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Running + archeology. It’s a simple idea that mixes the best of two worlds that I love. So, what is it? Invented by Isabella Calidonna in 2016, ArcheoRunning is a group tour experience where participants jog or lightly run to each point of interest.

Although it sounds simple, the combination of running along the streets of Rome with a group in the early morning light almost feels a bit magical. When I first heard about it, I was instantly intrigued. With a degree in Classics and master’s Art History and some experience digging in Pompeii, I knew I wanted to give this new tour format a try.

I went on Isabella’s Hidden Rome Tour, and to be honest, at first I was cringing at the 7:15am meeting time. And then a bit of fear: I love running but I’m not a pro marathoner- will I be able to do this?

But don’t let the early wake up time scare you- although it’s presto, it’s worth it.

Maybe it’s the lack of people. Maybe it’s the way the sun hits on the golden palazzi. Maybe it’s the energy of some physical exercise. Whatever it is, the starting time for the tour is just right.

The same goes for the amount of physical activity- if you’re used to being on your feet and walking briskly then you can do this tour. The format goes like this: a little bit of jogging and then a stationary moment to learn about whatever gem of Rome Isabella has brought you to. Basically, if you’re the type to get annoyed by slow walkers or crowds, this tour is perfect for you.

“In ArcheoRunning, I combine my passions: to show the city of Rome and its culture- and running! I have a specific mission, to introduce the city from a completely new point of view, through gentle movement. It is not a race or hard training, ArcheoRunning is well-being and happiness”— Isabella Calidonna

Plus, Isabella is an expert of both domains: running and archeology.

She’s an art historian with a degree in Cultural Heritage Conservation and a post-graduate degree in Art History from the Università degli Studi di Siena. Plus, an official tour guide and a certified as a museum educator for people who are visually impaired or are diverse learners, and a licensed guide for the Vatican Museum. To top it off, a national track and field coach (Fidal) and a personal trainer for Italian National Olympic Committee (Coni)!

With no lack of certifications, Isabella makes this a truly accessible tour. From a physical perspective, it felt incredible to run and to truly enjoy it. Remember running drills or “doing the mile” in Physical Education class? This is the complete opposite. For me, it was a genuinely freeing experience to simply enjoy running and the city. No mile times or hard paces, no trying to “beat” someone else- simply running with a group for fun.

So what do you see on a tour? While I don’t want to spoil to the surprises (or secrets!) of the hidden Rome tour, I can guarantee you’ll see things in a new light. It’s a mix of history and fun. Typical places like the Pantheon or Piazza Navonna- but with a new spin- and some spots you may have never even heard of before.

And maybe, this is the final thing I’m left with from the ArcheoRunning experience: a new appreciation for the eternal city I live in and a truly happier mood from the run and insights of Isabella. A simple concept with magic results.

Grazie to Isabella for inviting me to participate on the Hidden Rome tour! This tour was sponsored by contributions of the Regione Lazio. To learn more or to book your own ArcheoRunning tour visit: https://www.archeorunning.com/en/

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