Rome, Italy is a beautiful ancient city that brings over 9 million international tourists to visit each year, making it one of the most visited cities in Europe. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a few times to see the can’t miss things to do in Rome and have taken multiple forms of transportation around the city. So today I’m sharing with you, how to get around Rome on a budget! We’re talking about Rome public transportation tickets, passes, maps, how to get from Fiumicino and Ciampino Airports to the city center of Rome, and so much more!
First I’ll give you an overview of the public transportation system in Rome, then I’ll share about how to get around on a budget – tickets, cost, where to buy, maps, and all the great details. Next, I’ll talk a little bit about alternate forms of transportation and end with how to get to/from the airports to the city center.
Quick Overview of the System
All About Rome
In this blog, I’m writing about about ROME (ROMA), Italy. Rome is located in the Lazio Region of Italy, which includes FCO and Ciampino airports, Civatececchia cruise port, and other key ports.
There are 22 Rioni (districts) in Rome. Each rioni has different neighborhoods within it, labeled with Roman numerals I-XXII. For example: Monti (Rione I, most central neighborhood), Trevi (Rione II, Trevi Fountain and Piazza Barberini), Trastevere (Rione XIII, great restaurants and charm), Prati (Rione XXII, newest).
Types of Transportation in Rome
There are multiple types of transportation available to you:
- Regional railways
- Urban railways
- Airport Leonardo Express
There are over 350 bus lines in Rome, making this a popular form of transportation which can be crowded and uncomfortable, but will get you where you need to go.
Rome has one of the smallest metros in Europe, made up of only three lines in 3 different colors: Line A (Orange – Vatican, Spanish Steps, Borghese gallery), Line B (Blue – Termini, Colosseum), and Line C (Green – not yet in service b/c more ruins are discovered!).
You will likely take a combination of metro, bus, tram, or walk to your destinations.
Hours of Operation
The Metro in Rome runs approximately every 7-10 minutes, from 5:30am until 11.30pm every day (until 0:30am on Saturdays).
As for the bus system, Urban Lines (U) run 5:30am – midnight wih night buses (N) run from midnight – 5/6am.
I will refer to these definitions throughout the blog, so be sure to PAY ATTENTION!
Azienda per i Trasporti Autoferrotranviari del Comune di Roma (ATAC). This is the company that runs most of the public transportation network in Rome and its surrounding municipalities. The ATAC website provides a full breakdown of transportation options so be sure to visit this site before going to Rome. When you first enter the site the default language is Italian, but it can easily be switched to another language by clicking the image of the Italian Flag next to the words “Italiano” halfway down the page.
Roma Termini is the main railway station in Rome and one of Italy’s, and Europe’s, biggest train stations. There are 29 platforms with daily service to cities all over Italy as well as elsewhere in Europe. It’s HUGE! Watch your pockets and keep your bags close – pickpockets are known to frequent this station.
TrenItalia provides train services all across Italy. It is owned by the Italian government. Notably, TrenItalia runs the “Ferrovie Laziali” or “Lazio Railways” (also known as FL Trains). There are 8 lines labeled FL1 to FL8 that run across the entire Lazio Region.
- This is important to know because these trains run to/from: Fiumucino Airport (line FL1), three stops in Rome (FL2 Roma Tiburtina, FL3 Roma Ostiense, and FL4 Rome Termini), Civitavecchia cruise port (FL5), and a few other locations from Roma Termini.
- As a helpful tip: If you buy Fl tickets from a TrenItalia station, the Ticket will read “Regionale”, not FL X.
“Roma” Urban Trains connect you to neighborhoods on the outskirts of Rome. There are three lines:
- Roma Lido connects the Porta San Paolo Station in Rome to Lido di Ostia, Rome’s seaside neighborhood.
- Roma Viterbo brings you to the capital city of the Province of Viterbo.
- Roma Giardinetti
Consorzio Trasporti Lazio (COTRAL). These buses run throughout Rome and the entire Lazio region out into the surrounding countryside.
With so many train lines it can be confusing, that’s why it’s helpful to download public Rome transportation maps of all the train lines, particularly a map of the metro and FL trains.
Now that we know a little bit about how Rome is laid out, the different forms of transportation, and helpful definitions, now let’s talk about how to get around rome on a budget.
HOW TO GET AROUND ROME ON A BUDGET
First, let’s start with the…
Metrebus System in Rome
This system has a lot of ticket types and passes that will save you money. All of tickets & passes i’m going to mention in this section are valid on MULTIPLE forms of transportation! Using the Metrebus Rome System allows you to travel on: buses, trams, trolleybuses, Metro lines, the Roma trains, CONTRAL busses, and Trenitalia lines in 2nd class. The only forms of transportation the Metrebus system does NOT cover are bus or train connections to/from the airports or sight-seeing tours.
Here a few ticket types and passes that may help you get around Rome on a budget during your next trip.
- BIT – INTEGRATED TIME TICKET
What is it? Fare for just 1 trip/journey on the Metrebus system.
Cost: € 1,50!! This is certainly how to get around Rome a a budget for sure!
Validity: Valid for 100 minutes from the time you validate it at your first entry point.
Where do I buy it?
Purchase a BIT throughout the metro stations from automated ticket machines or booths. Tickets can also be purchased in newsstands, tobacco shops, affiliated bars, Atac ticket offices, or through a Tap & go credit card (I’ll explain tap & go when we discuss forms of payment later in this blog.)
Where can I use it? All the forms of transportation I mentioned at the beginning of this Metrebus system section, but it is not valid on airport transfers.
If you purchase this ticket Don´t forget…. to validate your ticket at the beginning of your journey and when you switch from bus or tram to a Metro line. If you transfer within the 100 minute time limit, the ticket has to be validated again in order to be used until the end of your journey. You can find validators on: buses, trams, trolleybuses, and at the entrance of all Metro lines.
The ticket must be kept throughout the journey and displayed in case of a ticket inspection.In case of validator malfunction, write date, time and name of the station or vehicle number on your ticket. If you are travelling on Trenitalia trains, go to a ticket office or see the conductor. Passengers found traveling without a valid ticket will be fined anywhere from 100 up to 500 euros, PLUS procedural costs and postage charges, if applicable! The penalty is reduced to 50 euros if paid within 5 days after notification. Don’t risk it – just validate your ticket!
2. 10-BIT – MULTIBIT (10 INTEGRATED TIME TICKETS)
What is it? Pass that holds 10-single trips. After the first pass runs out, tap your card to load the next pass up to 10 times.
Cost: € 15,00
Validity: 100 min x 10. Not valid for airport transfers
Where to buy: Same places as BIT. The 10-Bit has the same fare rules as BIT.
3. CIS – INTEGRATED WEEKLY TICKET
What is it? Formallycalled a “carta settimanale”, the CIS is a weekly (7-day) pass for unlimited transportation
Cost: € 24,00. This is what I used on my first trip to Rome!
Validity: Valid for unlimited journeys within the city of Romeuntil midnight of the seventh day.
Where do I buy it?: Same locations as the BIT and 10-BIT tickets
Don´t forget…. This ticket must be personalized with name, surname, and date of birth to shown to inspection personnel along with an ID card. It is NOT valid for airport transfers. Make sure you validate your ticket at the beginning of your journey and when you switch to a Metro line.
In addition to BIT, 10 BIT, and CIS, there are…
4. TOURIST TICKETS
Valid from the first time you valid it until the end of the designated time period, tourist tickets allow you to have unlimited trips in the territory of Rome! There are four different types of tourists tickets you can purchase in Rome, Italy:
- ROMA 24H HOUR TICKET (€ 7,00)
- ROMA 48H HOUR TICKET (€ 12,50)
- ROMA 72H HOUR TICKET (€ 18,00)
- ROMA-VITERBO DISTANCE-BASED TICKET
Where to Buy: Purchase your ticket at one of the Atac ticket offices along the Metro Lines A and B or along the Roma-Lido or Roma-Viterbo railways from about 7/8am until 8pm. You can also Just print your receipt to show the ATAC attendant. Let me mention that you can also purchase at an automatic ticket machine inside the Metro, at select bus terminals, or authorized shops (news stands, tobacco sands, bars)
Need a quick chart of all these tickets to compare and contract? Here is a helpful link to a ticket description PDF for each of the Metrebus roma tickets (BIT, 10-BIT, CIS, and Tourist Tickets that I just mentioned .
How do you pay for these tickets? There are different forms of payment accepted.
- Cash or Card at metro machines (some machines are CASH ONLY, BRING EUROS). May receive a paper fare card or plastic reusable card – it’s up to you.
- eTickets. Buy your pass online and pickup at select metro ATAC offices. You can purchase a Metrebus Card, eRoma electronic card: BIT, 10-BIT, Tourist Tickets, CIS, Monthly pass, +Roma contactless card. Can buy at select locations and fees range from 1-5eur per card.
- App: B+ is the new payment via smartphone where you can purchase BIT, Roma 24/48/72h tickets, or a monthly pass through one of several approved apps (My Cicero, TicketAppy, Tablet, Drop Ticket).
- Tap & go. The newest system to add to Rome’s public transportation network, just pay with your contactless credit/debit card, smart phone, or smart watch. Only works on metro and Roma Lido, Roma Viterbo, and Termini Centocelle railways.
Metrebus System in Lazio
Next, is the Metrebus Lazio System. As I mentioned before, Lazio is an entire region and there are special tickets for this area. I’m not going to go in depth because we’re talking about the city center of Rome, specifically, but know that tickets and passes of the Metrebus Lazio system allow you to travel in the Lazio Region within the zones indicated on the ticket or season pass.
To travel within Roma (Rome) you must purchase a ticket for Zone A, which is the equivalent of two zones. As a result, you must purchase a 2 zone ticket.
- BIRG – INTEGRATED REGIONAL DAILY TICKET (1 day, €6)
- BTR – REGIONAL TOURIST TICKET (3-days, €16,50)
- CIRS – INTEGRATED REGIONAL WEEKLY TICKET (7-days, €24)
How Else can you get around Rome on a Budget? Through RENTALS.
Scooter & Bike Rentals
Riding an eScooter or eBike is not necessarily the cheapest option, but it CAN be the fastest way to get around Rome on a budget!
Cost: varies by rental type (bike, eBike, eScooter), and length of time rented. For each of these rentals, you must pay unlock fee (€1) + riding fee (€.25/min) + 22% VAT
My 15 minute ride via Lime eScooter (owned by Uber) cost €5. My average daily cost was €11.47 + VAT 22% = €13.99/day all the way up to 20 euros/day. It helps to download the app and purchase a daily pass for €13.99/day.
Pros: Riding an eScooter or eBike is a FAST way to get around Rome on a budget. I was able to zip through traffic jams with no delays, faster than taking any other form of transportation. It is convenient – simply pick up and drop off your ride anywhere within the specified region. Renting is cheaper than ride sharing with day passes an affordable option. Riding can also be fun as long as you have your route planned in advance and you know where you’re going.
Cons: Uneven surfaces and cobblestone in Rome make for a bumpy, disturbing rides if you can’t find a smooth, paved street. You have to check charge levels frequently or you may pick up a rental that is not fully charged, leaving you hunting for another ride. Speaking of different options, you can reserve a rental for up to 30 minutes which is great, but that also means more time walking up and down the streets trying to find one to rent.
Safety is also a huge concern. There are no helmets and you are sharing the road with unpredictable drivers. By “sharing the road” I mean not trying to get hit by cars! Rome is not the most bike friendly place – eScooter or eBike rentals must share the road with cars, busses, motorcycles, etc. and drivers can be pretty aggressive. Another con is one-time fees + unlocking fees can add up. Finally, if it rains…prepare to slip and slide!
What about Taxi’s? Ridesharing? Uber? Lyft?
Taxis are available, but it’s one of the more expensive ways to get around. Average minimum fares change based on the date and time, but cost around €3 on weekdays, €5 on Sundays and during holidays, €7 at night PLUS a €1-2 rate per kilometer and a €1 charge for each suitcase if there is more than 1 suitcase per person. Average trips cost between €6-10, which is more than 4x the cost of a €1,50 single trip BIT ticket!
Uber exists in Rome…but it’s not what you’d expect. There are no standard or pool services in Rome. The only Uber services are Uber Black, Uber Van, and Uber luxury vehicles. I rode on more than a few Uber lux rides and it’s nice…but costs can add up quickly! Expect to pay no less than €13/ride.
To get to from from the Fiumucino airport, expect to pay a flat fee of around €50, or €30 from Ciampino, and €125 to Port of Civitavecchia (for cruise lines), for a Taxi or Uber service each way.
Speaking of the airport, let’s talk about…
How to Get To & From the Airport to Rome via Public Transportation
Rome Fiumicino (FCO) Airport
FCO is the largest airport in Rome, about 20mi from the city center or 30min-1hr car ride depending on traffic.
FL Train (€8-9/trip). The FL train is not the fastest, but it is the cheapest way to get from the airport to the city center of Rome. The ride takes an hour and makes multiple stops along the way. In Rome, the FL Train drops off at Trastevere, Ostiense, and Tiburtino stations. My Suggestion? Jump on the FL1 train from the airport to exit at either the Tiburtina or Ostiense stations, then take the metro or bus to your final destination.
Leonardo Express. As the name suggests, this is one of the fastest ways to get to the city center of Rome, but not the cheapest option. At €14/one way trip, this speedy train runs every 30 min non-stop from FCO to Roma Termini station. From Termini, walk across the street to the underground metro. Need a visual? Watch my What you NEED to Know before visiting Rome video to learn more. Link is in the description.
The FL or Leonardo Express trains will transport your from FCO to the city center of Rome, now let’s talk about how to get from Ciampino airport to the city center of Rome.
Ciampino (CIA) Airport
CIA airport is smaller than FCO, but operates a decent number of flights. Options here are limited for the most affordable way to get to the city center of Rome, but you can take the SIT Bus shuttle (€6) or the Terravision shuttle bus (€4-6). Be sure to buy tickets online in advance!
How to Get To & From Civitavecchia Cruise Port to Rome via Public Transportation
I mentioned that a one way, flat rate fare from Civitavecchia cruise terminal to the city center of Rome is €125, ouch! Luckily, there’s a better way. From the cruise terminal, take a bus for €3 each way to the Civitavecchia train station. It is a less than 10 minute ride that drops you off across the street from the building. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT go into the tourist tickets section next to the station! It will be expensive.
Instead, walk inside the station to one of the many TrenItalia kiosks and purchase a round trip ticket to Rome, exiting at either the San Peitro, Ostiense, Trastevere, or Tibrutina stations. Each ticket is only €4,60 and takes 1-1.5hrs to reach the city center of Rome. From Rome, take one of the other forms of transportation in this blog to get to your destination(s).
TrenItalia also runs the Civitavecchia Express train from April to November for €10 one-way or €15 round trip. This special train takes around 45min-50min and makes stops at the San Pietro and Ostiense stations only. If using this service, please be sure to mind the time. There may only be 1-3 pickup or drop off times the entire day so if you miss the express train you will have to take the FL5 or another form of transportation…at the risk of being left behind.
What’s Right for Your Trip?
We learned about the types of transportation, hours, where to find maps, ticket types, how to get around on a budget, costs, pros/cons, and how to get to/from Fiumicino and Ciampino airports to the city center of Rome.
Now it’s time for YOU to select the best ticket combinations for your trip! Take the time to digest the information in this blog or watch my How to Get Around Rome on a Budget video below. If you found the information helpful, please share it with someone who is looking for how to get around Rome on a budget.
In addition, don’t forget to share how YOU plan to get around Rome on a budget in the comments below or if you’ve taken a trip to Rome, share other ways to get around! Let’s help each other out!
Have happy and safe travels!
Antoinette | Frolic & Courage