I plan on using the Metro while in Rome ,are the signs in English,if not how do I make sure I'm on the right train?Also do I surrender my ticket even if I have to change trains?
Al, keep in mind that the Metro in Rome is very limited. Doesn't go many places. The bus is a much better option.
Thanks Frank,My hotel is close to the Vatican so I will be taking it to the Colosseum then again at night to the Spanish Steps and walk back to my Hotel from these attractions.
On the Rome Metro, you punch your ticket once to get into the train area and once as you leave, the spot where you transfer trains is connected so you do not have to surrender your ticket. There are ticket machines that have instructions in English, so you can buy them without speaking a word of Italian! A word of warning, we dubbed them the "lose hope" machines because you'll put the money in, make selections and then wait until your ticket is printed and it won't appear until you loose hope that the machine ate your money. It always appeared though. The trains are labeled by line (A &B). To find your train, there will be a big sign right before you have to choose trains, all the stops are listed so find the stop you want and follow the arrow that points to that line. Be sure to note the last stop on your line. When you get to the track, look at the reader board, it will announce when the train is coming and the last stop. The last stops define the direction.
One more tip, if there is no line at the ticket machine, buy multilpe tickets. They are valid for a limited time only once you validate them, so unvalidated tickets can be saved and validated later. This can be really helpful if you're at popular stops such as the Pizza di Spagna or Termini. There were always long lines at these stops.
You can also buy tickets at Tobacco shops and newstands that have a big T sign outside. You won't need exact change and even if you don't speak Italian, they figured out pretty quickly that I needed metro tickets when I squeaked out "Metro Bigletto per favore." Ahh, travel a series of small humiliations and great triumphs!
Thanks Katharine,it is always nice to have some idea how things work,I just hate surprises.
Consider getting a Romapass, €20 back in March. In addition to free admission to two sites and half-price for many others it INCLUDES a three-day bus/metro pass and a decent map. I got mine at the information booth at Termini station in Rome; lots of good info there about opening times, theater performances and so forth with excellent English speaking hosts. I imagine the airport would have such a desk also. Go to the Colloseum and Borghese and it has paid for itself (note that the Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel are NOT included). This is a very good deal.
Al, an addition thought. Rome is actually pretty small. We find that we can easily walk to most places. And then when necessary use a taxi.
During our trip to Rome, we never used the metro because the city is a great walking city. We were able to walk every where with the exception of the Vatican when we took a taxi. If we had used the metro, I don't think our experience would have been as rich. Walking around a city really allows you to have a personal connection to the city and gives you an intimate look at its citizens' daily life. Many of our best memories are of navigating the labyrinth neighborhoods and stumbling across charming trattorias and ristorantes. I understand not everyone is physically able to forego public transportation but I urge everyone to try, on at least a couple occasions, to hop off the metro or bus and take a stroll through Rome’s charming city streets.
As others have said the Metro is very limited and Rome is a Great walking City.
I must admit, I found it VERY seedy and felt much more comfortable just walking around or taking a VERY exciting taxi ride to the Vatican Museum one morning.
As a native New Yorker I am used to subways and crowding. The Rome metro is by far the worst subway experience I have ever had. It was absolutely jammed. The buses were far and away the most consistently crowded I have ever seen anywhere. We got a Roma pass but never had to show it as the bus was always so packed there was no way for anyone to check.
Having said that, Rome is easy to walk, and we did appreciate using the bus when going uphill towards our hotel. Even if we had to stand.
Another thing to think about...the Metro is where the pickpockets pick your pockets! It is very crowded, and thus very distracting....it is much safer to walk, or take a cab when very tired.
Public transport is always great to use, but the Rome metro is just not that safe!
Thanks to all for you input.
Be sure to be at the top of the Spanish Steps to see the sunset over St. Peter's. We didn't plan it but were there at that time and it was one of our highlights of a beautiful view.
I don't know what Rome some of these people were in but we just got back from there on Monday.
1) The ticket machines looked new and all worked fine. They are multi-lingual.
2) The trains were as clean as I have seen anywhere else. The same for the stations.
3) They were not overly crowded - no more than a NYC subway.
4) We never felt unsafe in any manner, shape or form.
5) The people at the entry were helpul. We had Roma passes for a few of the days and my wife's card would not work in the turnstiles so she had to have them use their card to get in. Never a problem.
The Metro shouldn't be as crowded this time of year. Maybe during the holidays.
In addition to the good information above let me add one caveat (latin/Rome, get it?).
We were in Rome about this time of year and one of the two lines closed after the evening rush hour. There was no notice anywhere (not even in l'Italiano). We came back to the station and it was gated shut even though we were well within the posted operating hours. The next night it was the same (and I looked really hard for any notice).
It turned out they were performing maintenance on the line each night we were there. We walked more than we planned and cab rides added to our otherwise thrifty budget.
If you can manage to use public transportation during non-rush hours it can be reasonably uncrowded. For my money, Rome is the one city where I will either walk or take a taxi. The taxi option is not very expensive, especially if you are more than one person. Have your destination address written down and show that to the driver. Even if you know the Italian words, your accent may not make you understandable. If you plan to use the Metro, staying at a hotel near Termini works best because both Metro lines are available at the Metro station there. Get a map of the Metro system; signs in the stations will make it clear which train to take to get where you want to go. It is much simpler than the systems in Paris and London.