Expat Adventures

La Dolce Everything: Rome on Two Wheels

by Annie Ojile

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.

We make every effort to ensure the information in our articles is accurate at the time of publication. But the world moves fast, and even we double-check important details before hitting the road.