Rome City Guide

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26 Aug Rome City Guide

There’s a lot vying for attention in the Eternal City – the Colosseum, the Sistine Chapel, the Pantheon, and of course, the pizza! An enchantingly beautiful and inspiring city, Rome has a history of over 3000 years. A trip to Rome is largely about easing into the rhythm of Romanian lifestyle, gorging on art and culture as well as feasting al fresco style on balcony patios. After all, when in Rome do as the Romans do!

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Getting Around

Trains 

Rome’s subway consists of only two lines – Metropolitana Linea A, and Metropolitana Linea B. Unless you’re staying near a Metro stop, or you’re visiting primarily places on Metro lines when you’re in the city center, chances are good you may not find the Metro all that useful.

Yes, some of Rome’s big tourist sights are on a Metro line (the Colosseum has a Metro stop, for instance, and there’s one not far from the Vatican), and the big Termini train station has its own Metro stop – but lots of other major Rome sights aren’t anywhere near a Metro stop.

Rome’s Metro lines only intersect at one point – Termini Station. Each Metro stop is marked by a square, red sign with a white M on it.

Single-use Metro tickets cost €1 each, good for 75 minutes from when you validate the ticket, and you can buy them at Metro stops, tobacco shops, and news stands. There are also a few tickets you can get for unlimited use during specific periods of time:

  • BIG – Integrated Daily Ticket – Good for 24 hours from validation, €4
  • BTI – Integrated Tourist Ticket – Good for 3 days from validation, €11
  • CIS – Integrated Weekly Ticket – Good for 7 days from validation, €16

All of the tickets that work on the Rome Metro also work on other forms of public transportation in Rome – the buses and the trams – so that makes it easy to switch back and forth depending on what’s close by and what’s most convenient.

Bus

Not all maps of Rome include the bus routes, so your first order of business when you arrive in Rome if you plan to take the buses anywhere is to get a city map that does have bus routes listed. Most news stands sell them (they also sell transportation tickets, too).

Bus stops on maps tend to be marked by tiny numbers where those lines stop, so you have to trace a route by connecting the “dots” of each number.

Bus stops are marked by signposts topped with large placards bearing the numbers of the buses that stop there. Next to the list of the bus stop names you’ll see an arrow pointing down, which tells you which direction the bus is going.

Tickets for the Rome buses cost €1 each and are good for 75 minutes of use once you validate the ticket. The BIG, BTI and CIS tickets mentioned above can also be used for buses.

Trams

There are only seven tram lines in Rome, and there’s some overlap between the tram routes and the bus and Metro routes. The trams most visitors end up taking regularly are the ones out to the Trastevere neighborhood from the other side of the river. Other tram stops that could be useful are at the Colosseum, the Vatican, and near the Pantheon – otherwise, the trams tend to steer fairly clear of the historic city center.

Since they’re run by the same company as the buses and Metro, however, they’re part of the same transportation network – and in fact, tram lines are listed on Rome bus maps along with the bus lines.

Taxis

Taxis are especially plentiful at major tourist areas – the Colosseum, the Vatican, Termini Station, etc.

Despite what you might think, taking a taxi in Rome isn’t always the fastest way to get between two points. It might seem more direct than a roundabout bus line or a Metro trip going on the wrong direction, but Rome’s traffic can get pretty terrible.

There are fixed rates for a taxi fare from the airport to the city center (and vice versa) – Fiumicino-Rome is €40 and Ciampino-Rome is €30

Otherwise, to just get around in Rome, taxis can be a good option if you’re traveling at night after the buses and Metro have stopped running or you’re unsure enough of your surroundings or your destination that you want someone to drop you at the door, but be sure you’re paying attention to the meter. Rome taxi drivers have a reputation for trying to rip off tourists (like any big city’s taxi drivers do), so be prepared before you get in a cab

Also note that taxis in Rome aren’t usually “hailed” the way you might be familiar with in cities like New York. Rome taxis line up at specific taxi stands, so if you need a taxi you walk to one of those stands and get into the next available cab. There are taxi stands/queues at places like Termini Station, the Vatican, Piazza della Repubblica, the Colosseum, and other major intersections or piazzas in Rome.

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Transport Passes:

Rome Archaelogical Card:

The pass is valid for seven days and allows you to bypass queues.

The Rome Archeological Card includes your entry fee for the Colosseum and tickitaly.com’s downloadable English audioguide (with accompanying map) of the Colosseum. The audioguide comes in either mp3 or m4a formats and can be downloaded when you print your entrance vouchers.

The Rome Archaeological Card gives you entrance (without queueing) to 10 notable archaeological attractions in Rome including the Colosseum. The card offers a combined saving over the individual entrance fees, and is good for one visit per venue:

  1. The Colosseum
  2. The Forum (including Imperial Ramp)
  3. The Crypta Balbi
  4. The Diocletian Baths
  5. The Palazzo Altemps
  6. The Palazzo Massimo
  7. The Terme (baths) di Caracalla
  8. The Tomb of Cecilia Metella
  9. The Villa dei Quintili
  10. The Palatine Hill

 

How to Get The Card:

 You may either buy it at the sites themselves, or online.

Online Method (May be more expensive):

Fill out this booking form here (http://www.tickitaly.com/galleries/archaeological-rome-pass.php) and supply your credit card details. They will show you the tickets available for the dates you plan to travel to Rome on.

There will be no charge whatsoever until your reservation is confirmed. The website will then point you to a secure page, where you can print out your entry voucher. Print it out, take it with you to Italy and present it at the ticket desk … they will swap it for your entry ticket.

Your voucher will contain detailed instructions on how and where to pick up your tickets. Due to the recent decision to impose a ceiling on the number of visitors allowed to enter the Colosseum at a given time, it is possible, even with a ‘no queues’ ticket, that you will face delays.

You may exchange your voucher at any time of day but remember that the ticket office will close one hour before the Colosseum itself closes. Your ticket, once collected, is only valid for the Colosseum at the time confirmed by the staff on the spot.

Pricing:

It costs about €25 (€15 discounted) at the actual sites themselves. The discount is granted to young (18-25) UE citizens and to teachers. You can also buy it online but in this case the card must be collected at the Colosseum. Check the online prices for this card: some websites charge 46 $ or more without offering extra services!

The card is free for UE citizens under 18 and over 65 years; at the cashier station they’ll receive a free ticket. All the discount prices are accepted if accompanied by I.D.; otherwise you must pay the full price.

 

Roma Pass

2 RomaPass cards: the €38.50 one valid for 72 hours and the €28 one valid for 48 hours. With them you have access to the Roma Pass circuit, i.e. 2 museums for the € 38,50 one, 1 museum for the cheaper one and/or archaeological sites of the city, and (very convenient!!) also for travelling on the whole ATAC transport network.

Buy it online from http://romapass.it

Or at the point of sales at participating museums and sites, tourist information points. More information here: http://www.romapass.it/p.aspx?l=en&tid=8

 

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What to see

Colosseum

The Colosseum or Coliseum is today the most recognisable of Rome’s Classical buildings. It was built primarily to entertain the masses in brutal and barbaric games. Some were beast on beast combat to the death. Others were people fighting animals to the death, while the most popular was the human on human combat. Gladiators were slaves, often captured in war, that were trained in special schools to fight each other to the death.

Large parts of the Colosseum are accessible to wheelchair users and there is a lift to some of the upper levels – please mention that you’ll be wanting to use the lift/elevator at the moment you pick up your tickets – you will likely be given a sort of pass for the lift.

You can use your Rome Archaelogical Card for admission.

People usually visit the Colosseum along with the Forum and the Colosseum.

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Price: The standard admission ticket covers all three monuments, The Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Depending on the particular date, the ticket price changes slightly. It is usually around €18. It includes entry to the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and Roman Forum.

Address: Piazza del Colosseo, 1, 00184 Roma, Italy

Opening Hours: 8.30am – 3.30pm Daily (Except New Year and Christmas)

Directions:

  • “B” line Metro station Colosseo
  • “A” line Metro station Manzoni, then two stops of tram no. 3 going southwards
  • Bus lines 60, 75, 85, 87, 271, 571, 175, 186, 810, 850, C3, and the electric minibus 117, my favourite
  • Tramway line no 3

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Sistine Chapel Vatican Museum Rome Italy

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Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museums are the museums of the Vatican City and are located within the city’s boundaries. They display works from the immense collection built up by the Popes throughout the centuries including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world.

Price: Free on last Sunday of each month from 9am – 1.45pm (Must enter 1h 45min before closing time)

Full price: €16

Reduced (children between 6-18): €8

Audioguide: €7

*Every ticket reserved online has a reservation fee of €4

Address: Viale Vaticano, 00165 Roma, Italy

Opening Hours:

Nov to Feb: Weekdays 10am – 1.45pm

Mar to Oct: Weekdays 9am – 7pm, Sat 10am – 2.45pm

Ticket Office: Mon – Sat 9 am – 4pm

Closed on several days of the year (religious holidays)

More information here: http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/z-Info/MV_Info_Orari.html

Directions: Metro A to Cipro or Ottarini

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St Peters Basilica

People usualy visit St Peters Basilica at the same time as the Vatican Museums, as they are within walking distance of each other. Assuming the Pope is in residence, on Sundays at noon, the pope usually appears at the window to pray and bless the crowd in St Peter’s Square. No ticket is required. 

Note: Proper dress code is required (No shorts, no bare shoulders or miniskirts)

Price: Free of charge

Admission charge for certain parts (Eg. St Peters Treasury)

Address: Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano, Vatican City

Opening hours:

April to Sept: 7am – 7pm

Oct to March: 7am – 6pm

Directions: Metro A to Ottarivino or Cipro

Bus 40 / Bus 64 / Bus 116 from Barberini station

 

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Roman Forum & Palatine Hill 

The Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill are located in the same archaeological area and count as one admission. The Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill are adjacent to each other and you can walk freely between the two.

The Roman Forum was ancient Rome’s showpiece centre, a grandiose district of temples, basilicas and vibrant public spaces. The site, which was originally an Etruscan burial ground, was first developed in the 7th century BC, growing over time to become the social, political and commercial hub of the Roman empire.

People usually visit the Roman Forum along with the Palatine Hill and the Colosseum.

Price: Included in Colosseum ticket.

Address: Via della Salara Vecchia, 5/6, Roma, Italy

Opening hours:

April to Aug: 8.30am – 7.30pm

September: 8.30am – 7pm

Oct: 8.30am – 6.30pm

Nov – Feb: 8.30am – 4.30pm

March – April: 8.30am – 5pm

Directions:

  • “B” line Metro station Colosseo
  • “A” line Metro station Manzoni, then two stops of tram no. 3 going southwards
  • Bus lines 60, 75, 85, 87, 271, 571, 175, 186, 810, 850, C3, and the electric minibus 117, my favourite
  • Tramway line no 3

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Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is a fantastic work of art that is much more than a mere sculpture. This triumphant example of Baroque art with its soft, natural lines and fantasy creatures embodies movement as the soul of the world. The fountain is a true wonder, a jewel of water and stone that is nestled between the palaces of the historic centre of the city.

Address: Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Roma, Italy

Open 24 hours

Directions: 5 min walk from Barberini

Bus 85 from Termini towards Arco Di Travertino

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Volpetti Deli

If you thought you knew a thing or two about Italian delis think again. The pint-sized Volpetti Deli in the Testaccio neighborhood is filled beyond capacity with olive oils, cheeses, dried fruits, cured meats and breads – the very benchmarks of a primo Italian grocery.

Address: Via Marmorata, 47, 00153 Roma, Italy

Opening hours:

Mon – Fri: 8am – 2pm, 5pm – 8.15pm

Sat: 8am – 8pm

Directions: 5 min walk from Piramide (Metro A)

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What to eat

Classic Italian style Pizza @ Bonci Pizzarium

$

Address: Via della Meloria, 43, 00136 Roma, Italy

Opening hours:

Mon – Sat: 11am – 10pm

Sun: 12pm – 4pm, 6pm – 10pm

 

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Fritti (Trastevere) @ Da Enzo

$

Address: Via dei Vascellari, 29, Roma RM, Italy

Opening hours:

Mon – Sat: 12.30pm – 3pm, 7.30pm – 11pm

Closed on Sundays

 

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Pastas @ Flavio al Velavevodetto

$-$$

Address: Via di Monte Testaccio, 97, 00153 Roma, Italy

Opening hours: 12.30pm – 3pm, 7.30pm – 11.30pm everyday

 

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Quinto Quarto @ Checchino dal 1887

$-$$

Address: Via di Monte Testaccio, 30, 00153 Roma, Italy

Opening hours:

Tues to Sat: 12.30pm – 3pm, 8pm – 12am

Sunday: 12.30 – 3pm

 

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Porchetta @ Er buchetto Roman tavern

$

Address: Via del Viminale 2 F
00 184 Rome, 
Italy

Opening hours:

Weekdays 9am – 3 pm, 5pm – 9pm

Sat: 9am – 123.0pm

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Crostata with ricotta @ Pasticceria Boccione  

$$

Address: Via del Portico D’Ottavia, 1, 00186 Roma, Italy

Opening hours: 7am – 7pm daily except Saturday

 

Where to stay

Hotels Near Vatican

The main reason, for some the only reason, to visit Rome is to visit the Vatican. There are hotels around the Vatican, mostly to the east of it where Prati a middle-class suburb built on a grid pattern is located. The picture right is typical of what you will see for block after block.

 

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Starhotels Michelanglo Rome

$$$

Via della Stazione di S. Pietro, 14, 00165 Roma, Italy

 

Hotels in the Ancient City

The ancient city centre itself has perhaps, given the narrow lanes and ancient buildings a surprising choice of accommodation, especially around the Trevi Fountain / Spanish Steps district. As well as being fascinating from a historical perspective, this is a very high class shopping district and very popular restaurant area as well.

 

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Hotel Locarno

$$

Via della Penna, 22, 00186 Roma, Italy

 

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Hotel Indigo Rome St George

$$$

Via Giulia, 62, 00186 Roma, Italy

 

Villa Borghese & Via Veneto

Perhaps the most exclusive area to stay is around Villa Borghese and Via Veneto just to the east of the ancient centre. Here you have the best of both worlds. Perched up here on the hill you are just 10 minutes walk from the ancient centre, Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain and the recreational bolt hole that is the Villa Borghese, where you can easily find your own secluded corner and some peace and quiet.

 

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Ludovisi Palace Hotel

$$

Via Ludovisi, 43, 00187 Roma, Italy

 

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Ambasciatori Palace Hotel

$$$

Via Vittorio Veneto, 62, 00187 Roma, Italy

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