Rome: Essentials

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TO / FROM THE AIRPORT

Aeroporto Leonardo da Vinci di Fiumicino (FCO)
011-39/06-65-951, adr.it
Express rail: The Leonardo Express is a nonstop train that runs between the airport and Termini station, the city's main train station. Departs from the airport to Termini every 30 minutes 6:35 a.m.--11:35 p.m.; to the airport every 30 minutes 6 a.m.-- 11 p.m. Trip time is 30 min., $12 each way. Local rail: FR1 metropolitan trains leave the airport every 15--30 minutes, with service to Roma-Trastevere (24 min.), Roma-Ostiense (29 min.), Roma-Tuscolana (34 min.), and Roma-Tiburtina (44 min.). This train does not stop at Termini station. Trains run from the airport 6 a.m.--11:30 p.m.; to the airport from Tiburtina 5 a.m.--10:30 p.m. $6.25 each way.

Look for ferrovia (rail station) signs for Local and Express trains in the airport terminal, then follow a series of escalators and covered passageways to the three-track platform of the airport train station. Buy tickets from window agents or automatic vending machines (cash or credit), or at the newsstand (cash only) on the platform. Validate your ticket at the orange time-stamping machines before boarding the train. Luggage carts are not allowed on trains.

Aeroporto G.B. Pastine di Ciampino (CIA)
011-39/06-794-941, adr.it
Public transportation: From the airport, take a blue COTRAL bus (011-39/06-57-031, cotralspa.it) to Roma-Anagnina, then metro line A to the city center. Most are modern coaches, but some are like school buses, with vinyl seats and no A/C. Purchase bus tickets from the ticket machine or pay extra on board. Buy metro tickets from the tabaccherie (tobacco stores) or newsstands. Total trip time to the city is about an hour, $2.50 each way. Private coach: Modern, air-conditioned, and upholstered Schiaffini buses (011-39/06-474-4534, schiaffini.com) run between Ciampino and Termini station seven times a day. Buy tickets from the Schiaffini desk or onboard. Trip time is 44 min., $6.25 each way. Cash only.

Traveling Around Italy: Discount train cards & passes

 

  • TrenItalia Pass Unlimited travel on consecutive or non- consecutive days over a two-month period for foreigners. Purchase tickets online, at select U.S. travel agencies, or at train-ticket windows in major Italian cities. From $176 for three-day minimum. More info: trenitalia.com.
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  • TrenItalia Pass Youth 17 percent discount on the prices of adult TrenItalia passes for travelers between 12 and 25 years of age. Can only be used for second-class travel.
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  • Note: Travelers under 12 ride for half the adult ticket price; kids under four ride free. Passes do not include an additional fee for tickets that require reserved seating.
  • GETTING AROUND

    City Buses, Trams, and Metro ATAC
    Agenzia per la Mobilità: 800-431-784 (within Italy), atac.roma.it
    Regular buses and trams run 5:30 a.m--midnight; metro lines 5:30 a.m.--11:30 p.m. (until 12:30 a.m. on Saturdays). Night buses, marked by an "N" after the bus number, operate between midnight and 5:30 a.m. The 29N does a loop that includes stops at the Colosseum, the Vatican, and Villa Borghese. The 78N runs between Termini and Piazzale Clodio by way of the centro storico (historic city center) and the Prati area near the Vatican. Download a map of the bus and tram system from atac.roma.it, or purchase a city map with bus routes at newsstands throughout the city. Buy tickets at tabaccherie (tobacco stores) and some newsstands. The green ticket-vending machines outside major bus stops are usually out of order.

    Standard tickets (BIT) for buses, trams, and metro are valid for 75 minutes from time of stamping. The BIT ticket allows unlimited transfers on buses and trams, but only one transfer on the metro (e.g., between lines A and B). Single-ride tickets are $1.25. Daily tickets (BIG) cost $5 and are valid for 24 hours of unlimited travel from time of stamping. Three-day tourist tickets (BTI) cost $14 and are valid until midnight on the third day of use. Weekly tickets (CIS) cost $20 and are valid for unlimited travel until midnight on the seventh day of use.

    COTRAL Regional Buses
    011-39/06-57-031, cotralspa.it
    Most day-trip destinations are served by this regional bus line. Buses to the Etruscan necropolis at Cerveteri and the beaches north of Rome depart from Cornelia metro station; buses to Villa d'Este and Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli and Palestrina (a quiet medieval town with an ancient hillside sanctuary) depart from Ponte Mammolo metro station; buses to local beach resorts Sabaudia and San Felice Circeo depart from Laurentina metro station. Depending on season and destination, 5--10 buses a day. Tickets $2--$4.50. Cash only.

    Ostia-Lido Trains
    Good for visiting Ostia Antica and the beaches at Lido di Ostia. Trains depart every 20--30 minutes from Stazione Porta San Paolo (Piramide metro station); use same ticket as for ATAC city buses, trams, and metro. $1.25 each way.

    Taxis
    It can be difficult to hail a taxi on the street in the center of Rome. Instead, go to a taxi stand; there's one at most major sights, including Piazza di Spagna, Piazza San Pietro, near the Pantheon in Piazza delle Cinque Lune, and near the Colosseum at Piazza Venezia by Via dei Fori Imperiali. To have a cab pick you up at a specific address, call one of Rome's radio-taxi cooperatives (Radiotaxi 3570, 011-39/06-3570; Radiotaxi 4994, 011-39/06-4994; or Radiotaxi Tevere 011-39/06-4157). Give them your exact street address (they understand some English, but speak slowly), and an automated system will tell you the medallion number (e.g., Parma 31) and when it will arrive. Taxis usually take up to four passengers, although the smaller cars only seat three comfortably. Fares are expensive ($8.75--$19 for a ride within the city center), and there's a higher rate 10 p.m.--7 a.m. and on Sun.; about $1.25 extra for each large bag.

     

  • TIP: "Prearranged" fares are a classic Roman cabdriver scam and are usually exorbitant. Always insist that the cabdriver use the meter, or tassametro.
  • Trains in Italy
    National call center,89-20-21 (within Italy), trenitalia.com
    All major trains to and from other Italian and European cities go through Termini station, on the east side of the city center. Purchase tickets online, through travel agents, or at the gray-and-yellow self-service machines inside the train station, which take cash and major credit cards. Eurostar trains offer the quickest--and priciest--train trips between Italy's major cities. For the Leonardo Express train to the Fiumicino airport, note that the train departs from Tracks 28 and 29, which are a 5- to 10-minute walk beyond tracks 1--22. If you enter on Via Giolitti, you'll have a somewhat shorter walk. All train tickets except the Eurostar must be validated at the yellow time-stamping machines in front of each track.

    WHAT'S GOING ON AROUND TOWN

    Roma C'è For concerts of all kinds, cinemas, clubs, exhibitions, lectures, and walking tours. Weekly at newsstands, English-language section in back pages, romace.it, $1.50
    TrovaRoma
    For less comprehensive concert listings, cinemas, museums, monuments. To get it, you must buy the Thursday supplement to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. $1.25

    Cinemas that often show films in English
    (Ask for English-language films in "versione originale")

     

  • Metropolitan Via del Corso 7, 011-39/06-320-0933
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  • Warner Village Cinemas Moderno Piazza della Repubblica 44-45, 011-39/06-4777-9202
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  • Alcazar Via Cardinale Merry del Val 99, 011-39/06-588-0099
  • TOURS

    Bus 110 Open
    Piazza dei Cinquecento, 8002-81281 (within Italy), trambusopen.com
    Double-decker bus with an open-air deck that departs every 20 minutes from Piazza dei Cinquecento (Termini station) and operates a hop-on, hop-off service for most major sights, including the Colosseum, St. Peter's Square, and the Trevi Fountain. Minimal onboard commentary in multiple languages, including English. Tickets are valid all day. $16.

    Enjoy Rome
    Via Marghera 8A, 011-39/06-445-1843, enjoyrome.com
    Three-hour general orientation tours that are educational and entertaining. For example, a tour might mix smart tips for making sense of ancient ruins and sites such as the Sistine Chapel with colorful anecdotes about gladiators and mischievous popes. Guides are young English-speakers. Walking tours $23--$30. The Catacombs and Roman Countryside bus tour ($44--$50, including Catacombs admission) takes you to a remote park with spectacular ruins of an ancient aqueduct. Note: Lower prices are for people age 25 or under.

    Context: Rome
    011-39/06-482-0911, from the U.S. 888/467-1986, contextrome.com
    Not cheap, but you get your money's worth. Learn a ton about Roman history, art, and culture on private and small group walks led by experienced English-speaking docents who live and work in Rome as archaeologists, architects, art historians, or food critics. One hour to full-day excursions, from $32 (for an orientation walk around the Spanish steps or Pantheon) to $296 (for a full-day tour to Pompeii and the archaeological museum in Naples). Admission prices are extra.

    NUMBERS TO KNOW

    Police 113
    Carabinieri
    (army police) 112
    Ambulance 118
    Fire department 115 
    U.S. Embassy and Consulate 011-39/06-46-741
    Monument and museum tickets Colosseum/Palatine, 011-39/06-3996-7700, pierreci.it; Galleria Borghese, 011-39/06-32810, ticketeria.it
    Concert and event tickets Orbis Agency (Piazza dell' Esquilino 37, 011-39/06-474-4776); TicketOne (ticketone.it)

    International access code
    From US: 011+country code+city code+local number Country code 39 City code 06

     

  • Note: Always dial the full city code (06), whether calling from abroad or making local calls within Rome.
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