I’m often asked what’s the best way to get around Rome. For short vacations spent in the city center, we can agree that on foot is certainly one of the best and favorite ways to get around Rome.
The answer to this popular question, however, is not a short one. Rome is a huge city, so there is not one single way to get around, but much depends on where you are staying and where you want to go.
There are many ways to get around Rome. In this handy article, I’m going to guide you through how to get around Rome and what means of transportation to choose whether you are staying in the city center or not, and also depending on where you need to go.
Are you ready? Read on and plan your best and smoothest Rome trip!
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This is my favorite and for sure one of the best ways to get around Rome if you have booked your room in the city center and this is where your holiday will mainly take place. Rome’s city center is pretty walkable. Even though quite large and consisting of different areas, walking around the central districts of Rome is just like visiting a museum with the perk that it’s free.
Of course, from the Vatican to the Capitoline Museums is not a short walk, but if you plan your trip properly and make daily itineraries, you will be able to do all or most of your holiday on foot. In fact, if you are staying in Rome for a day only and it’s your first, I would suggest spending 24 hours in the city center as there is plenty to see and do.
If you are staying longer, the best thing you can do is draw daily itineraries so each day you have a more compact area to visit and you can walk in between landmarks. If you are staying far from the city center, you can reach by public transport in the morning and walk for the rest of the day you want to spend downtown.
Rome buses are run essentially by two companies, ATAC and TPL. ATAC is the public company of Rome’s municipality and runs most buses, especially in the city center. Taking the bus is convenient when there is no metro or train where you are going because usually, the bus takes longer.
Unlike metro and trains, in fact, buses mostly run through general roads and often get stuck. There are also devoted bus and taxi lanes across Rome, but not everywhere, so buses are not always faster than cars and immune to traffic jams.
If you decide to use Rome’s public transport, you can purchase single tickets with a 100-minute validity, 1 full day, a week, or even a month. With a single ticket, which costs €1.50, you can do 1 train ride, 1 metro ride, and unlimited bus rides always within its validity.
Rome’s metro is one of the best and fastest ways to get around Rome. Unfortunately, it doesn’t cover a very widespread network. There are two lines, A e B, and in the past few years, they have been opening the third line, C, and gradually opening more stations.
This is great because it considerably expands the metro network, but it’s still extremely limited considering the size of Rome. Let’s just say that Rome’s metro is nowhere near London’s or Shanghai’s metros.
If your route has metro stations, this is definitely how to get around Rome if you are short on time and want to avoid traffic. Unless you have specific appointments, I suggest avoiding rush hours both in the morning and in the afternoon because the trains get extra packed and uncomfortable.
Using the tram is also a good way to get around Rome. It’s similar to taking the bus, so street level, but trams have their own stops and usually their own platforms. Trams are also faster than buses because they have their lanes, and while sometimes cars can cross them, trams have the right of way and anyway never stop to let anyone pass!
Usually, after train and metron, the tram is my go-to mean of transportation in Rome because it gets less stuck in traffic than buses. Some of the trams you will find in the city center include n. 8 from Casaletto to Piazza Venezia across Trastevere and Largo Argentina, and n. 19 connecting the Vatican and Prati areas to the neighborhoods around Villa Borghese, Nomentano, and Esquilino.
The train is another of my favorite means of transportation and one of the best ways to get around Rome. Maybe because I live near a train station and it gets me just about everywhere. The railway line that crosses my neighborhood connects us to metro lines A and B, and several other major train stations such as Tiburtina, Ostiense, Trastevere, and San Pietro.
The urban railway in Rome is great because quite widespread and connects the whole city with the suburbs. I live near an A90 highway exit and yet in 20 minutes by train, I’m in the San Pietro station, with only one train change I arrive at Termini station, and in about 30 minutes I reach Trastevere station.
If you need to get around Rome far from the city center, or at night, or to an area that’s not well served by public transport, you can call a taxi. Taxis in Rome are pretty much everywhere, either in specific stations from where they gather and depart, or running around the city.
If you see a taxi, you can wave to call it but make sure it’s not taken. If the light on top is on, it’s either already on a call or there are passengers inside the car.
You can also call a taxi in Rome at the local number 063570 and book an appointment even from the day before specifying the time and place.
I hardly recommend driving in Rome because of its mental traffic, hard time finding a parking space, and the ZTL that doesn’t allow you to access the city center, making it difficult if you want to book here your hotel.
However, if Rome is a stop in your longer Italy trip and you have rented a car, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First of all, it depends on how many days you are spending in Rome. If you stay only 1 or 2 days, you can keep your car parked and get around Rome by public transport.
On the other hand, if you are staying in Rome for 4 days or even a week, you need to think if it’s the case to drop off the car and rent it again when you are leaving for the next destination in your Italy itinerary.
Best way to get around Rome – FAQ
What is the cheapest mode of transport in Rome?
The cheapest mode of transport in Rome is the train because a single ticket with Trenitalia is 1€ as opposed to the €1.50 of the ATAC tickets. However, if you buy a single ticket from Trenitalia, you are only buying a train ride while using an ATAC single ticket, you pay €0.50 more but you have 1 metro ride, unlimited bus and tram rides, and also 1 train ride.
So if you know you are going to need a bus or the metro once you get off the train, you need to buy an ATAC ticket, otherwise, you will end up paying more! To use the bus and metro, in fact, Trenitalia fares are not valid.
How do most people get around in Rome?
Romans drive a lot. In general, in Italy, you will notice that people love to go anywhere by car. In Rome, however, many also opt for public transport, especially if they need to go to central neighborhoods where there is the ZTL or if it’s rush hour because the traffic can get really stuck.
Often, citizens coming from the towns around Rome or the suburbs drive to the nearest train station, park their cars, and move around the city by public transport. This is a much more doable option than driving everywhere because, on weekdays, traffic gets really mad.
Does Rome have Uber?
Rome has also Uber, but it’s not the cheap lift service you know from the U.S. In fact, Uber in Italy is only allowed to use its luxury services like UberBlack, UberLux, and UberVan. The popular UberPop option where any private driver can register and provide lifts without any government-issued authorization, in Italy is not allowed.