Like I’ve said in my previous posts, the Rome metro system was the simplest, ever. And their bus system was the only one I bothered to try to understand (though I only did that for one route, teehee). How can you go wrong with just two lines? It was a relief to be dealing with only a Line A and a Line B after having dealt with the Paris Metro and the London Tube both of which had more than 5 lines. Most of the time, I was only on Line A and I only took Line B once.
First, the map of the metro routes:
Metro Stazione: Spagna
- Spanish Steps
- Another place you want to go to near the area
- And so on your list goes
Metro Stazione: Musei Vaticani
- The Vatican Museum
- Some place near the Vatican
By grouping places as such, it will make your roaming around Rome a whole lot easier, ensuring you spend less time underground and more time appreciating whatever it is that you want to see.
You can also check out this map of the metro with tourist sites:
From the first picture, Line A is the one in red and Line B is the one in blue. When you see the signs in the metro station for Line A which says “Direction Anagnina” that says that the last stop of the train will be at Anagnina station. That means, it will pass all the stations between the station that you are in and Anagnina station. Same goes for Direction Battistini. I’m just unsure how it works for Line B but I guess it is probably the same.
So where do you buy the tickets?
You can buy them from the tabacchis, newsstands, or from the automated ticketing machines at the station. Don’t be overwhelmed by the ticketing machine if it is in Italian. The machines can be set to the English language, there’s actually this button on the left side for changing the machine language to English. Or for a bit of adventure, buy your tickets with the language set in Italian. It’s fun and fulfilling, you know. For a more visual representation of the said process, check out this video:
Which ticket should I buy? Choose from any of the following depending on your need:
- B.I.T. costs € 1.50. (Standard ticket)- this is valid for one Metro ride or 75 minutes on all buses.
- B.I.G. costs € 6.00. (Daily ticket) - this is valid for unlimited metro, bus, and train travel within Rome.
- B.T.I. costs €16.50. (3-day tourist ticket) - this is valid for everything listed under the B.I.G ticket.
- C.I.S. costs €24.00. Weekly ticket
Initially, I bought the BIT (used three BIT tickets on my first day in Rome) and BIG tickets for three days and then I bought the CIS ticket on the fourth day. On my last day, I gave my train ticket to my friend in Rome since it was still valid for one more day. Here’s how the tickets look like:
Inside the train, you’ll often see a scrolling message which displays the name of the next stop. You’ll also hear an announcement in a man’s voice stating the next stop. For example, you’ll hear, “Prossima fermata, San Giovanni. Uscita lato, destro.” This means, “Next(prossima) station (fermata), San Giovanni. Use the exit to your right.” If the announcement says, “Uscita lato, sinistro,” then use the exit to the left of the train.
If you don’t want to take the metro, there are always buses for you to ride on. When planning your sightseeing, take note of the bus numbers of the buses that you can take to reach your destination. The bus numbers are flashed in front of the bus. Bus terminal or endpoint is called capolinea and the bus stop is called fermata, same term as the one used for metro stations.
For checking bus routes, use the ATAC website. ATAC is the public transport agency of Rome.
There’s an option to translate the page to English, don’t worry. But again, for a bit of fun, you can navigate the site in Italian. Here’s the link : ATAC
Here’s another video on Rome metro and buses. However, the ticket prices in this video are no longer the current prices:
Make sure to validate your ticket at the validating machine inside the bus. It’s this yellow box thing where you insert your ticket and it spits out your validated ticket. Here’s a video showing how it’s done:
REMEMBER: VALIDATE YOUR TICKET!! There are ticket inspectors that just sprout out of nowhere, get on the bus, and check everyone’s tickets. You may be fined (my friend told me the fine was around 150Euros) for having a non-validated ticket. And no, being a tourist is NOT an excuse!
I must warn you about the SCIOPERO!!!
The sciopero is the transportation strike. During the strike, there will be no metro or buses that will operate. At times, there are localized scioperos or buses operating in a certain area are the only ones that are on strike. Most of the time, these are announced through notices posted in the metro stations. It’s just a piece of bond paper taped by the turnstiles and it’s in Italian. But you’d recognize the word sciopero. Take note of the schedule and adjust your itinerary accordingly. Or else, you’ll have to walk.
When I was in Rome, I experienced two scioperos on two different days. The first one was an announced sciopero and the strike was from 8PM to 12MN. No buses or trains ran during those times. The second was a surprise sciopero and only the 985 and 981 buses were not running. I had to take the dreaded 980 and walk to wherever it was I needed to go.
Lastly, I’d like to talk about the security in the metro and in buses. Yes, there a lot of pickpockets in Rome but if you know how to handle yourself and your belongings, you’re safe. A lot of times, I would take the last metro trip from Cornelia to San Giovanni (yup, it’s a long trip) and I felt safe. There were people coming from parties and bars and would be slightly tipsy and would take the metro but they did not pose any real threat whatsoever. There are stations with no one waiting and there would be stations where a lot of people would be waiting for the last metro trip. It’s usually the Termini station that’s always packed. Don’t be worried about security. It’s pretty safe down in the Roman metro.
There you have it. I hope this post helped you. There are a whole lot more videos on Youtube which you can watch to familiarize yourself with the Roman transportation system. It’s simple and it’s easy.
If you have questions, post them below. If you’ve got metro stories to tell, post them below as well. I’d love to hear from you.