In order to help you get the most of your stay in Rome, Italy, you can find below some very useful information and insider tips on discovering how to get about the beautiful Eternal City.
The historic centre of Rome is compact and many of the most famous sights are clustered together. Therefore, Rome is a great city to discover on foot. In fact, this ‘form of transport’ is highly recommended and is an excellent way to discover some beautiful sights and areas which you would otherwise no doubt miss out on. However, getting around Rome on foot can at first be daunting! Mainly due to the ‘special’ way the Romans drive, crossing the road can seem to be a suicidal act.
There are however some simple street rules to abide to and all should be fine.
1) Ensure that you use a zebra crossing or cross at the traffic lights, don’t jaywalk!
2) Don’t just wait at the crossing, expecting the traffic to stop, it rarely happens!
3) Once there is a small break in the traffic, just walk ahead. No doubt you will have your heart in your mouth the first time you do this. But you will soon see that the traffic will stop to let you pass. Just like anywhere, you shouldn’t really run or stop in the middle of the road.
The metro or ‘metropolitana’ in Rome currently only comprises of two lines, with a third being planned and partly in construction. The two lines are known as the Red Line or A Line and the Blue Line or B Line and only intersect at Termini Station, the city’s main train station and most important transport hub. The Red Line runs from east to west (Battistini to Anagnina) and conveniently stops at many tourist attractions such as the Vatican, Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo.
The Blue Line runs north east to south west from Rebibbia to Laurentina and stops at the Colosseum and St. Paul’s Basilica, as well as connecting the city’s three main train stations, namely Termini, Tiburtina and Ostiense. Unfortunately, the metro system does miss out a large part of the historic centre. This is because there is still a lot of Ancient Rome below the city, and digging is often cancelled after the discovery of an ancient brick wall dating back 2000 years and so forth.
Buses and Trams
Most parts of Rome can be reached by bus, although the network can seem quite complicated. You can get a map of the bus routes from the main terminus, which is located just outside Termini Station. However, routes change constantly in the city, and the map may already be out of date. Routes generally run from 6.00am to midnight, and several areas are then serviced by night buses. Most bus stops clearly state where the bus is coming form and going. Tickets need to be bought in advance and stamped on the bus. Normally you should get on at the back or front of the bus and exit in the middle.
As always, be vigilant on crowded buses, in fact some routes are notorious for pickpocketing, especially route 64, which is frequented by tourists as it stops at many of the tourist sites. There are also a few tram lines in Rome, but slightly off the beaten track for tourists. Saying that, there are lines that are nearby to the Vatican, the Coliseum and Trastevere They are however clean and efficient if you are in a location where they are to be found. Again, it is best to buy a ticket before boarding.
Tickets for the metro, buses and trams can be bought at stations, tobacconists, and newspaper stands. The automatic ticket machines in the metro usually only accept the exact change and are also well known or eating up your money, so it is best to buy your ticket in the above-mentioned places.
A Single Ticket (BIT (Integrated Single Ticket)) is the cheapest ticket available. It costs just 1 Euro and allows you to travel for up to 75 minutes on any amount of buses or trams, but just one journey on the metro or urban trains. There are also several other types of tickets available, as outlined below:
One Day Travelcard (BIG (Integrated Daily Ticket)) costs 4 Euros and is ideal if you plan to use the transport system a lot over one day. It is valid until midnight on the day of validation and can be used on most modes of public transport, including urban trains.
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Three Day Travelcard (BTI (Integrated Touristic Ticket) costs 11 Euros and like the BIG Travelcard is valid on most modes of transport but expires three days after initial validation.
Roma Pass costs 23 Euros and like the BTI Travelcard it is valid for three days. However, it comes with certain bonuses and reductions that include free admission to the first two museums and/or archaeological sites visited, reductions and discounts on many other museums and tourist sights, as well as a special Roma Pass Guide and Kit with a map and details of the city’s sights and attractions. The Roma Pass is available at the city’s tourist information offices and at the tourist sights that take part in the scheme.
There are also weekly and monthly travelcards available which currently cost 16 and 30/46 Euros respectively.
Always remember, like any city, always be aware of pickpockets. And finally, enjoy your stay in the magnificent Eternal City!