5 Ways: Minimize your need for Public Transportation in Rome
Buon giorno and welcome to Stefano’s RomeCabs Travel blog. We are Rome’s leading company for Private Airport and Civitavecchia Transfers, and Rome Tours, and Civitavecchia Shore Excursions.
For more than 18 years we have provided safe Rome Tours and transfers as a convenient, comfortable, and luxurious alternative to Rome taxis and public transportation in Rome (buses, metros, and trams).
We understand there are plenty of occasions when visitors stay in Rome for an extended period and wish to enjoy Rome leisurely on their own. With some advance planning and organizing, you can enjoy Rome without heavily relying on public transportation to get around.
In this article, you will discover some of the pitfalls of relying on public transportation in Rome (some notable things for you to look out for), and 5 ways to minimize your need for public transportation in Rome.
Some of the pitfalls of relying on public transportation in Rome
While public transportation in Rome is useful and handy, it also comes with certain disadvantages that many travelers prefer to avoid for the reasons mentioned below, and other less important reasons not mentioned.
- Public transportation in Rome can use some improvements to reduce unpredictably long wait times for buses, and minimize the crowds that pack into the buses and metros like sardines. Tourists share public transportation with commuting locals as well, adding pressure on the already slow system.
- Buses and metros largely don’t have Air Conditioning which can make them hot and stuffy during the hot summer months. This can be quite uncomfortable when you are already hot from spending time outdoors. Although new buses are being introduced in Rome, cold air conditioned interior on local buses is not guaranteed, and in most cases cannot be expected in the near future.
- Packed buses and metros tend to be common during peak tourist season (which also coincides with the hottest summer months of the year) make it also quite uncomfortable and stressful for folks suffering from claustrophobia, or those who generally don’t like being in tight, hot and crowded spaces.
- During the cold and flu season, using crowded public transportation can also mean exposing yourself to viruses that can interfere with your vacation enjoyment. Families with young children also tend to worry more about using public transportation for legitimate safety reasons.
- On Sundays, national holidays, and in August public transportation slows down due to reduced demand by local commuters, making it even more difficult to utilize when there are fewer buses and metros in use.
- Rome, as with many large cosmopolitan cities, has the unfortunate problem of pickpockets that frequent buses and metros where tourists are largely unaware they are being pick-pocketed when crammed shoulder to shoulder with other passengers.
- Tourists who are unaware of how Rome public transportation works would need to spend time researching the metro lines, bus numbers and bus stops in the areas they plan to use prior to their trip for a better experience. Planning your routes in advance helps prevent getting lost or taking the wrong bus or metro which can also result in negative consequences if you booked non-refundable time-slot tickets for museums and monuments that you can lose if you arrive too late for your ticket time slot.
- Public transportation strikes can and does occur several times a year, and unfortunately most of those times happen during peak travel season that directly impacts travelers in Rome, as well as cruisers who travel between Rome and Civitavecchia pre cruise, post cruise, and on shore excursions.
Five ways to Minimize your need for Public Transportation in Rome
If you prefer to avoid public transportation in Rome for any of the above reasons or your own personal reasons, you have options available to minimize your need for public transportation in Rome.
Below you will also find the information useful for cruisers who are arriving in Rome from Civitavecchia after their cruise or will be departing from Rome to Civitavecchia to embark on their Mediterranean cruise. If you will not be cruising into Rome or out of Rome, you may skip through that portion of information.
1. Choose a hotel, B&B, or rental apartment in the historic center of Rome that’s within walkable distance to most attractions you want to visit
When selecting a hotel, B&B, or rental apartment in Rome, search for a location in the historic center of Rome within walking distance of major places of interest (Vatican, Colosseum, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon…)
You may also check the hotel or accommodation’s location on a map online before booking to view its location and ensure it’s suitable for you.
If you are not familiar with Rome and its neighborhoods, reconsider booking via a 3rd party vendor that does not reveal the address of the accommodation until after it’s booked. Some “walking distance” descriptions may give the impression of being close to a particular place of interest, but it could be a 5-minute walking distance or a 20-minute walking distance.
You can also establish if the accommodation is in a safe or noisy area such as close to pubs or nightclubs that can get rowdy at night, or busy squares with an active nightlife. Knowing in advance where in Rome you will be staying can make a significant difference in your enjoyment during your stay.
If you wish to focus mostly on a specific area of Rome, look for accommodation near that location.
For example: If you wish to enjoy the historic center that includes the Colosseum, Pantheon, and other ancient Roman monuments, focus your attention on a hotel near the Pantheon or Piazza Venezia so you will be centrally located in that particular area. Likewise, if you wish to enjoy the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain area look for accommodation in that vicinity.
Pay attention to descriptions such as “away from the hustle and bustle of Rome”, or “in the outskirts of Rome” as they may mean you will be far enough where your only means to reach Rome’s historic center is by taxi or public transportation regularly.
2. Plan your sightseeing by geographical areas to reduce your need for public transport to get from site to site
You can pre-plan your sightseeing in Rome by grouping certain places of interest that are closest together, and within walking distance of other places of interest.
Here are some examples to offer you some ideas.
The Vatican and Castel Sant’Angelo are in the same area and they can be enjoyed together on a single day. From there, a 20-30 minute walk along the Tiber River will take you into the heart of Trastevere. About a 20-minute walk across the Tiber River will take you to Piazza Navona or Campo dei’ Fiori.
The Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Circus Maximus, Baths of Caracalla, Capitoline Museum, Trajan’s Market and Forum, Piazza Venezia with the Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II are all in the same area within short walking distance of each other.
You can also enjoy your day exploring the main squares that are within walkable distance: Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and Campo dei’ Fiori. Certainly, it can take up your day visiting the squares on foot and it can be exhausting, but if you don’t mind the walk you also enjoy strolling your way through Rome.
3. Use a Rome Taxi or Uber to get around within Rome if too tired to walk too long
If you become too wearing after days of sightseeing to walk to your next place of interest, use the Uber app to dispatch a professional driver who can take you to your next destination at a price comparable to a taxi, but with the benefit of having a minivan for your family and friends of up to 6-8 people, knowing the price upfront and enjoying being driven in a luxurious vehicle by a sharp dressed chauffeur.
Taxis, on the other hand, charge by the meter and you would not know in advance the price you will pay (or if you will be charged the correct price). Taxis are white marked vehicles, mostly small economy type vehicles that can only accommodate 3 passengers, and can be found stationed at Taxi Ranks near many places of interest (Spanish Steps, Piazza Venezia, Pantheon). Taxis are an alternative to Uber when an Uber vehicle is not available.
4. Book a Private Transfer or use a Rome Taxi between Airport and Rome / Rome and Civitavecchia
Getting around on trains, buses, and /or metros with luggage on arrival or departure can seem like a lot of hassle, especially on crowded buses and metros with little or no space for luggage. Further, on public transportation strikes buses, metros and trams are not in operation.
While the Leonardo Express that connects FCO Airport to Termini Station is still in operation during transportation strikes, getting to and from Termini station can pose a challenge if your hotel accommodation is not reachable on foot.
Naturally, there are also much fewer taxis available during public transportation strikes, and it’s not unusual to find long lines at the Termini Station taxi rank without a taxi in sight. During peak travel months Uber drivers may also not be available as they often also provide Driver Services in Rome as well.
Unfortunately, there are no options like Leonardo Express between Rome and Ciampino Airport or between Rome and Civitavecchia, leaving many travelers and cruisers who planned to use public transportation to/from Ciampino Airport to Civitavecchia essentially stranded if their travel falls on days of public transportation strikes which can happen a few times a year.
If you haven’t planned to book a private transfer service to travel between Rome and Airport or Rome and Civitavecchia Cruise Port, and if you are just 1 to 3 passengers with minimal luggage you can opt to use a Rome Taxi.
READ: How the train ruined the Cruise for thousands of Civitavecchia Cruisers
* Taking a Rome Taxi from Airport to Rome, and from Rome to the Airport
At the airport, taxis are located at a designated taxi rank along the curbside. If you are just up to 3 persons (that can fit in a small economy size type vehicle with limited luggage), just take the first taxi in line.
Taxis have a flat rate between the Airports and the center of Rome (within the Aurelian Wall). Fixed rates don’t apply to accommodations outside the Aurelian Walls, and much higher meter rates can be expected. Remember that taxis also go on national strikes, and if you haven’t already booked a private transfer service you may need to rely on public transportation after all.
From Rome, you or your hotel concierge can call a taxi to have one dispatched for you to take you to Fiumicino Airport, Ciampino Airport, or Civitavecchia Cruise Port at fixed rates if you are picked up within the Aurelian Walls.
* Taking a Rome Taxi from Rome to Civitavecchia, or a Taxi from Civitavecchia to Rome:
If you take a Rome Taxi from Rome to Civitavecchia, please know that most Rome city taxis cannot enter the cruise port of Civitavecchia as special security clearance is required to access the cruise port.
Most Rome Taxis don’t have that clearance, and they drop off passengers at the main gate from where the passengers will need to either walk the long distance through the port to their ship, or use the port shuttle buses (either option is not very convenient at this point, especially for cruisers with a lot of luggage, have mobility issues, or traveling with small children).
From Civitavecchia Cruise Port, you can find official Civitavecchia Taxis (white large marked vans) at the port to take you to Rome, Fiumicino Airport, or Ciampino Airport.
Civitavecchia Taxis charge around 200 – 250 Euros between Civitavecchia and Rome or to the airports. They charge so much as they are limited to only providing taxi service from Civitavecchia and they cannot pick up passengers back from Rome or from the airports.
There are also only a few Civitavecchia taxis, therefore unless you disembark fast and early, you may not find a Taxi left available. This makes relying on a taxi to get you from Civitavecchia to Rome not very reliable and you may have no choice but to take the train to Rome. The train station in Civitavecchia requires extensive walking as it’s about a 20-minute walk from the Cruise Port Gate (where the port shuttle bus would drop you off).
From the Cruise Port Gate, you may also take an additional bus to the train station to avoid the long walking distance with your luggage. However, you would be facing similar issues as you would using general public transportation.
* Booking Private Driver Transfer Service from Airport to Rome, and from Rome to Airport
There’s probably no greater relief when stepping out of the airport terminal in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language than seeing your Name on a card held by a smiling driver waiting for you.
When you book a Private Driver Service, knowing you will arrive at your Rome hotel safely without worries gets your Italy vacation off to a great start. And at the end of your vacation, knowing you will arrive back at the airport safely on time for your departure flight is the perfect way to conclude your trip to Rome.
Booking private Rome airport transfers removes the stress and worries of not knowing how you will get to Rome from the airport, and how you will get from your hotel back to the airport on time for your flight, and you can budget your travel expenses knowing in advance what you will pay for your transfers.
* Booking Private Driver Transfer from Rome to Civitavecchia, and from Civitavecchia to Rome
From Rome to Civitavecchia booking a private transfer service is the most reliable way for Door to Door Service from your accommodation in Rome right to your cruise ship in Civitavecchia.
For example, our vehicles have the proper licensing and our drivers have the required security clearance to access the cruise port for convenient pick-up and drop-off right next to your cruise ship in Civitavecchia.
From Civitavecchia to Rome, booking a private Transfer Service can be almost half the price you would pay a Civitavecchia Taxi for a reliable and cost-effective option.
Overall for Airport and Civitavecchia Transfers a more reliable, predictable, and hassle-free option to consider is booking a private car service in advance and having this important part of your trip secured and hassle-free.
When you book a private transfer service such as Rome Airport Transfers or Civitavecchia Transfers, you know the prices in advance and have your driver meet you at the airport, at your cruise ship in Civitavecchia, or at your hotel accommodation in Rome. You can rest assured knowing that you will arrive at your destination in a safe, comfortable, and timely manner.
5. Book a Rome Tour by car and see more of Rome in 1 day than in 2-3 days DYI
If you’re short on time and wish to see as much as possible in Rome with as little hassle and stress as possible for that once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Rome, touring by car is an option to consider, especially if traveling with children, elderly family members, or have mobility issues that make it difficult to walk all day or travel on crowded public transportation.
Private Rome tours are not an inexpensive option, but it’s a more convenient, safe, and comfortable option that makes sightseeing in Rome a far more enjoyable experience. If you consider that you can see more of Rome in 1 day on a Rome tour by car than in 2-3 days on foot, that also saves you quite a lot on hotels, meals, and other expenses related to a longer stay in Rome.
Private Rome tours by car are also a great option if you haven’t had the time to plan and organize your Rome trip and don’t know where to begin. Many folks are busy with demanding careers and family obligations leaving them with very little time to properly research, learn, plan and organize their trip to Italy. Having the option to just choose your preferred Rome tour itinerary, book online, and go is truly a vacation saver!
When booking private tours of Rome, there’s no need for you to research in advance. Just choose your preferred Rome Tour (or tours) and book directly online.
We offer a variety of Rome tour itineraries to suit different tastes, interests, and mobility levels. Our website’s tour pages are highly informative and descriptive so you have the opportunity to learn about the sites featured in the tour even before your trip. Our original tour photos and videos make it possible for you to know in advance what to expect to see on our tours.
We also offer information and links to pre-purchase your Colosseum or Vatican Museums skip the line tickets, and we can also book private tour guides for private walking tours of the Vatican, Colosseum, Roman Forum, and more. We help make visiting Rome easy, fun, informative, and hassle-free: the perfect solution for busy people who just want to travel without all the required pre-travel homework.
We hope this travel blog helped you discover alternate options to relying on public transportation to get to and around Rome on your next Italy trip.
Thank you for reading our 5 Ways to Minimize your need for Public Transportation in Rome travel blog. We invite you to visit our website for more information on private Transfers, Rome Tours, and Italy Private Excursions.
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