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What is the best way to get around Rome?

Subway, bus, taxi, foot? What is the easiest, most economical, and least likely to get ripped off? My husband and I want to see all the ancient ruins, vatican city, and Ostia Antica (ancient sea port). We will be there three days, two nights, in mid-Sept. Thanks!

Posted by
705 posts

Foot. It's not really too far to walk around all the main sights. Those I felt were a little to far away I used the bus. Very economical way to get around and you get to see more of Rome as you travel.

Posted by
805 posts

I love walking around Rome. For me the best thing about Rome is that so many sights, the Trevi fountain, the Pantheon, the Piazza Navona, are approached from seemingly innocuous alleys. Once you get there, it's a jaw-dropping experience. Although we also did stay near the Campo D'Fiore and so the metro was not convenient for us.

Posted by
800 posts

Jenny - allowing yourself plenty of time to walk from site to site gives you a great feel for the wonderful city of Rome. It also puts you at less risk for getting pickpocketed at least on the infamous Bus 64 or the subway. We got up very early to walk from the Tivoli Fountain area to the Vatican. It was beautiful and quiet and well worth the time to get there. We did not go to Ostia Antica which I assume is not walking distance - but I hear it is great. Just keep your hands on your stuff when you are using the public transportation and there are lots of people crowding around you. If it makes you feel better I had my wallet stolen twice and my car broken into 3 times when I lived in LA but feel much safer in Europe (even Rome). Use your big city senses and enjoy Rome.

Posted by
34 posts

We just got back last week, did not really feel it was 'nice' walking around Rome, other than in the main site areas. Wished I did an organized tour and just avoided the wandering which honestly did not give me the desire to go back. Venice & Florence - wandering was fine & beautiful & enjoyable. You decide, being from LA - you are not sheltered and know the whole package of a 'city'. If you have plenty of time and like to set your own pace, do your own thing, if not I think a guide or tour provides lots of interesting info and makes getting around easy and thoughtless. Whatever you end up doing, I hope you have a great time!

Posted by
5294 posts

Taxi was the only mode we didn't use. Walking is probably the best, most used mode. The subway is good for long quick moves, say Termini area to the Vatican. Buses are good if you learn a few basic routes, say from the Coloseum to areas not served by subway.

Posted by
206 posts

We were in Rome at the end of July, and we used all methods of transportation you mentioned without problems. Rome does not have an extensive subway system, but what is there was fine. We had Roma passes which include 3 days of public transport; very convenient for busses and subway. I found busses more difficult just becuase there are so many choices, and not a comprehensive map like one has for the subway. A recommendation-try to take the bus/subway from your hotel the first time, so you will know how to get back. At the end of a couple of long hot days we took transportation back to the hotel, after we had walked from the hotel in the morning. It can be hard to get oriented after you get off the bus/come up from the subway in an unfamiliar place. We also took two short taxi rides our first couple of days when we were jetlagged and very hot (with two teens) and they were not very expensive; money well spent! Let me know if you want specifics like bus numbers, etc. Have fun!

Posted by
1589 posts

Dear Jenny,

Your questions in various threads are fixated on being robbed. Try to relax so that you may ENJOY your trip. It all will be fine, so try to look for the good in people and new places.

True, the Rome subway will be crowded and might have a few pickpockets on some tains, but try to look at this as part of the adventure. Have a great trip and please report back to us with your positive results.

Posted by
689 posts

Get a good detailed map of old Rome for walking. And make sure it is oriented the right way!

We have been to Rome often so on this trip we only planned to spend an afternoon in the city. We took our old and tested map with us, also had one from the hotel. The hotel's was cute with pictures of the monuments. We got off the shuttle and checked the map to see exactly where we were. Well. It didn't take long to realize the map is a MIRROR IMAGE of reality!

If you are not up for walking, cabs are inexpensive as long as you are staying downtown. Subway and busses are ok, we used to use them in our younger years, but not our choice now.

Just be aware of where you are and who is around you. Relax and enjoy being there!!!

Posted by
127 posts

i agree: stop worring so much about pickpockets.
the buses were FUN! i had that problem in a past post of constantly getting lost, walking, walking, walking, so on day 2, using my pass, i just got on a buss, ANY buss, and w/ map looked around while riding. got off, hopped on another buss: i spent a few hours just getting off and on busses; a great way to get a perspective . along the way u might luck out and have a seat next to a "local" that speaks english, learn a tip or pick up a cool area to visit or place to eat.
one night: i was tired, lost [AGAIN], and said "the heck with it", and grabbed a cab...THAT was a thrill, and for 8 euros, got a better exciting ride then any amusement park here.

Posted by
3 posts

Isn't there a bus that you can get on that will take you on a tour of the city? What number is it and where can you catch it? We will be arriving early and will have most of the day to explore before meeting up with our tour and thought that might be a fun way to get the lay of the land. Any info from someone who has done this?


Posted by
21195 posts

Barbara, there is a hop on/off tour bus that loups the city. The main starting point is the train station. Walking is the easiest way to see the city. Remember that is what they were doing two thousand years ago. Ostia Anitica is great and well worth the visit but requires the ues of the metro and a train change but easy to do. It well described in Steves' Rome book. On the same trip you should visit, St Peters Outside the Wall. Until the Vatican was built it was the vatican and, I believe, it was the largest church in the world ---- and --- absolutely no tourists. Remember to keep the complete address of your hotel in your pocket so if you get really lost you can give it to a cab driver and say, "Take me home."

Posted by
423 posts

Jenny, if your hotel is in a strategic location, you can walk to most of the sites (except for the Vatican). I stayed off of Via Nationale and walked everywhere. The buses that went by were far too crowded (this was in early May) so I relied on the map my hotel gave me and their excellent directions to walk to the sites (the map I bought while home wasn't nearly as good).

Posted by
80 posts

Thanks for all the advice everyone, now I can relax!

Posted by
1449 posts

Barbara & Jenny, I recommend taking the bus tour that starts from the main train station. I like doing this when I go to new cities on the first day. Spend 2-3 hours and get oriented so that you recognize things and get the lay of the city in your mind.

I also recommend taking walking tours. I agree with what another poster said; if you walk around on your own there are just so many things in a city like Rome that you'd have to carry lbs of books to convey what a guide can tell you in 2-3 hours. I've done 2 with guides recommended in Rick's book (either his Rome or his Italy book have this) and both were great. One was a day tour thru the Coliseum and surroundings, the other was a twilight tour starting from the Spanish Steps. The twilight tour is great!

Posted by
216 posts

Rome's a nice city to walk around, but it does get tiring. When I can take a bus (especially #40 and #64)or the metro, I do. I've never had any problems. I've been four times and have taken groups of students twice and this is how we get around the city. Being vigilant about who is around you and doing what doesn't work 100% of the time, but so far, so good. Sure, the metro and buses are packed soemtimes, but isn't that part of the experience that you won't soon forget?

Posted by
3112 posts

For days you plan to use public transportation a lot, buy the all day ticket. I find it really convenient. It's available at both ticket machines and windows for about EUR 4. Good on all zone 1 buses and subways until midnight, and includes the train from Pyramide to Ostia Antica. I think the ticket machines have an English menu. If buying at a ticket window, ask for the ticket BIG (abbreviation for the Italian words meaning all day ticket).

Posted by
97 posts

For Ostia Antica, you pretty much have to take the commuter rail. Otherwise, Rome is surprisingly small -- go ahead and walk it, and if you get really tired, hail a cab. Bonus: if you're walking all over, you can eat gelato every day and still lose weight!

Posted by
919 posts

My sis and her family were in Rome the week when the Pope died. They had bought a Rome city map prior to the trip, which had bus and subway routes marked on it and had no problems whatsoever getting around town with buses and subways. This despite massive crowds there for the Pope's funeral, new Pope election, etc.