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Central Rome is perfect for exploring on foot, with sites of interest often located close together, and much of the inner core is traffic-free, so you will need to walk regardless. However, in many parts of the city walking is uncomfortable because of the crowds, uneven cobblestones, heavy traffic and narrow sidewalks so you will need to use one of the options below.

By Metro

The Metropolitana, or Metro, (tel 06-454640100), is the fastest means of transportation, operating from 5:30am to 11:30pm Sunday to Thursday, and until 1:30am on Friday and Saturday. A big red 'M' indicates the entrance to the subway. If your destination is close to a Metro, take it as it will be much faster than the bus. There are currently two lines: Line A (orange) runs southeast to northwest via Termini, Barberini, Spagna and several stations in Prati near the Vatican; and Line B (blue), running north to south via Termini and stops in Ancient Rome.

Tickets are €1.50 each and are good for 100 minutes from the time you validate the ticket. They can be purchased from tabacchi (tobacco shops), many newsstands, and vending machines at all stations. Booklets of tickets are available at tabacchi and in some terminals. You can also buy a pass on either a daily or a weekly basis. To open the subway barrier, insert your ticket. If you have a Roma Pass, touch it against the yellow dot and the gates will open. Metro tickets and bus/tram tickets are interchangeable within the time validity of the ticket. Validation begins by punching them into the ticket counter found on either the subway or bus/tram. 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 from €50 to €80.

By Bus and Tram

Roman buses and trams are operated by an organization known as ATAC (Agenzia del Trasporto Autoferrotranviario del Comune di Roma (tel. 06-57003). Buses and trams stop at areas marked FERMATA. At most of these, a yellow or white sign will display the numbers of the buses that stop there and a list of all the stops along each bus's route in order so you can easily search out your destination. In general, they're in service daily from 5:30 am to midnight. After that and until dawn, you can ride on special night buses (they have an N in front of their bus number), which run only on main routes.

Tickets are €1.50 each and are good for 100 minutes from the time you validate the ticket. They are sold in tabacchi and at bus stops, but there are no ticket-issuing machines on the vehicles themselves. At Stazione Termini, you can buy special timed passes: BIG (biglietto giornaliero or 1-day ticket) costs €7 and a CIS (carta settimanale) is €24 for 1 week. The BTI (bigiletto turistico, or 'tourist ticket') is €18 for 3 days. If you plan to ride public transportation a lot then these passes save time and hassle over buying a new ticket every time you ride. Purchase the appropriate pass for your length of stay in Rome. All the passes allow you to ride on the ATAC network, and are also valid on the Metro (subway).

Please Note: Rome's bus network is intricate and extremely handy for getting around the city; however, it takes a bit more to figure it out than the simple Metro. Not all maps of Rome include the bus routes, so if you plan to take the buses anywhere it's important to get a city map that does have bus routes listed. Most newsstands sell them (they also sell transportation tickets, too).

Warning: Take extreme caution when riding Rome's overcrowded buses (and Metro) - pickpockets abound!

By Taxi

Don't count on hailing a taxi on the street. You must either go to the closest taxi stand where available taxis are usually waiting or call one of the main taxi companies in town. Look for orange signs with 'TAXI' written in black. You can also have your hotel concierge call a taxi for you. Be aware when calling a taxi that the meter will start running from the time of the call. Taxis on call incur a surcharge of 3.50€.

The meter begins at €3 (Mon - Fri, 6am - 10pm) for the first 3km (1 3/4 miles) and then rises €1.10 per kilometer. The first suitcase is free. Every additional piece of luggage costs €1. On Saturday and Sunday between 6am and 10pm the meter starts at €4.50 from 10pm to 6am every day the meter starts at €6.50. Trips from Termini incur a €2 surcharge. A small tip is fine, but not necessary, and at most, simply 'rounding up' to the nearest euro is appreciated. If the driver is really helpful a tip of €1-€2 is sufficient.

A taxi from Leonardo da Vinci airport to the city costs approximately €48 and up for the 1 hour trip, depending on traffic. The expense might be worth it if you have a lot of luggage or just don't want to bother taking a train. The 30-minute ride from Ciampino airport will cost €30 or more.

By Bicycle

Other than walking, the best way to get through the medieval alleys and small piazzas of Rome is by bicycle. Despite the hilly terrain, the heart of ancient Rome is full of bicycle lanes to get you through the congested traffic. The most convenient place to rent bikes is Bici and Baci, Via del Viminale 5 (tel 06-4828443), two blocks west of Stazione Termini, the main rail station. Prices start at €4 per hour or €12.50 per day.

By Car

All roads might lead to Rome, but you don't want to drive once you get there. You will want to get rid of your rental car as soon as possible, or park in a garage. There is a large garage by Termini Station or ParkSi garage by the Villa Borghese. Additionally your hotel may offer a car park (for a fee).

If you are renting a car to explore the countryside around Rome or drive to another city, we suggest you pick it up as you depart the city to avoid excessive rental/parking expenses. There are branches of the major agencies at the airport.