International Studies Abroad ®est. 1987


Culture Corner

Getting Around Rome

Public transportation, while some of the easiest and most commonly used forms of getting around the city, isn't always the most reliable. Things like heavy traffic and regular strikes can cause even a 5 minute bus or tram ride to take up to 15 minutes, or more.

Instead of stressing over what you cannot control, adapt as Italians do, by leaving your house earlier and allowing yourself plenty of time to travel to your destination. Some students in the past have even said that for certain routes, walking was just as fast as taking the bus. Plus walking allows you to take in the neighborhood sites, window shop and stay in shape!

Types of Transportation

The most commonly used form of transportation is the bus. Rome's extensive bus routes connect the University to the historic center and extend far into the surrounding suburbs. Bus stops, departure schedules and route information are found on well-marked signs throughout the city. Orange, blue or green ATAC city buses run from about 6:00a.m. to about midnight. Some lines provide night buses (indicated with an "N"). Due to constant route modifications, students should always check the hours of operation for a specific route before departing.

There are two main buses that serve the University. The 44 leaves from Piazza Venezia and continues past the University and the 75 starts at the Termini train station and passes by the University. Remember tickets need to be purchased prior boarding the bus.

The tram #8 runs from about 6:00 am to about midnight on Viale Trastevere and up to the Circonvallazione Gianicolense. This tram is very useful to students to go the historic center from the Trastevere and Gianicolese neighborhoods. Students who live in these areas can go back home from the Largo Argentina stop in the historic center.

Rome's subway system (Metropolitana) has two lines and is marked by red M signs on city maps. The two lines, Lines A (red) and B (blue), intersect at Termini Station. Subway Line A connects the Vatican with Anagnina, the central bus terminal for routes to other cities in Lazio. Line B extends from Rebibbia to Laurentina. Subway service begins at 5:30am and concludes at midnight. Try to avoid the rush hours and beware of pickpockets.

Maps and information, in Italian and English, on Rome's public transportation system can be found on the ATAC website.

Taxis wait at stands and can also be called by phone, in which case you will be charged a small supplement. It is difficult, if not impossible, to hail a cab in the street. The meter starts approximately at €2-4; there are supplements for night service (10:00pm-7:00am) and on Sundays and holidays as well as for each piece of baggage.

Avoid unmarked or unmetered cabs (numerous at airports and train stations), whose drivers actively solicit your trade and may demand astronomical fares. Use only licensed, metered yellow or white cabs, identified by a numbered shield on the side and an illuminated taxi sign on the roof. The closest taxi stand to the University is located at Piazza Rosolino Pilo, reachable by telephone at 06 58 12 800. To call a cab, dial 06 3570, 06 88177, 06 5551 or 06 4994.

Then, give the operator the address where you want to be picked up. Do your best to pronounce the address as clearly as possible. Stay on the line until the operator gives you the name and the number of the car (e.g. Bologna 66 or Pisa 50) and the estimated arrival time of the car (3 minuti). Then hang up and wait for the taxi to arrive. Note that taxis cannot be reserved in advance.

Transportation Passes

Rome's integrated Metrobus transportation system includes buses and trams (ATAC), subway (Metro) and some other suburban trains (FS) run by the state railways. There are many daily, weekly, and monthly passes available.

Bus tickets are sold at tabacchi stores, newsstands and many coffee bars and there are also automatic ticket machines are positioned in Metro stations and at many bus stops. There are also ATAC and COTRAL ticket booths located in many Metro stations, on the lower concourse level at Termini train station and at a few main bus terminals. Make sure to buy your ticket BEFORE getting on the bus or tram as you cannot buy tickets on board. You must validate all of the bus tickets in the yellow boxes when boarding the first vehicle and tickets will remain valid from 75 minutes from that time. Montly passes should be validated the first day of use and then are valid for the entire month.

The cost ofr a Monthly - Ordinary Personal pass is 35Euro.