They say all roads leads to Rome, but let me tell you, all roads within Rome are a mess. They’re great for getting lost and happening upon a gelato stand, but when you need to get from point A to B in a smart fashion, public transit is the best way to go.
We recommend using the public transit because it’s easy and very affordable! Using public transportation is not only a great way to save money and time, but a great way to feel like a local. Very few things are as empowering to me as realizing I know exactly where I’m going while traveling abroad.
How the Metro Works
The metro itself is relatively simple because it consists of only three subway lines and a variety of buses. We actually found it curiously similar to the T in Boston, so if you’ve mastered that one, this should be a peace of cake.
Tickets are only 1.50€ per ride, which is much cheaper than the rates in other major cities. They also have a day pass for 7€, which we didn’t use because we walk a lot, but that sounds like a fair deal.
Where to Get Tickets
When entering Termini, you’ll see a lot of ticket machines on the ground floor for the regional trains—ignore them and go straight to the Metro downstairs. The machines are almost always right across from the turnstiles in the Metro stations. They feature the burgundy “ROMA” logo and say “Biglietteria Automatica / Ticket Machine” across the top.
- They have multiple language options and are very easy to use.
- Most accept cash only, so make sure you have some small change! (You don’t want to get 45€ in 1€ coins).
- The 1.50€ one-way ticket is good for 75 minutes, so you can switch from metro to bus with the same ticket within that time period.
- They do not sell tickets on the bus, so we recommend buying multiple tickets at a time so you can be flexible. It’s good to have some on hand in case you need to hop on one later in the day.
Tickets are also sold at most newsstands and corner shops.
How to Stamp Tickets
Make sure you always have your valid, stamped ticket! Officers may ask to see your ticket on the train and if you do not have one, you may be asked to pay a hefty fine.
Your un-stamped ticket will have a blank area on the front of the card. Put the ticket into the slot on the turnstile (in the Metro station) or in the yellow machine (on the bus) to stamp it. There’s an arrow on the back of the card that shows which direction the ticket should be entered.
But what about taxis?
Even though the metro is cheap and easy, there are some downsides:
- The subway doesn’t access all areas of Rome (but the buses do!)
- Service ends early (closing at 1:30 on weekends and 11:30 during the week)
- The trains (especially the A line) can be extremely crowded
If you take a taxi, definitely download MyTaxi (here for Android). It works similar to Uber (where you can watch the route and pay online) but with existing taxis. We will say that we found the app to be unreliable, but we were trying to find a ride at 3AM. They also have Uber, but only Uber Black with licensed drivers, so it’s more expensive than your typical ride at home.
Was this information useful? Do you have more Rome transit tips? Let us know below!