Rome Transportation: Getting There and Around
Getting to and around Rome is easy if you know where to start. Following are details on all of Rome’s transportation options, including trains, buses, trams, and taxis.
Getting to Rome by Air
Rome has two airports: Roma Fiumicino (FCO), also known as Leonardo da Vinci International Airport and Ciampino Airport (CIA). Fiumicino is the airport where most international flights arrive while Ciampino is a secondary airport often used for intra-Europe travel, particularly among budget airlines.
Train Travel To and From Rome
If Rome is not your only stop in Italy, you will probably be taking the train to and/or from there. Train travel in Italy is fast, in particular, aboard high-speed trains like the Frecce and Italo Treno. It is also usually more convenient and economical than renting a car or flying.
Roma Termini: Rome’s Main Train Station
Rome’s main train station is Termini, a modern and busy station where you can get connections to the Rome Metro, commuter trains, buses, and taxis. There are car rental agencies located in Termini, though the cars are parked in garages a few blocks from the station. Termini’s concourse and lower level include numerous shops, including a grocery store. The Rome outpost of the Mercato Centrale gourmet food hall is also located in Termini and it is a great place to get a bite to eat if you have time.
Getting to Rome From Fiumicino Airport: Leonardo Express
The best way to get to the Termini from the airport is to take the Leonardo Express. This train service runs between Fiumicino and Termini every 15 minutes.
Alternative Train Stations in Rome
Roma Tiburtina, Rome’s second-largest train station, is similar to Roma Termini. Its location in northeast Rome near Sapienza University and the residential Tiburtino neighborhood make it less ideal for most Rome tourists.
Other, smaller train stations in Rome that you may use are Ostiense, Trastevere, and San Pietro.
Getting Around Rome
Use the Moovit app to browse Rome’s many public transportation routes and to plan your travel around the city. Read on for more information about getting around Rome on public transportation.
Getting Around Rome by Metro and Commuter Train
Rome’s Metropolitana subway, run by ATAC, is a sprawling system that is often a butt of jokes and source of frustration as it does double-duty to serve Rome’s residents and visitors. While the system often encounters problems — from broken down trains, elevators, and escalators to closures due to leaks or archaeological discoveries — it can be useful for getting around to many sights and neighborhoods in the city.
The two main lines of the Rome Metro are Linea A and Linea B, which connect at Termini Station. Linea C has been under construction for years but it is mostly functional with new stops opening every several months.
Getting and Using Tickets for Rome’s Metro
Tickets for the Metropolitana can be purchased at tobacco shops (tabacchi, look for the big “T” sign) and from some newsstands (edicola). You can also purchase tickets at self-service kiosks located inside the metro stations and online. There is also the B+ smartphone option, which lets you purchase single tickets and monthly passes, via several participating apps.
The official name of the single ticket is the BIT (biglietto integrato a tempo) which means its an integrated, timed ticket. Single tickets are valid for 100 minutes from the time of validation in the metro turnstile.
You can use the same type of ticket for travel on Rome’s metro, buses, and trams.
ATAC also offers tourist-friendly daily and multi-day tickets, also available from the locations listed above. You can choose between the Roma 24H, Roma 48H, or Roma 72H. A one-week pass, called the CIS (carta integrata settimanale), is also available.
Useful Stops on Rome’s Metro
Wondering which sights and museums are reachable via Rome’s metro? Use this recent map as a guide.
Getting Around Rome by Bus
Rome’s municipal bus system also has its share of problems, from buses running off schedule or not at all to buses breaking down. Despite this, I still find bus travel in Rome can be pleasant given that you can sometimes use the commute as a way to see the sights. Bus lines that are particularly scenic are the 63, 64, 85, and 492.
As mentioned above in the section about Rome’s Metro, you can use the same ticket on Rome’s buses that you use on the metro. But you must validate your single tickets as soon as you board the bus. You can board Rome’s buses from the front or back door and there is usually a yellow timestamp machine at either end of the bus.
Important! Don’t try to be clever and ride the bus without stamping your ticket. Bus monitors frequently board buses without warning. If they find that you have not validated your ticket, you will have to pay a hefty fine (as much as €50). Not understanding Italian or the ticket validation rules will not save you.
Getting Around Rome by Tram
Another mode of transportation found in Rome is the tram. The ticket rules for the tram are the same as those for the metro and buses.
Rome has a few train lines that skirt around the city connecting outer neighborhoods. Some useful tram lines include the number 3, which passes by the Colosseum and Trastevere; the number 19, which runs from eastern Rome all the way to Ottaviano, the stop for Vatican City.
Getting Around Rome by Taxi
Rome taxis are relatively inexpensive for travel within the city walls. Sometimes they are the fastest option from point A to B, traffic willing.
There are many stories online about bad taxi experiences in Rome and Roman taxi drivers are notoriously (stereotypically) characterized as surly, distracted, or underhanded. But that has not been my experience over the dozens of taxi rides that I have taken in the city.
How to Get a Taxi in Rome
Romans do not hail taxis. There are taxi stops in all major tourist areas and in most neighborhoods. All Roman taxis are equipped with meters and they should be turned on the moment you get in the cab.
Alternatively, you can call a taxi using the FreeNow app (formerly known as MyTaxi). The ride-hailing app works the same way Uber or Lyft does, but uses licensed taxi drivers instead of gig economy drivers. What’s more, the FreeNow app works in many cities across Italy and Europe, so you can use it beyond Rome.
Does Uber Operate in Rome?
Uber has had a difficult time making inroads in Italy thanks to the strong opposition of Italian cities’ taxi unions. Uber operates in Rome, but you can only order its premium, Uber Black service. Note that Lyft does not yet operate anywhere in Italy.
This post first published on 26 August 2019
Updated on 3 March 2022