Navigating the city on foot
Rome is a very easy city to navigate by foot, assuming you've procured a decent map. Although the modern metropolitan section of Rome is spread out, the historical center of the city is really quite compact. Even if you do get lost, you'll no doubt run into some baroque art work or marble fountain that will make your trip worthwhile.
After two or three days of walking though the city, you'll feel like a pro at navigating the Roman streets.
A word of caution: the motorists of Rome are quite speedy, and crossing the street can seem like a daunting experience, but you really needn't worry. Make sure you follow these simple rules, and you'll be fine:
- Only cross the street at crosswalks.
- Don't wait on the street corners expecting the traffic to slow down, you'll be there forever.
- Wait for a small break in the traffic and just go. The first time you try this, your heart will no doubt be beating in your throat the entire time, but you'll soon see. As soon as you start walking, and as if by some miracle, the cars, buses, trucks and everything will just stop to allow you to pass. Two pieces of advice on this subject: Don't dart deer-like across the street; that upsets the Romans. Also, whatever you do, don't under any circumstances stop in the middle of the road once you've started crossing. Hesitating only confuses and angers Roman drivers and their wrath could endanger your life. After the first few successful crosses, you'll see there really is nothing to it.
Approximate walking times
This table indicates approximately how long it takes to walk between different areas of Rome. Times listed take into account getting slightly but not terribly lost, as well as brief caffè or gelato stops.
|Termini||1 hour||25 min.||45 min.||25 min.|
|Vatican||1 hour||30 min.||30 min.||45 min.|
|Spanish||25 min.||30 min.||20 min.||30 min.|
|Navona||45 min.||30 min.||20 min.||25 min.|
|Colosseum||25 min.||45 min.||30 min.||25 min.|
From the airport
Rome is located approximately in the middle of the Italian peninsula and therefore is easily reached either from the north or south of the country. The capital is well connected to the rest of Italy and the world.
Leonardo Da Vinci Airport (Fiumicino)
Rome's main airport is Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci (FCO) with flights for Italian, European, and Intercontinental destinations.
The airport is well-connected to the center of town during the day by an express train and other, slower, trains.
The express train (Leonardo Express) between Fiumicino Airport and Termini station costs €14.00 and takes approximately 30 minutes. This train departs from and arrives at track 24 at Termini station, Rome's main train station.
Tickets can be bought:
- At any tobacco shop and newsstand inside the train station.
- At vending machines at both Termini and Fiumicino.
- At the ticket window by the platform at Fiumicino.
Fiumicino to Roma Termini:
First train at 6:35 am, and then every 30 minutes until the last train at 11: 35 pm.
There is another train that connects Fiumicino Airport to central Rome, and while it is slower than the express train, it does cost less. When you are at the airport train station, look for the train with the destination Orte or Fara Sabina. It stops at some smaller local stations on the way into Rome, but does not stop at Termini. Get off at the Ostiense station to access central Rome (south of the centre, closer to the sights), or Tiburtina (east of the centre, closer to Termini and the hotels there). Metro B and many buses connect Ostiense and Tiburtina stations with the centre of town. These trains leave every 15 minutes (every 30 minutes on Sundays) and cost €5.00. The trip from the airport to Ostiense takes about 25 minutes, to Tiburtina about 45 minutes.
Fiumicino Airport - Trastevere Station - Ostiense Station - Tiburtina Station (from 5:57 am to 11:27 pm).
Tiburtina Station - Ostiense Station - Trastevere Station - Fiumicino Airport (from 5:06 am to 10:36 pm).
To reach Termini from:
- Ostiense: take Metro Line B or bus 75.
- Tiburtina: take Metro Line B or bus 71.
- Trastevere: tram 8 to Largo Argentina and bus 40 or bus 64.
For arrivals and departures between 11:30 pm and 6:00 am, there is a night bus running between Fiumicino airport and Tiburtina station, run by Cotral (info 800-174 471). It stops at Termini station along the way, across the street from Palazzo Massimo.
- From Fiumicino: 1:15 am - 2:15 am - 3:30 am - 5:00 am.
- From Tiburtina: 12:30 am - 1:15 am - 2:30 am - 3:45 am.
- Time of bus ride 1 hour. Ticket one way € 5,00. You can purchase ticket on sales point (newsagents; tobacconist)
- On bus ticket increased price 7,00 €
Ciampino is Rome's smaller airport, used mostly by budget airlines and charter flights. To get to the center of Rome from Ciampino, take the Atral bus (€3.90) to Termini.
Ciampino - Roma Termini: 04.00 – 05.30 – 06.35 – 08.15 – 09.00 – 10.00 – 11.00 – 11.30 – 12.15 – 13.00 – 14.00* – 15.20 – 16.05 – 17.35 – 18.20 – 19.00 – 20.00 – 21.00 – 22.50
*not on Sundays or festivities
Rome is circumscribed in its entirety by a ring road (Raccordo Anulare – G.R.A.) where highways coming from all parts of Italy meet. Those coming from Naples and from the south generally must travel the whole length of highway A1. For those coming from the North of Italy, from Tuscany or Umbria, follow A1 Autostrada del Sole up to the capital. From Genoa, Pisa and from the Tyrrhenian coast take A12 up to Rosignano and continue on Superstrada S1 Aurelia up to Rome. From Pescara and from the Adriatic coast you must take A24/A25 up to destination.
The bus network is very extensive and will cover most of your needs. Tickets are not sold on buses. In rare occasions, you'll find a machine on some buses or at the end of lines. A better solution is to buy tickets at tobacco stores, caffès, and newspaper stands.
The city bus company is Agenzia del trasporto autoferrotranviario del Comune di Roma (ATAC) and most of the main buses terminate at the bus station outside Stazione Termini (where you can get a map of the bus routes).
There are hundreds of bus lines, running from 5:30 am until 11:30 pm. All buses run in both directions.
The most useful are:
- 40 Express: Termini - Via Nazionale - Piazza Venezia - Largo Argentina - Chiesa Nuova – Borgo S. Angelo (for Castel S. Angelo and St. Peter's)
- 64: Termini - Via Nazionale - Piazza Venezia - Largo Argentina - Corso Vittorio Emanuele – Lgt. Sassia/S. Spirito (for Castel S. Angelo), Cavalleggeri/S. Pietro (for St. Peter’s) and ends in Stazione San Pietro (basically the same route as the 40 Express except it's smaller, more crowded, and makes many more stops)
- H: Termini - Via Nazionale - Piazza Venezia – Ara Coeli (Capitol Hill) – several stops in Viale Trastevere - (then continues into the western suburbs, ending at Via Capasso)
- 8 Tram/Bus: Connects the historic center with Trastevere. Largo Argentina - Ponte Garibaldi - Piazza G.G. Belli - Piazza Mastai - Piazza Ippolito Nievo - Stazione Trastevere - Monteverde - Casaletto
- 492: Stazione Tiburtina - San Lorenzo - Piazza Barberini – Largo Argentina - Corso Rinascimento - Piazza Cavour - Piazza Risorgimento (for the Vatican Museums)
- 23: Piazzale Clodio - Piazza Risorgimento - Lungotevere - Ponte Garibaldi - Lungotevere - Via Marmorata - Piazzale Ostiense - Basilica di S. Paolo
- 170: Termini - Via Nazionale - Piazza Venezia - Via del Teatro di Marcello - Bocca della Verità - (then south to Testaccio and EUR, ending at Piazzale dell'Agricoltura)
- 714: Termini - Piazza S. Maria Maggiore - Piazza S. Giovanni in Laterano - Viale delle Terme di Caracalla - (then south to EUR, ending at Palazzo Sport)
- 660: Largo Colli Albani - Via Appia Nuova - Via Appia Antica (near the Tomb of Cecilia Metella).
- 910: Termini - Piazza della Repubblica - Via Piemonte - Via Pinciana (Villa Borghese) - Piazza Euclide – De Coubertin/Palazzetto dello Sport (for Auditorium)- Piazza Mancini
- 590: Handicapped facilities. Same route as Metro Line A, but it runs every 90 minutes (schedule posted at the bus stop).
Night buses (from 12:30 am to 5:30 am )
There are over 20 night bus lines. The main terminal stations are Termini (Piazza dei Cinquecento) and Piazza Venezia. From these two piazzas buses leave for all directions every 30 minutes. You can recognize bus stops for the night buses by signs with an owl on the top.
The most useful night bus routes:
- N7: Piazzale Clodio – Lepanto - Piazza Venezia - Via Nazionale - Stazione Termini. A good bus to know if your hotel is near Termini but you plan to be out late in the historic center.
- N2: Same route as Metro Line B. Good connection between Testaccio (use the stop at Piramide, in Piazzale Ostiense) and Termini, or if you need to catch a night train from Tiburtina station.
- N1: Same route as Metro Line A.
- N11: Piramide - Lungotevere Aventino – Circo Massimo – Colosseo – San Giovanni - Viale Regina Margherita – San Lorenzo – Villa Giulia – Lepanto (close to the Vatican) – Piazza Risorgimento – Lgt. Farnesina Trilussa (Trastevere) – Marmorata - Piramide
- From Termini, 40 Express or 64
- From the Colosseum, walk 5 minutes to Piazza Venezia, then 40 Express or 64;
- From Trastevere, 23 (across the river at Lungotevere de' Cenci);
Spanish Steps & Trevi Fountain
- From Termini, 71 or 85 to Via del Tritone;
- From the Vatican , 62 or 492 to Via del Tritone
- From Trastevere, Tram/bus 8 to Largo Argentina then 62 to Via del Tritone
- From Termini, 40 Express, 170, or 64 to Piazza Venezia, then walk for 5 minutes
- From Vatican , 40 Express, 64 or 62 to Piazza Venezia;
- From Trastevere, Tram/bus 8 to Largo Argentina , then bus 87.
Pantheon, Piazza Navona & Campo de' Fiori
- From Termini, 40 Express or 64 to Largo Argentina
- From the Vatican , 40 Express, 64 or 62 to Largo Argentina
- From Trastevere, don't be lazy - cross the bridge and walk for 5 minutes!
- From Termini, 40 Express or 64 to Largo Argentina , then Tram/bus 8 to Viale Trastevere
- From the Vatican, 23 to Lgt Farnesina/Trilussa, Lgt Sanzio/Filipperi
Find more lines and news about Rome’s public transportation on the official website www.atac.roma.it
Driving in Rome is extremely dangerous. Rome has a high volume of traffic and a large amount of people riding motorbikes (often wildly). In addition, most of the historic centre of Rome is closed to normal traffic.
If you do decide to drive, you will need to be at least 21 to rent a car. If you organize your car in advance it will cost you less. There are several rental agencies for cars, motorbikes, mopeds and bicycles. You'll also need to get a parking permit from the traffic police if you wish to park anywhere in the centre or you'll risk being towed.
In the end, there are many safer and more efficient transportation options available to you in Rome.
The city's Metro service has only two lines, A (red) and B (blue), both of which go through Termini. Unfortunately, the metro misses most of the historic district, which can be frustrating at times. The reason for this is because there is quite a bit of ancient Rome beneath the ground; enough so that they cannot dig a tunnel very far without running into some 2,000 year old brick wall, column or other such artifact.
The metro automatic ticket machines give change and you can buy your ticket from a tobacconist, newsstand or vending machine before you get on the train or bus (your bus tickets will also work on the metro).
For the metro, validate your ticket before boarding the train. If you are caught without a validated ticket, the fine is 51.65 euro. The metro runs about every 7-10 minutes, from 5:30 am until 11:30 pm everyday, except Friday and Saturday when it runs until 1:30 am.
Line B and B1
One direction of B line (the one coming from Laurentina) splits in 2 different ends at Metro Stop Bologna. Signs in front of each train, screens on platforms and speakers will tell you where the next train will take you (ending at Rebibbia for B or at Conca d’Oro for B1). If you are supposed to end your trip after Metro Stop Bologna, make sure to be on the right train.
- Eur Fermi (Cotral)
- Eur Palasport* Magliana (Ostia Antica)
- San Paolo
- Circo Massimo
- Castro Pretorio
- Tiburtina (Cotral)
- M. Tiburtini
- S. M. de Soccorso
- Ponte Mammolo
- Conca d’Oro
- Baldo degli Ubaldi
- Valle Aurelia
- Cipro/Musei Vaticani
- Lepanto (Cotral)
- Vittorio Emanuele
- San Giovanni
- Re di Roma
- Ponte Lungo
- Furio Camillo
- Colli Albani
- Arco di Travertino
- Porto Furba
- Numidio Quadrato
- Lucio Sestio
- Giulio Agricola
- Anagnina (Cotral)
Useful Metro stops
- Spanish Steps: Line A: Spagna
- Vatican Museums: Line A: Cipro/Musei Vaticani
- St. Peter's Basilica: Line A: Ottaviano
- Colosseum: Line B: Colosseo
- Circus Maximus, Baths of Caracalla, and Aventine Hill: Line B: Circo Massimo
- Appian Way and Catacombs: Line A: Colli Albani, then bus 660
Taxis in Rome
- It is not typical practice to flag down a taxi in Rome, normally you will go to a taxi rank and take the first one in line, or call for a cab.
- When you call a taxi company, give them your location and then they put you on hold until they find an available taxi. They'll tell you the name and number of the taxi (for example, Firenze 23) and the wait time
- 3570 is an automated service and you just hang up after the computer has given you the information.
- Only take a taxi in Rome if it is an officially licensed and metered white cab. Private drivers appear at the airports and train stations; do not get into their cars and do not allow them to carry your bags.
- The driver should not charge more than the amount shown on the meter unless there is a reason for a surcharge. Legitimate surcharges are made when there are more than 2 passengers sharing a cab, when the origin or destination are outside the city limits (such as Fiumincino Airport), when baggage is placed into the trunk, or when a trip takes place after 9:00 pm.
- Every cab is furnished with a price list (generally laminated and hanging from a thin chain in the back seat). The chart describes all possible charges.
- Phone: 06-5551 - this company is a co-op of drivers. Take any sort of reservation.
- Phone: 06-6645 - this company will also pre-book.
- Phone: 06-3570 - automated call dispatch.
Fixed Price Fares
Fixed fares are charged per journey, not per passenger and are inclusive of all extra charges
•From Fiumicino Airport to within the Aurelian Wall and vice versa: €48
•From Fiumicino Airport to Ciampino Airport and vice versa: €50
•From Fiumicino Airport to Tiburtina Station and vice versa: €55
•From Fiumicino Airport to Ostiense Station and vice versa: €45
•From Ciampino Airport to within the Aurelian Walls and vice versa: €30
•From Ciampino Airport to Tiburtina Station and vice versa: €35
•From Ciampino Airport to Ostiense Station and vice versa: €30
Rome's main railway station is Roma Termini.
The hub of Rome's transportation system can be confusing when you first arrive, but the following explanation of its layout should help you get oriented. Once you've gotten off the train and have walked down the platform, you will reach the main gallery. The exit by platform 1 will take you to the north side of Termini; the exit by platform 22 will take you to the south side of Termini.
Brand new for 2000 was Forum Termini, an underground mall beneath the station, accessed by several sets of escalators along the main gallery. Forum Termini features such shops as United Colors of Benetton, Sephora, Ricordi MediaStore (selling CDs and tapes), and Conad, open 8:00 am to 9:00 pm.
One of Rome's ubiquitous McDonald's offers you the chance to eat a Big Mac next to ruins from the 5th century B.C. From this lower level, you can also access the city's two subway lines, Metro A and Metro B.
Back on the street level, continue away from the platforms and past the main gallery to reach the main hall, where you'll find the ticket and reservation windows. Exiting from the main hall, you'll find yourself in Piazza dei Cinquecento, the largest bus terminal in Rome. The night bus to Fiumicino Airport stops here as well, though you'll have to look very hard for the sign (at press time, the stop is on the Palazzo Massimo side).
You'll also find an Internet cafe, a pharmacy, a travel agency, newsstands with international newspapers, and various restaurants and bars.
Timetables & Tickets
Train timetables are posted around stations. In addition to the immense permanent tables located high above eye level, there many more extensive and current timetables available.
To find out if a train goes to the city you are trying to reach, you should check not only the Final Destination column on these yellow posters, but also the Pricipali Fermate (major stops) and the Annotazioni columns.
The trains listed in green type (and some black trains leaving at night) are the normal slower trains. Trains listed in red type (InterCity (IC), ED, EuroNight (EN), and InterCity Night (ICN)) are faster and require a supplement, while Eurostar trains are the fastest and most expensive of all, requiring reservations on Saturday and Sunday.
Note: To avoid being fined, you must validate your ticket in one of the yellow boxes on the platform before boarding any train in Italy. This is true for all tickets (local, regional, IC, EuroCity (EC), Eurostar (ES), Kilometric) except the Eurail Pass.
Approximate train costs
Prices listed are for 2nd class travel; one-way.
Train costs change depending on how far in advance you buy the tickets.
- Rome-Florence costs about €20 with a fast regional train, and from €20 to €50 with Eurostar
- Rome – Naples costs about €11 with a fast regional train and from €20 to €50 with Eurostar
- Rome – Milan costs from €35 to €90 with Eurostar (fast regional train not available)
- Rome – Venice with direct Eurostar costs from €40 to €70 (fast regional train not available)
Visit the official FS website (www.trenitalia.it) for current prices.
There is now a new train company (NTV – Italo) which sometimes has cheaper prices and better service. Again, the further in advance you buy, the less you pay. This company's trains usually depart from less central train stations (from Rome Tiburtina or Rome Ostiense). Check prices and train stations on www.italotreno.it
In an effort to minimize pollution in the small backstreets of the historic center, the city has established several electric bus lines to navigate alleyways barely wide enough for a Vespa.
There are relatively few trams in the city. If you are lucky enough to find a convenient line for you, it's a much nicer ride than a bus or subway, and a good alternative to private transportation. Some Tram lines can be runned by Buses,
- 116: Via Veneto - Piazza Barberini - Piazza di Spagna - Corso Rinascimento - Campo de' Fiori - Piazza Farnese - Via Monserrato - Via Giulia - Campo de' Fiori - Corso Rinascimento – Lgt Sassia – Terminal Gianicolo
- 117: Piazza S. Giovanni in Laterano - Piazza del Colosseo - Via dei Serpenti - Largo Tritone - Piazza di Spagna - Piazza del Popolo
The "metrobus" ticket costs only €1.50. This is a really good value. It is valid for 100 minutes of travel almost anywhere in and around Rome and you can change buses as many times as you want during that time. You are also allowed one subway (underground railway) journey during that period, using the same ticket and one tram journey.
You can change trains as often as you need to during your one subway journey of course, but you cannot leave a station and re-enter or enter another station for a fresh journey on the same ticket. There's almost no travel distance limit though so you can almost travel from one end of Rome to the other on the same ticket. The ticket typically looks like this:
You must remember to punch your tickets in the little punching machines at the entry barriers in stations, on the station platforms, or inside the buses (usually near the rear of the bus, on the left). The punching machines are usually coloured yellow. In fact since 2007, most of the metro stations are being updated with electronic turnstiles that won't open unless you insert your ticket in the slot to be punched.
Sometimes the buses are so packed that you can't fight your way down the aisle to get to the machine, but do your best, as ticket inspectors are on the prowl.
The tickets are made of really cheap thin card, so you have to poke it fairly carefully downwards into the slot at the top of the yellow punching machines in the direction of the red arrow, with the ticket facing you just like in the picture above. The machine sucks it in and in about a second and a half, spits it back up out at you, with your platform entry-time and an extra barcode printed on the back, and also, we assume, coded into the magnetic strip, so it's practically fraud-proof. Do not just leave it there! It's not just an entry token like in New York. You have to pull the ticket out again and keep it with you for the duration of the journey as proof of payment. Also look then on the back of it to confirm that it has been correctly stamped with the time and date of travel. If it hasn't, you can still be spot-fined or prosecuted for evident fare-dodging.
Biglietto Integrato a Tempo (BIT)
Validity: 100 minutes from validation.
Biglietto Integrato Giornaliero (BIG)
Type: Daily ticket
Validity: until 12:00 am of the day of validation, valid for an unlimited number of trips.
Biglietto Turistico Integrato (BTI)
Type: Integrated ticket
Validity: 3 days starting from the date indicated by the user on the card, valid for an unlimited number of trips.
Carta Integrata Settimanale (CIS)
Type: Weekly card
Validity: 7 days starting from the date indicated by the user on the card, valid for an unlimited number of trips.
Personal Integrated Monthly Card (Integrato Mensile Ordinario Personale)
Type: Monthly personal ticket
Validity: One month (the month is indicated on the card), valid for an unlimited number of trips.
Details: The user has to write all the requested personal data on the card, and no one but you may use the card. Keep the card with you at all times as you may be asked to show it. This card is sold only until the 5th of each month, after this date it can be bought only from ATAC Treasury – Largo Montemartini n°17.
Impersonal Integrated Monthly Card (Integrato Mensile Ordinario Impersonale)
Type: Monthly impersonal ticket
Validity: 1 month (the month is indicated on the card), valid for an unlimited number of trips. The card can be used alternatively by different persons.
Details: This card is sold only until the 5th of each month, after this date it can be bought only from ATAC Treasury - Largo Montemartini n°17.
Where to buy
Cards and tickets are usually available at newspaper stands, Tobacco shops, and Metro stops (machines or tickets booths). Monthly tickets, after the 5th of each month can be bought only at the Termini Train Station in the ATAC ticket shop, on the 2nd level, going to the metro stop.
For more info on tickets, busses, and how to calculate your journey please visit www.atac.roma.it. It is also available as a cell phone app, downloadable for free from the official website.