Whether driving in Rome or using the subway/underground, or bus services of the public transit system make sure you read these tips on getting around Rome.
If you plan on driving, if you are not a European citizen, you will need an international driving permit IDP, in order to rent a car and to drive around legally.
In the USA these permits are issued by the American Automobile Association (AAA) and are valid for a maximum of one year. All you need is a valid US driver's license, two original passport size photos and $10,00.
Quite a deal actually seeing that on the other hand if you're going to America from Italy it's a whole other story. As most things in Italy, they are totally overpriced costing as much as €60,00! Be sure to also bring your regular driving license along for verification.
If you need assistance on the road, ACI (Italian Auto Club) the Italian version of AAA, has a 24 hour nationwide roadside assistance number with English speaking operators. Just dial 116 from any phone. For medical emergencies call 113.
Other tips on driving in Italy
To find an autostrada ( national toll way motorway) follow indications that use GREEN signs.
For both entering and exiting the lanes will be marked with both a word and a design indicating the proper gate to go through. There are various options: Biglietto - Viacard - and Telepass. The Telepass and Viacard exits are for those who have special passes for travelling on these roads so make sure you don't go into one of these lanes because it will be a real mess getting out!
When entering the autostrada, you will need to take a ticket from the machine at the unattended tool booth marked BIGLIETTO.
You don't have to push any buttons, just grab the ticket and the guard rail will go up. Keep this ticket handy because when you exit you'll have to use it in order to sum up fees for the distance you travelled. Unfortunately most autostrada exits are very short so keep an eye open for yours while travelling.
When you exit the autostrada you will come to a toll exit marked with the same indications as when you entered. Make sure you go to the Biglietto window where a toll booth employee will take the ticket you took from the machine when you got on the autostrada, tell you the cost of your trip, and give change if needed. Remember, the Telepass and Viacard exits are for those who have special passes for travelling on these roads.
On some of the smaller exits for smaller towns, you will not have this option and it will necessary to put the money in a self service machine.
Some stretches of the Autostrada, especially near large cities, the amounts are preset and so payment is taken when entering.
When driving on the autostrada make sure that your headlights are always on and don't go over 130 kph to avoid a speeding ticket. It doesn't matter if the guy in the left lane just passed you at 200 kph, which will probably occur often, so another tip is to STAY OUT of the left lane unless passing.
It's not like in America where people drive in whichever lane they want passing both on the right and left. In Italy, passing is permitted ONLY on the left.
The roads called SUPERSTRADA ( national freeways) are indicated with blue signs. The speed limit on these roads is 110 kph.
When driving outside city limits, speed limits vary from 70 to 90 kph and in the city, the speed limit is 50 kph.
Seat belts are required on all roads in Italy and fines will be given if you are stopped and not wearing one.
Parking is such a stressful experience in Italy. There are almost literally no rules and the ones that exist are almost never enforced.
Paid parking in the city is indicated by blue lines marking the spaces. There is normally a parking meter nearby where you will have to put in money for the amount of time you plan on parking and the machine will then issue a ticket that you will need to put on your dashboard for proff of payment.
Other areas offer free timed parking where you will need to put a paper dial clock (normally furnished in rental cars) on your dashboard indicating the time of arrival at the parking place and NOT the time of departure.
White parking lines indicates free parking. Parking is permitted in any direction on the street. This means that if you are heading in one direction but you see a spot on the opposite side of the street, no problem just pull into the space in the opposite direction!
To park in the historical centers, a specially issued permit is required otherwise a huge fine will be given. If you are staying in a hotel in the center, ask them to get you a permit before arriving.
Renting a car in Rome is quite easy,
it's the driving around that presents a problem!
If you are in need of a car to move around the city or for other trips around the country with your family or friends and want to move freely without the hassle of public transit a rental car could be an alternative.
BY BUS IN ROME
The most convenient and economic way of getting around Rome is by far the Public Transit Bus service.
Buses run 24 hrs. a day and cover the entire city. Bus tickets and subway metro tickets are interchangeable within the time validity of the ticket. Validation begins by punching them into the ticket counter found on both the bus or subway. Keep the ticket with you at all times during your trip because if there should be a check by the controller, you could get a fine ranging from €40 to €70.
Tickets can be purchased in advance at any tobacconists (easily found by the blue sign with a capital T outlined in white found throughout the city ) and from vending machines at both the train and metro stations. Tickets are not considered used until they are validated, so you can keep a supply of them.
Different choices of tickets include:
The BIT, €1,00, the. most common and economic lets you ride any bus or metro within a time period of 75 minutes.
The BIG, €4,00, is a full day ticket and valid for unlimited rides on buses and the metro until midnight of the day it was purchased.
The BTI, a special ticket for tourists, €11,00, is valid for unlimited bus and metro travel for 3 days from the date validated.
Special children's fares: children under ten ride free!
Other types of special tickets are available through the ATAC (Agenzia dei Trasporti Autoferrotranviari del Comune di Roma) www.atac.roma.it... sorry the site is only in Italian.
Bus stops normally have yellow signs with each bus line listed on the sign. The lists will show all the stops for that line, with the current stop in a red rectangle. The type of bus will also be noted at the top: Express (stops infrequently), Urbano (normal), Notturno (night). Metro stops and train stations will also be noted.
At the bottom of each column, you'll find the hours for that bus line.
Get on the bus through either the front or back doors and get off by the middle doors. Seats in the front of the bus that are reserved for the elderly and handicapped.
To validate your ticket you need to put it into one of the 3 machines the bus; one in the front, one in the middle and one at the back. The machine will beep if your ticket is not valid. Place the ticket in the machine with the arrow pointing down and facing you.
The machine will take the ticket, send it through and back out again with a green light indicating its validity. If one machine is not working, try another on the bus but if you find that the others are also not working, tell the driver and be prepared to write the time and date on the back of the ticket in case of a control.
Before getting off, ring one of the buzzers found throughout the bus or signal the driver to stop at the next bus stop for you to get off. It would be best to get near the door before stopping. If the driver doesn't stop yell!
BY UNDERGROUND/METRO SYSTEM
Rome offers 2 metro lines, Line A red line and Line B blue line, and their entrances are indicated by a large red sign marked with an M.
Line A runs from Battistini to Anagnina and includes stops near the Vatican Museums (Cipro), the Vatican (Ottaviano), the Cola di Rienzo shopping area (Lepanto), Piazza del Popolo (Flaminia), the Spanish Steps (Piazza di Spagna), Via Veneto (Barberini) and San Giovanni.
Line B runs from Rebibbia to Laurentina and includes stops near Eur, St. Pauls Outside the Walls (Basilica S. Paolo), Piramide (also the Ostiense train station), Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo), the Colosseum (Colosseo) and the Tiburtina train station.
There will be signs in both the station and on the train showing the stops along the route. Your ticket will be validated when going through the turnstile.
Those with passes can walk through the open lane while showing their pass to the attendant.
TRAINS TO AND FROM THE MAIN AIRPORT IN ROME
From Leonardo da Vinci at Fiumicino
The Leonardo Express is a direct train that runs from Leonardo DaVinci airport at Fiumicino to Termini and vice versa. The trip takes about 35 minutes and tickets cost €9,50.
Trains leaving from Fiumicino to Termini leave every half an hour, from 6:37am to 11:37pm, from the terminal on the second floor of the airport. Follow the signs for Stazione FS/Railway Station.
Trains from Termini to Fiumicino also run every half an hour, from 5:52am to 10:52pm, from track number 22, found behind the station, a short walk from the main platforms.
You can purchase your ticket either at the ticket window at the airport or the train station or from the automated ticket machines also found at both
Before getting on either train you must validate your ticket by inserting it in the validation machine found in the station or on the platform.
Official Rome taxis are white with an identification code on the door, and have a taxi meter. Inside, on the left door of the back seat, there is a plaque indicating the license number and the name of the driver or of the taxi company of which he is a member.
In accordance with municipal regulations fares must be visible inside the taxi, translated in seven languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and Japanese.
The Starting Fares are:
Normal Fare € 2,33 from 7 am to 10 pm
Night Fare € 4,91- from 10 pm to 7 am
Sunday and Holiday Fare - from 7 am to 10 pm
Fare 1: For Urban fares (within the city limits) Cost per kilometre is €0,78 with an additional increment of €0,11 for speeds exceeding 20 kph after every 85,3 meters.
Fare 2: For Extra Urban fares (outside the city limits) Cost per kilometre is €1,29 with an additional increment of €0,11 for speeds exceeding 20 kph after every 85,3 meters.
When clients board the taxi Fare 1 must always be applied.
Drivers must inform clients the moment Fare 2 goes into effect.
A charge of € 1,04. will be added for each piece of baggage exceeding 35X25X50 centimetres.
From the airport, taxis are available at the arrivals areas of each terminal.
A taxi ride into the historical center should cost about 40 Euros.
From Termini Station, make sure to stand in the taxi line and don't be deceived by those taxis who try to entice you out of line.
Taxis can also be called by telephone at the following numbers:
06.3570 / 06.6645 /06.8822 / 06.4157 / 06.4994 / 06.5551.
An operator will contact the taxi closest to you and provide the identification code that will allow you to recognize it, and how many minutes the wait will be.