A Practical Guide to Rome Metro – How to Use the Subway in Rome

To anyone visiting Rome, whether it’s their first time or they have already been, I always advise making good use of local public transport. Along with the urban railway, the Rome metro is the fastest and more hassle-free way to get around in the city both in the historic center and in more suburban areas.

Fast, traffic-free, and quite on time, opting for Rome metro will get you to the destination before a bus and sometimes even a taxi would.

Whether you want to reach the different attractions quicker or your hotel is far from the city center, I’m pretty sure you will end up using Rome metro during your trip. This guide wants to help you do that without getting lost and hassle-free.

A simple guide to Rome metro

What is the Rome metro called?

In Italian, metro or subway is called “metropolitana” or “metro”, and in Rome, the agency that runs it is ATAC, the same company that runs most of the urban and local public transport including buses and trams.

Make sure you read our thorough guide to the Rome public transport.

Rome metro map

Considering all the three lines and the urban railway system, the Rome metro is quite widespread and reaches most places in the city. This is a handy map inclusive of both metro and railway lines.

Image: Rome metro map and railway lines
Image courtesy of Atac Roma

Rome metro lines

Rome has three metro lines: line A (red), line B (blue), and line C (green). While the one that crosses more central landmarks is line A, also the other two lines count popular stations such as the Colosseum (line B) and San Giovanni in Laterano (line C).

Rome’s metro line A runs from Battistini (north of Rome) to Anagnina (south of Rome) and counts several tourist-packed stations such as Spagna (for the Spanish Steps, Villa Borghese, Via del Corso, Piazza Navona, and Pantheon), Flaminio (for Piazza del Popolo, Villa Borghese, Tridente shopping streets, Centro Storico), Barberini (to reach Via Veneto, Palazzo Barberini, Quirinale Palace), Cavour for the Monti neighborhood, Cipro for the Vatican Museums, and Ottaviano for St. Peter’s Square and Basilica as well as Borgo neighborhood.

Line A has several stations across the large Via Tuscolana, such as Colli Albani and Furio Camillo, and it also stops in the Quadraro neighborhood, a must if you are a street art fan. The last stop, Anagnina, is a busy bus and coach hub: from here you can also take the bus to Ciampino Airport.

Metro line B stops in other pivotal stations near the Colosseum (Colosseo) and the Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo). Other interesting stations of metro line B include Piramide for the Testaccio and Ostiense neighborhoods, Basilica San Paolo to reach Saint Paul Outside the Walls Basilica, or Sant’Agnese-Annibaliano to reach the fantastic Sant’Agnese Fuori le Mura complex in the Nomentano area, one of my favorite little-known sites in Rome.

Rome metro lines A and B intersect in Termini, which is both a train and a metro station as well as a crowded bus hub.

Rome metro line C is one of a kind. First of all, it differs from the first two in the fact that its trains don’t have a driver but run with the Driverless technology instead. Out of the 31 stations planned for line C, so far 24 have been opened, with the last one being San Giovanni close to the beautiful San Giovanni in Laterano church. When line C will be fully operative, among its stops we will have also Colosseo (overlapping with line B), Piazza Venezia, Chiesa Nuova, and San Pietro that currently don’t have metro stations, and Ottaviano (overlapping with line A).

What metro stop is the Vatican?

The closest metro stations to reach important Vatican landmarks are Cipro and Ottaviano in the red line A. Get off in Cipro if you are going to the Vatican Museums. From the station, take Via Cipro and turn right onto Piazza Santa Maria delle Grazie and Via Frà Albenzio. Take Via Angelo Emo and Via Vittor Pisani where you will see the large stairs to Viale Vaticano.

While if you are visiting St. Peter’s Basilica and Square, the closest metro stop is Ottaviano. From here, you just need to walk down Via Ottaviano to Piazza Risorgimento, cross the traffic light to Via di Porta Angelica and you will immediately see Bernini’s colonnade.

Make sure you read our in-depth guide to visiting the Vatican.

What metro stop is Trevi Fountain?

Even the Trevi Fountain doesn’t have a devoted station, the closest metro stop is Barberini on line A from where it’s about 600 meters (less than 2000 feet). Fontana di Trevi is not far from other metro stations such as Spagna (900 meters, about 3000 feet) and other central stops such as Repubblica (1.3 km, about 4200 feet) or Cavour of line B (1.4 km, about 4500 feet).

Image: Mycicero app to buy Rome metro tickets

How to buy Rome metro tickets and where

There are many ways and places where you can buy Rome metro tickets:

  • with myCicero app: this app is very handy because you can use it in many cities in Italy and also for trains and parking lots. With myCicero app you can buy single tickets (valid for 100 minutes and 1 metro ride) as well as 24/48/72h tickets valid for unlimited metro trips;
  • purchasing a Roma Pass: you can buy one for 48 or 72 hours and gives you unlimited access to Rome public transport as well as discounted admission to several museums. Buy here your pass!
  • Atac ticket offices in metro stations and main train stations: the main metro stations have also a ticket office, but you can find vending machines in all of them. From the machine, you can buy single tickets (valid for 100 minutes and 1 metro ride) as well as 24/48/72h tickets valid for unlimited metro trips, and also a CIS weekly card.
  • from newsagents, “Sali e Tabacchi” shops, and some bars: you will find these everywhere in the city. Newsagents are mainly kiosks selling magazines and newspapers, while “Sali e Tabacchi” are the historical little shops selling cigarettes, tobacco, lighters, envelopes, stamps, candies, and also public transport tickets.
  • Tap&Go: if your ATM or credit card is contactless, you can easily buy your ticket at the ticket barriers at the metro stations before reaching the trains. This also works with NFC devices including smartphones and smartwatches.

How much is a metro ticket in Rome?

There are many tickets you can buy to use Rome metro. If you are in Rome for a day only, chances are you are going to stick to the city center and mainly walk, so no real need for a metro ticket.

If you still need a Rome metro ticket to reach your hotel, you can buy a single ticket of €1.50 that gives you the validity of 100 minutes from the first validation and can extend to the end of your trip as long as you boarded (and validated your ticket again) the last bus or train before the expiration time.

Image: Card for Rome metro. Photo by Rome Actually

If you are staying longer in Rome, staying far from the city center, and visiting beyond the more popular attractions, you can consider purchasing Rome metro tickets with longer validity and unlimited access to all public transport:

  • 24h Rome metro ticket costs 7€
  • 48h Rome metro ticket costs 12.50€
  • 72h Rome metro ticket costs 18€.

Are you lucky enough to spend a week in Rome? Chances are you are going to use public transport often so I totally recommend buying a weekly ticket. The cost for a 7-day Rome metro ticket is 24€ and it obviously gives you access to all buses, trams, metro, and trains within the borders of Rome municipality.

Is the Rome metro 24-hour?

The Rome metro doesn’t run 24 hours, each line follows its own schedule.

  • Line A Anagnina-Battistini runs from 5.30 am to 11.30 pm from each end. On Friday and Saturday, the last ride from each end station departs at 1.30 am.
  • Line B Laurentina-Rebibbia runs from 5.30 am to 11.30 pm from each end. On Friday and Saturday, the last ride from each end station departs at 1.30 am.
  • Line B1 Laurentina-Jonio (a shorter detour of the main line B) starts at 5.30 am from both ends while the last ride departs at 11.27 pm from Laurentina and 11.24 pm from Jonio.
  • Line C Pantano-San Giovanni runs from 5.30 am to 11.30 pm from each end. On Friday and Saturday, the last ride from each end station departs at 1.30 am.

Rome has also a few urban railway lines and these are the schedules:

  • The line Roma-Ostia Lido connects the city to Ostia Antica and Ostia beach and it runs from 5.30 am (the first train from Ostia departs at 5.15 am) to 11.30 pm from each end station.
  • The line Termini-Centocelle connects Rome’s main station, Stazione Termini, to the southern Centocelle district and runs from 5.30 am (the first train from Centocelle departs at 5.07 am) to 10.53 pm (the last train from Centocelle departs at 22.30 pm).
  • The line Flaminio-Civita Castellana-Viterbo connects the center of Rome to the towns of Civita Castellana and Viterbo. Before leaving Rome, this line has a few stops inside the city and its trains start at 5.25 am from Flaminio or 5.55 am from Montebello to 10.40 pm from Flaminio or 11.10 from Montebello.

There are also other railway lines from the main stations in Rome with urban traits that also connect to other cities and towns in the region such as F1 (Orte-Fiumicino), F3 to Bracciano and Viterbo, and F5 to Civitavecchia. They are run by Trenitalia but if you are staying within the city of Rome, your ATAC ticket will be valid. For these schedules, check out the official website of Trenitalia.

How to use the Rome metro

Rome metro is pretty easy to use. From outside, you need to spot the big M sign, and to get in there is always a staircase, if you are lucky, an escalator, but that’s not always the case in the Rome metro. This is why sometimes it’s difficult to take the metro if you are traveling to Rome with a baby and a stroller. Usually, there is the lift, so inquire with the staff.

When you enter the metro station, you will find the sign to the trains with also noted the direction. Before accessing the platform, you will need to validate your ticket or card, whether it’s paper or magnetic. If you purchased through an app, you need to scan the barcode on the ticket barrier.

Usually, you can choose your direction once you are already inside the barriers where you will find the list of the stations. Sometimes, this is not the case and you need to know which direction you are taking before entering. I think it’s like this Cavour station in the line A (red).

When I get to the platform, I always try to go to the first or last wagons because they are usually less crowded than the central ones.

Once you reach your destination and get off the train, from the platform you go towards the exit and before actually getting out of the station you can see the signs telling you which street each exit leads to. Sometimes you will find escalators, like in Spagna station, sometimes stair like in Lepanto or Ottaviano.

Is Rome metro safe?

Generally speaking, Rome metro is safe. I took the metro in Rome in many different neighborhoods, both central and towards the suburbs, and never had a problem. There is plenty of police and Atac staff, especially in bigger stations like Termini, so whichever problem you might have, you can ask them.

When you take Rome’s metro, however, I suggest you watch out for your belongings because there are pickpockets. As a general rule, don’t leave your valuable very visible, but especially if the metro is crowded, be extra careful. This is a well-known issue and it’s not uncommon to hear metro drivers to warn the passengers when they see regular pickpockets entering the trains.

Other than that, probably I would pay attention around metro and train stations at night, like in most big cities though, nothing more than usual. I took the metro many times at night and I have never witnessed crimes, robberies or unpleasant scenes. I actually witnessed the end of a robbery (when the victim realized he got his videocamera stolen when the thief was already gone) in the metro in full day time, while I got robbed only on a bus.

Does the Rome metro go to the airport?

No, the Rome metro doesn’t go to the airport directly, you need to change and take a train or coach.

To get to Fiumicino Airport you can get off in Termini and take the Leonardo Express train, or the F1 railway from Trastevere, Ostiense, Tuscolana, or Tiburtina.

To get to Ciampino Airport, you can either take a coach from Termini station or take the metro to Anagnina (the last stop of metro line A) and from there a coach.

Tips for when you use Rome metro

Rome’s metro is pretty easy and straightforward to use. Apart from line B that includes a small separate branch, the other lines are just straight and leave no room for confusion.

  • Avoid peak hours. Whether you are traveling with or without luggage, I suggest you avoid peak hours when taking Rome metro. Peak hour in the morning goes from around 8 to 10 am, while in the evening it goes from 5 to 7 pm.
  • Watch out for your belongings. Always take care of your belongings because pickpockets are very active in the metro in Rome.
  • Expect strikes. Atac sometimes goes on strike, and when it does, while the buses ensures a minimum number of rides, metro stations are closed so not operative for the whole duration of the strike. You can find updated information on the strike hours in the Atac website.
  • Check out the detours. In case of works and renovation, it happens that Rome lines are covered by buses when the trains are not working and stations are closed for maintenance. You will find real-time updates in the Atac website.
  • Google Maps is your friend. I found Google Maps quite up-to-date when going around Rome, so if you are getting lost and want to reach the closest metro station quickly, don’t be afraid to sue Google Maps.

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