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Expat Adventures

La Dolce Everything: Rome on Two Wheels

by Annie Ojile

View Slideshow La Dolce Everything: Rome on Two Wheels

Just some good-looking Italian men gearing up for a tour. All photos by Nicolee Drake.

A few months ago in Italy, Fathom founder Pavia Rosati sat on the back of a Vespa for a very Dolce Vita tour of Rome with Scooteroma founder Annie Ojile. The Scooter Maven's love of Rome is contagious, and a fast friendship was born, and we wanted to know more. About how she fell in love with Italy, how she made a career on two wheels, and became the ultimate concierge on two wheels.

ROME – I'm am Italian-American Minnesotan who studied in Milan and fell madly in love with Italy — the language, the culture, and the people. (I did not, like so many other women who come to Italy, initially fall in love with a man, or else my love affair with Italy wouldn't have lasted very long.) I moved back to the United States and kept my dream of moving to Italy tucked away, promising myself "One day I'm going to do it."

And one day, I did. And two years after moving to Rome, I drove my first motorino during Friday rush hour. I thought that if I could survive that I could have a future on two wheels, and it was only a matter of time before I was leading Vespa tours of Rome and my travel company Scooteroma was born and I christened myself "the Scooter Maven." But even the Maven is humbled every time she rides around the Colosseum.

One hot summer day years later, walking into a hotel to pick up clients for a Vespa tour, I met Giovanni Nerone. He had spent his entire career in the tourism and hospitality industry, as head concierge at Rome's five-star Exedra Hotel and Hotel de Russie. He saw the stars-and-stripes helmet that is always tucked under my arm when I go on foot and asked me where I was from. I proudly told him I was from Minessota and he asked me, "Can you tell me how Jesse 'The Body' Ventura was elected governor?" I thought this guy must be smart. (He is: The smartest person I know, he reads three newspapers a day in three different languages.)

Our first date was a Bruce Springsteen concert in Rome. At midnight, I turned 34 and in early 2011, we got married and merged our expertise, Giovanni becoming the Mr. G to my Maven. We are so proud of what we have created, giving our clients an American sensibility with Italian flair. Clearly I'm biased but I think there is no better way to experience the beautiful, exciting, and outrageous daily happenings in Rome than on two wheels.

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Slideshow: A Virtual Scooteroma Tour

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Annie is a Vespa guide in Rome, Italy. You can follow Scooteroma's adventures on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. She travels for the wheels and the bubbly, in that order.

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