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Getting Around Rome

The best way to get around Rome is on foot. And because many of the best attractions are clustered together in traffic-free zones, walking makes the most sense. However, some places, like Vatican City, are pretty far from the central historic district, necessitating the use of the metro or a taxi. A nonstop express train (the Leonardo Express) can take you from the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) to the Rome Termini railway station in a little more than 30 minutes; one-way tickets cost 14 euros (about $17). Buses are also available, but these aren't recommended because of crowded conditions aboard and heavy traffic outside. If you must bring a car to Rome, you should park it as soon as possible once you enter the city limits. Otherwise, you'll find heavy traffic, impatient drivers and pedestrian-only areas make driving around virtually impossible.

On Foot

Walking is an easy option, particularly as many of the city's top attractions are located in close proximity to one another. Wear some comfortable shoes for climbing the Spanish Steps, entering the Colosseum and venturing to the Roman Forum.

Metro

Traffic above ground is bad, so the subterranean metro, or Metropolitana, is the quickest way to get around via public transportation. The metro in Rome, operated by Azienda per i Trasporti Autoferrotranviari del Comune di Roma, or simply ATAC, runs three lines and you'll find stations scattered throughout the city marked by signs with a big red "M" on them. Though the Rome metro system is not as sophisticated as those in London or Paris, it can be a faster alternative to the city's above-ground transportation options. You can buy tickets for 1.50 euros (or about $1.85) one-way at some metro stations and convenience stores throughout the city. Alternatively, if you plan on relying on public transportation for most of your trip to Rome, you might want to purchase a 24-hour card for 7 euros (less than $9); a 48-hour card for 12.50 euros (about $15.40); or a 72-hour card for 18 euros (about $22.20). If you purchased a Roma Pass, your public transportation fares are covered by the pass.

As a tourist, you'll likely only use line A (orange) and line B (blue). Line A has stops near top sights, such as the Vatican Museums, the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon, among others. Meanwhile, line B offers stops near the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. The metro offers daily service from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, the metro runs until 1:30 a.m. Watch out for pickpockets when riding, and also beware of scam artists trying to sell you special tours or hotel rooms.

Bus

A bus ticket costs the same as one for the metro (1.50 euros), and these are available at bus terminals and convenience stores. If you plan on relying on public transportation for most of your trip to Rome, you might want to purchase a 24-hour card for 7 euros (less than $9); a 48-hour card for 12.50 euros (about $15.40); or a 72-hour card for 18 euros (about $22.20). Bus stops are marked by Fermata (or stop) signs. There are several different types of buses in Rome, including night buses and express buses. The city offers a large number of routes and stops, but perhaps the most popular is route No. 64, which transports visitors from Roma Termini (the city's main railway station) to the Vatican. Routes usually offer daily service between 5:30 a.m. and midnight, with extended hours on the night buses. Look at the ATAC website for routes and maps. Keep in mind that pickpockets are also a problem on buses, so keep an eye on your wallet.

Taxi

The best way to get a taxi is to have your hotel concierge call one for you. Restaurants will call cabs, too. A bit expensive, taxis start around 3 euros (about $3.70) and charge about a euro for every kilometer traveled. If you call one, you should keep in mind that the meter starts from wherever that driver is summoned. Taxis licensed by Rome City Council are white and have a sign with the word "TAXI" on their roofs. Extra charges are tacked on for travel on Sundays, late at night and for suitcases. The ride-hailing app Uber also operates in Rome. If you're planning to take a taxi from the airport to the city center, you'll be charged a flat rate of 48 euros (less than $60).

Car

If your goal is to enjoy a stress-free vacation, don't drive. Traffic is a nightmare, as is parking. The entire historic city center is off-limits to drivers during the day. And on the whole, Romans are a population of impatient and fast drivers. But if you must, get an International Driver's Permit (just in case the rental company requires it), and book a car at the airport or an agency located in the city.

Explore More of Rome

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