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Five reasons to love visiting Rome with a dog

This is a guest post by Helen Asquine Fazio, the blogger behind Travels with My Dog: Observations on the Global Scene. Helen is a writer and a Shih Tzu specialist and Raja is a traveler and a Shih Tzu himself. Helen’s business travels give Raja lots of opportunities for adventures far, far away. Their blog gives practical and fun advice about pet travel destinations near and far.

Raja at the Arch of Constantine

If you want to have fun with your dog in Italy, take him to Rome.  Why?

Rome is a perfect city plan for urban dog visitors:

First, piazzas stop the momentum of the streets and many small parks and fountains refresh and invite visitors to linger.  Walking a dog in Rome is not a linear activity, but an extended meander from spot to spot to browse and sniff, people watch and relax. There is always a cool fountain behind a low wall or a flight of shady steps to sit on if you want to rest your feet and paws.  Public water fountains are everywhere and, while we always suggest bottled water for dogs when traveling, the public water is potable and cool.  Raja recommends the shallow Baraccia Fountain to dip hot paws.

Second: Rome’s cafes always welcome your dog to sit with you while you have a chic meal alfresco- and many restaurants allow your dog inside too.  Winter never becomes too cold in Rome and all cafes keep patrons warm in cooler weather with heat lamps, so outside dining is always comfortable for you and your pup.  And yes, all cafés will cook up something for your dog.  Why not?  Raja likes pasta, so he’s very easy to please.  And his favorite piazza is the Piazza Navona.  You get Bernini, pasta and a heat lamp all at once!

Raja and Helen in a Roman café

Third: Hadrian’s Column, the Trevi Fountain, the Via Veneto, the Spanish Steps and so very many more antiquities and treasured landmarks are close up and personal.  You dog can visit them all with you without any admission tickets or special permissions.  Museum walls don’t separate you from Raphael, Bernini, and Michelangelo when you go for a walk in Rome.  Raja loves to hang around the Piazza San Pietro, the great circular atrium of the Vatican City. And he’s welcome there too.

Raja and Helen at the Vatican, outside St. Peter's

Fourth: Dogs have always lived in Rome.  The famous Lupo Italiano is an Italian dog/wolf hybrid supposedly created in 1966, but sculptures in the Vatican Museum suggest the Lupo is an older cross.   An entire room of the Vatican museum is filled with antique sculptures of pet dogs.  The Lupo and other large dogs are Roman favorites. In early evening, the dogs of Rome come out strolling, often off leash. Do they walk in traffic, no of course not. The dogs of Rome know better.  Rome’s streets are free of trash, but gritty as in any big city, so a small dog does best being carried through the dusty parts.

Fifth:  Romans do not appear to get overly excited about dogs.  Most hotels welcome them as a matter of course. And, while Romans don’t coo over your dog the way the French and the New Yorkers do, they accept your dog as your companion in shops and on subways without fuss or comment.  But just start up a conversation and you will discover that many cafés have a hard working dog in the kitchen making sure everything comes out on time and, with very little provocation, many Romans will show you their dogs’ photos on their cell phones.

Raja agrees that Rome’s one of the best cities for dog visitors in the world.  He’s hoping to get back there next spring and maybe he’ll see you there too!

10 comments

  • Doesn’t it sound fun?! Helen and Raja really travel the world. I hope to coax more guest posts out of her in the future.

  • Akila

    Seriously, you have no idea how often I am coming to your site nowadays. We are starting to plan our European leg with our dogs and you are my go-to-website. Love, love this post and the one about Bau Beach.

  • Ruben

    I enjoy your blog. I am planning to visit Rome with my dog but she is too big to flight in the passenger cabin. What time of the year you think is better to flight considering my dog will go as checked baggage.

  • Hi, Ruben — You’ll want to look at charts of average temperatures, not only for Rome but for any locations where your plane will stop en route, and choose a time range when the temperatures are neither terribly cold nor terribly hot. Spring and fall come to mind, of course. And no matter what you plan, Mother Nature has her own plans — be sure to keep checking the weather as your departure date approaches, in case there’s a fluke in the weather that’ll affect whether your airline will be able to accept your dog for carriage.

  • Patricia

    Lovely blog. I travelled with my two little dogs to Italy for 40 days. 15 of those days were spent in Rome. You were spot (no pun intended) on when you said that dogs are accepted almost everywhere. No one batted an eye when I took the dogs into shops (I always asked permission first) or had dinner out. I would live in Italy in a heartbeat as a result.

  • Kristi

    Thank you for the post! My baby-girl and I are moving to Italy for school and her happiness is pretty much my greatest concern… We’re from Manhattan which is pretty dog-friendly but not nearly enough for my liking (e.g., can’t be on public transit unless they’re small enough to carry, can’t come into cafés or coffee shops, etc.). So I’m thrilled to hear Rome is ideal for pups. What about off-leash dog parks, places for canine socializing, places to jog with your dog?

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