you are, you can always find one. There are many running trails throughout the city and sometimes you’ll even come across some type of gym equipment set up in the park. There are also plenty of stairs and hills in Rome’s parks (in particular the Circus Maximus) which are great for toning your glutes. Walking is obviously a great way to stay fit and it’s so easy to do in Rome, but jogging and running are also easy to fit in. Just look for the parks!
Elyssa Bernard, Bloger at Romewise
Self-care is really important to me and I always 100x better after a good night’s rest so I try to make sure to get as much sleep as I need. Rome has a slower pace of life than many other cities in the world and I appreciate the later starts in the morning – and more relaxed working atmosphere. I also travel as much as I can because nothing refreshes and inspires me more than seeing new places and taking photos: taking time to nurture my passions makes me feel grounded and grateful – two essential, but sometimes overlooked aspects, of living a healthy life!
Livia Hengel, Digital Marketing Specialist & Content Creator
I walk a lot in Rome. The upside with public transportation being a “casino” in the city is that it takes me the same amount of time to walk to the Historic Center as it does waiting for the bus, so I usually prefer to walk and enjoy the outdoors. I also play tennis. A friend of mine is a member of a “circolo” (sports club) that is known for its tennis courts/instructors and as her friend, I can take group classes. Tennis is a great exercise because it’s fun (even for a terrible player as myself) and it’s a sport you can continue to play as you get older.
Arlene Gibbs, Decorator, Event Planner & Writer
I love going for a run in the morning, before Testaccio wakes up. I loop down the river and across Tiber Island, which is just beautiful at that hour. It puts me a good mood for writing the rest of the day!
Isobel Lee, Journalist & Blogger at Testaccina
Since moving to Rome, I’ve found it a lot easier to live a healthier and more balanced life, despite the high amount of pizza in my diet! There’s a greater availability of fresh, organic food, more often I walk instead of drive and rather than over-medicating, I’ve been using acupuncture and other holistic techniques to help with headaches, anxiety and general well-being.
Abigail Stark, Social Media Marketer & Blogger
I feel so lucky to live in a city as beautiful as Rome. To stay healthy, I definitely take advantage of walking as much as possible, taking in the gorgeous architecture and charming streets as I get from point A to point B. Rome’s markets are also a fun and delicious way to make sure I am eating seasonal and local food that is both healthy, sustainable and delicious. A part from these, I also make sure to hit the gym at least four times a week.
Lexi Doerfler, Custom Travel Planner