I went into Rome on a sweltering afternoon yesterday to meet one of my translation clients, Anna, who I have known virtually for some time but never met face to face. Incidentally, I left my car at the Grotta Rossa station, which is much less busy than Saxa Rubra and extremely easy to park in the large, empty car park outside the station entrance. Only problem is: you need to buy a ticket elsewhere or risk a fine because there are no vending machines at the station.

Cycling around Rome was one of the many topics that came up during a highly enjoyable hour or two over a cool drink overlooking Piazza Navona from a shady corner bar.

Anna explained the bikesharing scheme in Rome: it operates 24/7 and there are 29 stations round the city. You have to register for the service at one of the ten ATAC ticket offices at the following metro stations: Termini, Lepanto, Spagna, Anagnina, Ottaviano, Cornelia, Battistini, Ponte Mammola, EUR Fermi or Laurentina. You buy a service smartcard for EUR 5 (plus EUR 5 for the first top-up). Then all you have to do is hire your bike for EUR 0.5/hour by placing the smart card next to the card reader and then return it within 24 hours.

I noticed from the map on the website www.bikesharing.roma.it that there are hire stations in Rome plus 3 on the coast in Ostia, Castel Fusano and Lido di Faro.