Getting around Rome isn’t very complicated, so there’s no need to stress. There are just a few basic things you should know that’ll make your life easier in terms of getting around Rome.
1. Rome is best seen on foot or on bike. There are a lot of amazing things packed into a very walkable area within the historic center, so you won’t have to rely on public transportation too much. Piazza del Popolo, to the Spanish Steps, to the Trevi Fountain, to the Pantheon won’t take you longer than 45 minutes (that is, if you’re not stopping to enjoy the sites and everything in between, like the magnificent churches, piazzas, gelato shops, cafe’s, and to grab yourself a few panini).
2. If you get tired, you can always hop on a bus, tram, or metro. There are 3 Metro lines running through the city that go pretty much everywhere you’d want to go. One thing to note is to always make sure you have your ticket on you when on public transportation, and make sure you validate it using the machines on the buses and trams, otherwise, you can get a €50 or more fine. I’ve seen it happen to friends before, so it’s something take seriously. The monthly pass is relatively cheap too and allows you to use all three forms of service.
There are no timetables on the most of the bus stops, but you can download a free app, Muoversi a Roma, to check the expected bus times as well as news on the dreaded scioperi (transport strikes), which always make things interesting. At times, all transportation services are suspended because of them, and other times only a few bus or tram lines are. But remember, you’re in Rome, and Romans have a weird thing about time-it’s like it doesn’t even exist. You’ll find Romans are very rarely in a hurry, and they very rarely get stressed if something is running late. So, when in Rome, keep calm, and do as the Romans do.
The city’s transportation service’s website, in English, can be found here. You can use this site to plan routes, look at maps, and figure out whether you should use a bus, tram, or metro to get where you want to go. It definitely makes getting around Rome seem like a piece of cake.
3. Beware of pickpockets. Yes, heed all warnings regarding pickpockets. When I was living there, I experienced such an attempt on myself several times. While you’re getting around Rome, make sure you’re aware of your surroundings. Standing on a packed tram or metro can be the perfect place for a pickpocket to make an attempt. You won’t be able to tell if someone is a pickpocket either, so just be aware. I’ve had locals stop guys going through my backpack on crowded trams, so you will have help. If that happens, be sure to thank whoever stopped him, and curse him as the vilest creature on earth (standard practice in such an event).
Another good rule is to only carry what you need when you leave your hotel, hostel, or other residence. To be honest, when you’re in Rome, there’s not much you won’t be able to get, so consider packing lightly. Wandering around Rome with nothing but the clothes on your back and a few Euros in your pocket gives you a great sense of freedom. If you’re new, bring a map too.
4. If you’re staying longer, rent or buy a scooter. This is where you’ll get to really live that old saying about “doing as the Romans do.” Whipping down the Lungotevere on a Vespa can be one of the most invigorating and inspiring feelings you can ever have.
So, wherever you’re staying and no matter how long you’re there, take note of these four suggestions, and getting around Rome will be a thoroughly enjoyable experience.