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How to Use the Rome Metro

Updated: March 14, 2024

This post explains the Rome Metro system and how to use it, including tips on how to use the buses, streetcars, and commuter trains.

The information is based on first-hand experiences from our local tour guides in Rome who ride the Metro and buses all the time.

Also, we include some great suggestions and tips from group members of various Rome Travel groups, including our own.


Roma ATAC is the official public transportation system for the city of Rome.

It includes the Metro (subway), buses, streetcars, and commuter trains. 

One ticket is good for all four modes of transport, making it easy to transfer from a train to a bus without any issues, and you can buy tickets for multiple days.

Bus Interior in Rome

The system offers extensive routes that allow you to explore the city without much trouble. 

We have provided route information targeted to visitors in our Metro and bus sections below.

Rome's transportation system is one of Europe's smallest and doesn't cover all areas of the city's central core. 

So it's very likely that you will use a combination of Metro, bus, tram, and your feet. 

We recommend using an app like Google Maps to test out some trips from your hotel and accommodation to sights that you want to see.

You might find that your hotel or accommodation is within walking distance of many of your to-do-sights and you might only seldom use public transportation.  

The system isn't directly connected to Rome's two main airports, so you might benefit from reading the following posts:

As a walking tour company, we highly recommend that you walk as often as you can and if you are able.

Rome's beauty lies all around, but mostly you will find it roaming her small ancient streets on foot. 

We provide self-guided walks in the city centre as well as ancient Rome so that you will know where to go and how to get there. 

Nevertheless, Rome's public transportation will take you to all of the top spots, including Vatican City, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Baths of Caracalla, and the Appian Way.  

And whenever you find yourself in a crowded Metro station, train, or bus (or any crowded plaza for that matter), always be aware of pickpockets. 


There are several different ticket options for the Roma ATAC system.

All ATAC tickets are good for travel on the train, bus, and streetcars. They are also valid for commuter trains, but only when within Rome itself. 

Here are all the different ticket types you can purchase and the price.

Single BIT ticket: €1.50. Valid for one metro ride or 100 minutes on all buses allowing transfers. *These do not expire so you can buy a few at a time and use them as needed.

Unlimited tickets

Roma 24H: €7 valid for unlimited metro, bus, and train travel within Rome for 24 hours from validation.

Roma 48H: €12.50 valid for unlimited metro, bus, and train travel within Rome for 24 hours from validation.

Roma 72H: €18 valid for unlimited metro, bus, and train travel within Rome for 72 hours from validation.

CIS: €24 valid for 7 calendar days for unlimited metro, bus, and train travel within Rome for 72 hours from validation.

TIP: Traveling with children? Children under 10 years old ride for free with an accompanying adult.

If you will be in Rome for more than a few days and expect to use the metro and buses (including from the airports to the city centre), we think that you get the most for your money with the CIS ticket.

With this pass, you will pay less than €3.50 per day for unlimited access to the entire Roma ATAC metro system.

Below we explain how you figure out which ticket type will be the best for you.

Important: Read below about validating your ticket. This is "must-know" information!

Where to buy tickets

Tickets can be purchased at automated vending machines or the ticket booth in Metro stations.

The vending machines do not give more than €6 in change, and they don't always accept credit cards, so have small bills on you when buying tickets.

You can also purchase tickets at tobacco shops and newspaper stands throughout the city.

Tobacco shops (or tabachi) are usually marked with a blue sign with a big T.

Where to Buy Rome Metro Tickets

You can also use the contactless payment Tap & Go system to buy a single BIS ticket.

Place your contactless credit or debit card or smartphone with Apple Pay on one of the readers at the turnstile.

Your payment method will automatically debit your account by €1.50 for a BIS ticket.

If you are considering paying this way we highly recommend you read more about the Rome Tap & Go. See the website for details.

How to decide which ticket to buy

You will need to figure out how many rides on the Metro, buses, and trams you, or anyone 10 and older in your party, will make.

We recommend using an app like Google Maps to test out some trips from your hotel and accommodation to the sites you want to see.

Many of your target sights may be within walking distance so you won't be using the metro or buses much.

If that's the case, you might be better off purchasing a handful of single tickets which are good for all transport options within the city.


The Roma Pass is a money-saving tourist pass that includes unlimited access to all Roma ATAC services and free access to either one or two attractions.

Travelers can purchase either a 2 or 3-day pass which will give them admission to all buses, trains, and trams in Rome.

A 2-day ticket comes with one free attraction and a 3-day ticket comes with two free attractions.

  • 2-Day Ticket Price: €33 per person
  • 3-Day Ticket Price: €53 per person
  • Includes unlimited access to Roma ATAC transportation
  • 1 free attraction included with a 2-day ticket
  • 2 free attractions included with a 3-day ticket
  • Click here for additional information.

NOTE: Even if you're not interested in visiting any of the attractions included with the Roma Pass, you can still save money on public transportation using the Rome Metro Card.

This card includes either a 1 or 3-day public transport pass as well as a hop-on hop-off bus tour.

Ticket prices are similar to the Roma Pass, so this is an excellent option for anyone who wants to get around the city with ease.

Validating your ticket

When you use the metro, buses and trams, you must validate your ticket.

When going through the gate, hold your ticket over a yellow dot. The card will be scanned and the gate will open.

On buses and trams, you can validate your ticket by using machines located near the doors when you board.

Rome Bus Ticket Validation Machine - Insert Your Ticket at the Top

You can be charged up to a €150 fine for riding without a stamped ticket.

When using a 1, 3, or 7-day ticket, you only need to stamp it once.


Rome has an efficient, if not very extensive Metro system.

As mentioned above, it's inexpensive. It costs €1.50 per ride on a single ticket (read more on tickets).

These tickets can also be used on buses, trams, and commuter trains within the city. 

Rome Metro stations are marked with red M signs like the one shown in the image below. 

Rome Metro Subway Sign

Trains operate between 5:30 am and 23:30 (11:30 pm) from Sunday to Friday. On Saturdays, the system closes at 00:30 (12:30 am).

Trains visit a station every 5 - 10 minutes, depending on a weekday vs. weekend.

Rome's Metro system does not directly extend to Fiumicino Airport or Ciampino Airport.

However, you can connect to the commuter trains that do (read our post on airport transfers to and from Fiumicino).

The system comprises for the most part 2 main Metro lines, A + B. 

There is a C line that is partially finished, but it is not yet connected to either A or B and is of little use for most visitors to Rome. 

Part of the reason why the C line is still unfinished is the same reason why Rome's Metros are missing from most of the city center - anywhere you dig is almost assured to be a future archeology site.  

Rome Metro Map
Rome Metro Map

Currently, Line C meets up with Line A outside the city centre at San Giovanni, just south of Roma Termini. In the future, Line C will connect San Giovanni to Piazza Venezia and Colosseo.

In the Rome Metro map above, we have placed in orange boxes the Metro stops that interest tourists.

Important Line A Rome Metro Stops

Line A runs from Battistini in the northwest to Anagnina in the southeast. The most important stops are the following:

Termini is the stop for Roma Termini Rail Station.

Spagna is the stop for the Spanish Stairs and Villa Borghese and the Villa Medici, though Flaminio is the closer station for the last two.

Barberini is the closest stop to Trevi Fountain and Via Vittorio Veneto.

And it's not unreasonable to say that Spagna and Barberini could be considered stops for the Pantheon, and Piazza Navona, which are all about a 15-minute walk away from both.  

In fact, many walking tour companies start their city centre tours from this stop. 

For Vatican City, there are 2 relevant Metro stops on the A line, Ottaviano-St. Pietro and Cipro.

Cipro is closer to the Vatican Museums, but if you don't get there really early in the morning or later in the day (and you don't have a skip-the-line ticket) then you will likely be better off getting out at Ottaviano-St. Pietro. 

The lines for the Vatican Museum tickets are legendary for their sheer lengths.

If you are only coming to St. Peter's Square and St. Peter's Basilica, then Ottaviano is the Metro stop that you need.

Before you arrive, test out some paths on Google Maps the paths between your hotel or accommodation to sights in the city that you want to see and determine if riding the Metro makes sense for your trip. 

If you take the FL1 local train from Fiumicino Airport, there is 1 stop where you can connect to the B line on the Rome Metro, Roma Tuscolana Station.

Anagnina, which is the southern end of Line A, is where you can take a local bus to Ciampino airport.

Important Line B Rome Metro Stops

Line B runs from the Rebibbia in the northeast of Rome to Laurentina in the south.

Termini is the stop for Roma Termini Station.

Colosseo is the stop on the B line where you can access the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and several other ancient Rome sights, such as Circo Massimo. 

If you take the FL1 local train from Fiumicino Airport, there are 2 stops where you can connect to the B line on the Rome Metro, Piramide and Roma Ostiense.

As we explain just below, for some hotel and accommodation locations, a bus makes more sense.

Whether Metro, bus, and/or tram, all tickets are good for each.


Depending on where you are staying and what you want to see, you might find that taking the bus is more practical than taking the Metro.

The Metro doesn't run through much of Rome's historic center and buses, including smaller electric buses, are the only mass transit options available.

As the author of this post found out, his hotel next to the Pantheon was too far from the nearest Metro, so he walked and used buses to visit the Vatican, Colosseum and the Spanish Steps rather than the Metro. 

Below, we provide text and images to help familiarize yourself with Rome's bus system.

And as you can see in the map below, several bus lines stretch across the city.

Before you get frustrated trying to understand this map, we recommend using Google Maps to plan out some of your trips. 

Rome buses are GPS enabled, so Google and other travel apps know where your bus is and if it will be late.

For a larger version of this map, click here.

What you are likely to find is that you will be routed along the major arteries and the system will start to make more sense as you explore.

As a tourist or newcomer to the city, you will want to keep the following 2 types of bus lines in mind.

  • Urban Line - The U-line runs through the urban center of Rome. This line will be very useful for reaching most of the major sites and landmarks in the area.  U-line runs from about 5 am - 12 am daily.
  • Night Line - The N-line runs at night while the U-lines rest. You can expect to use this bus line from 12 am - 5 am daily.
Rome Bus Stop Sign

Above is an image of a bus stop sign. This stop is for the Fori Imperiali (the Roman Forum) and two Urban Line buses stop here, the 85 and 87.

There is a good chance that you will take one of these buses. 

Underneath the bus line names and numbers are arrows denoting the direction that the buses are heading in.

It also lists all the stops as well as the connecting metro, bus, and other rail lines at those stops. 

Some of the most relevant bus lines for tourists are the 60, 62, 64, and 81. 

There are two more types of bus lines to note, but unless you are outside of the city, you won't be using these.

  • Express Line - The X-line is used to connect Rome with its outskirt communities. Most tourists will have no reason to use this particular service.
  • Exact Line - The E-line is used primarily by people in surrounding neighborhoods to travel into Rome. Unless you have a reason to travel to the neighborhoods surrounding this city, we recommend avoiding this bus line.

Tips for Riding the Bus

  • You can't purchase tickets onboard the bus.  Tickets can be purchased at Metro stations, tobacco shops as well as endicola (newspaper stands) throughout Rome.
  • You must validate your ticket once you board.  There are yellow validation machines on each bus.  Failure to do so will result in a fine of at least €50.
  • Children under 10 ride for free.


The trams that run throughout Rome aren't as easy to find in the city center area, but they do make stops at several famous locations.

Although we don't recommend relying solely on the tram service, they can be handy for traveling short distances quickly.

Almost every tram line runs along the same route as the bus lines, making it easy to transfer from one service to another.

TIP: The main tram line that tourists will want to consider is #3. The #3 line runs from east to west on the southern end of the city center and makes stops at locations such as The Colosseum and Circus Maximus.

You may also want to consider the #19 tram, as it will take you very close to the Vatican.

For more information, check the Roma ATAC website.


Here are some helpful tips and suggestions from Rome Travel groups on Facebook like this one.

One question that comes up in many Rome travel tip Facebook groups is about where to buy tickets and what kind of ticket makes sense for you. (See above)

If you buy tickets at a metro station, you'll find the kiosks along the wall when you enter the station.

At the airport, the kiosks are by the baggage claim, which is very convenient.

Now that Rome Metro has a Tap to Pay option, many travelers have found this an easier way to buy a ticket. This is if you have a credit or debit card.

Each time you tap, you are paying for one ticket.

For those arriving at Rome Termini Station, the main train/Metro/bus station, this group member explains getting tickets using the kiosks.

Also two very important tips: validate your ticket and beware of pickpockets.

Finally, we remind you again to VALIDATE YOUR TICKET!

Rome Travel Tips Facebook Group


About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo,, and more.
Updated: March 14th, 2024
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