Let’s just assume that most of you have the same habit as me when it comes to city trips. I tend to take the plane rather than the car to get there, meaning I have to rely on public transport to get around once arrived … but then I can think of very few major cities where I would consider driving around in a car a good idea (actually I might struggle to think of any?)
So Rome was no exception.
We arrived at the airport, made our way into town and since our hotel was fairly close by Termini Station, we walked there. As we arrived late in the evening, we did not set out exploring that evening. Instead we had a stroll through the vicinity and left the exploring for the next morning.
Thanks to Citymapper it wasn’t too difficult to work out how best to get to our first destination. What we did not factor in though was strike action taking place on the Metro network. So no tubes until 12.30 that day. Not a problem, let’s take the bus then. Despite people constantly telling us not to take the bus in Rome, it wasn’t as bad as feared. Yes the bus fills up, but hey, no worse than in London. And the average speed seemed considerably higher than in London (where it pretty much is quicker to walk than take a bus when in the town center).
Obviously if you have a tight travel budget, walking everywhere is the cheapest way. For those willing to spend a little more, I would recommend getting a travel card for the Atac network, which you can use on the Metro, the busses and the tram. You can either buy a single ticket for 1.50 Euro, which is valid for 100 minutes (so you can change in-between Metro and busses within those 100 minutes). Or you can buy a travel card for 24, 48 or 72 hours for 7, 12.50 or 18 Euros. There aren’t any zones, so once you have the ticket you can explore as you please. There is also a weekly ticket for 24 Euros if you stay longer than three days (unfortunately this wasn’t displayed when we bought our first ticket, so we ended up spending a little more than necessary for our 6 day stay).
Tickets are sold at the Metro / train stations, as well as in the tabaccheria (small shops selling newspapers and tobacco). You cannot pay cash in the busses, so make sure you buy your ticket before you board. Also when buying your ticket in a tabaccheria they usually don’t accept card payment, so prepared and bring some cash.
As soon as you start your first journey, you will have to validate your ticket and your 24 / 48 / 72 hours start from then (so actual 24 hours, not calendar days). Once validated there is no need to show your pass anymore when entering a bus or tram.
When taking the underground you will need your ticket to get through the barrier upon entry, but you don’t need your ticket to exit.
Obviously there is also the option of taking a cab, but since I have not tried this myself, I can’t really advise here. All I know is that you need to take a white cab, the black ones are illegal.
Since we visited in September / October heat wasn’t a major issue anymore. Not sure my travel advise (especially concerning busses) would be the same if I were to visit amidst a heat wave in August… probably no. One might never know (but if we do, I’ll let you know).
Hope this helps, anything to add?