Our expert guide to using public transportation in Rome including tickets and pass options plus tips for families travelling Rome with kids in tow.
Rome is a big, sprawling city with an extensive network of public transportation options.
Buses, trams and metro lines cover most of the city but the system is not straightforward to use.
Poor information, erratic timetables and excessive crowds are the norm and they can be so frustrating for the first time visitor to ruin their visit to Rome.
If you have ever heard people saying Rome left them cold and irritated, it usually has to do with the Rome public transportation system!
However, it doesn’t have to be this way.
In Rome, there is reason to madness (most of the time) and knowing what to expect will go a long way to make the use of public transport in Rome if not pleasant, at least not a vacation killer.
These are our tops tips on how to get around Rome.
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How to get from Rome airports to your hotel
The first thing to figure out if flying into Rome is how to make your way from the airport to your hotel
Depending on your arrival airport, you have several options.
Fiumicino Airport (code FCO) is connected to the city center by direct train.
This is called ‘Leonardo express’, leaves from inside the airport and runs regularly, about once every 20 minutes. Tickets can be bought at the station before boarding and are currently 14 Euro. Kids go free (up to one per adult only)
Other forms of transport are Terrravision buses, connecting Fiumicino with Termini station and taxis.
Once in Termini, many buses and taxis can lead you to your hotel.
Ciampino doesn’t have good public transportation into Rome and the choices are limited to Terravision buses and taxis.
How to get around Rome by bus, tram or metro
Public transportation in Rome comprises of metro, bus and tram lines.
The metro is the fastest way to get around but only serves limited locations.
Buses and trams are more convenient in terms of locations but can prove hard to get at busy times: be prepared for a very snug journey for the most popular areas!
Public transport stops in Rome are yellow.
Depending on where you are in the city, they either simply display a list of the routes served by that specific stop or have an electronic display showing the next bus due.
Tram stops usually do not have displays with the current timetable but the trams do operate well and are often less crowded than the buses.
You have several types of buses: standard, express and small electric ones that serve the historical city centre.
Where to buy public transport tickets
Rome public transport network has an integrated ticketing system and the same tickets are valid on buses, trams and the metro.
You can buy them at newsagents, in the shops marked ‘tabacchi’, at metro stations and at bus terminus (Piazza Venezia is a handy one in the city center)
You usually cannot purchase tickets on board.
Type of Rome public transportation tickets available
You can choose between several types of tickets available.
Single ride (BIT): 1.50 euro. The ticket must be stamped at the start of your journey and is valid for 75 minutes. You can use it to transfer from one bus to the other
Day ticket (BIG): 4 euro. Valid for one day on all Rome public transportation options including bus, tram and metro. You must stamp the ticket at the start of your journey and show it to the officials when boarding the metro
3 days / 1 week tickets (11 euro / 16 Euro). Valid on all transport options including bus, tram and metro
Using public transportation in Rome with strollers and kids
Rome is not a stroller-friendly city.
While efforts are in place to help families use public transport (kids go free) the system is hardly accessible by people with wheels and the crowds make it often hard to even board the bus.
If you are lucky to get on off peak travel time, you can board with the buggy and leave it open in the designated area.
At peak times, be prepared to fold the buggy and possibly to have to wait for more than one bus before boarding.
On the metro, accessibility varies on the station you need.
In general, I am sad to say the overall metro experience in Rome with a stroller (or even without) is not a positive one so if you take this route, just be prepared to see the least glamorous and efficient side of Rome.
You can find all our tips for visiting Rome with a baby or toddler here
Other Rome travel cards and private tours
Several bus companies offer special deals, travel cards and tourist routes convenient for visitors who may need to cram in a lot of sites in a short amount of time.
These are all operated by private companies but can be a good alternative to public transport for some visitors as they touch on most of Rome’s must-see sites.
Among the most popular there are:
Rome 110 open
Departing from Rome Termini station this bus service costs 15 euro and connect about 40 of Rome most famous sites.
You can buy tickets in the station or onboard (additional charge for on-board tickets 50 cents)
Another service connecting some of Rome’s ancient sites including the baths of Caracalla. This one costs 8 Euro (9 if the ticket is purchased on board) and comes with a live commentary by a tour guide
Christian Rome as the name suggests connects some of Rome’s main churches and basilicas.
This servies operates as a hop on hop off tour and currently costs 13 euro for the day
The OMNIA Vatican & Rome Card is a sightseeing pass which price includes entry to top attractions in Rome and the Vatican City as well as a Fast Track Entry, a hop-on-hop-off bus tour, free guidebook and travel card.
Rome hop on hop off by Greyline
Hop on hop off bus service around Rome with commentary in several languages on a double-decker bus.
Rome hop on hop off by the Big Bus Company
I hope you found this guide to public transportation in Rome useful. Safe travels!
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