A quick look online will show you that there are a lot of ticket options to choose from when you are planning your Rome vacation and some important choices to make.
To help you decide which tickets are the right for you, we’ve put together a guide to everything you need to know, from getting to Rome to the most popular excursions and choosing the Colosseum tickets that are right for you.
Tourist passes can be a great way to save you time and money when you are on holiday. Some will allow you to book everything in one go, others are a little more complicated.
Let’s take a look at 3 of the most popular passes available in Rome and what they can offer you.
1. Roma Pass
- 1 or 2 free entrances of your choice, including the Colosseum
- Free access to buses, trams, and metro lines (excluding airport transfers)
- Discounts to museums, events, sightseeing buses, guided tours, bike rentals, and more
- Free access to the P-Stops (public toilets)
- Can be purchased online or in Rome
How Does It Work?
You can buy your Roma Pass online or in person once you arrive. This is a physical card, and even if you pay online, you’ll need to pick up your pass from one of the many collection points around the city.
You can choose a 48-hour pass or a 72-hour pass. The pass includes 1 (48hr pass) or 2 (72hr pass) free entrances. Some of the sites you can visit, like the Colosseum or Galleria Borghese, require you to go to their website and book a timeslot for a small booking fee. No museums are guaranteed to be available when you buy the pass, and options don’t include the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, or Colosseum underground.
The main advantage of the card is that it is also a travel pass, and you won’t need to worry about buying Rome tickets for every trip.
Other benefits are free access to the city’s public toilets (known as P-Stops) located in some of the most popular areas and monuments and discounts for many exhibitions, events, and services around the city, such as luggage storage, bike rental, Hop-on Hop-off buses, urban adventures, and guided tours.
Where Can I Get The Roma Pass?
Is This Card For Me?
The Roma Pass is a good option if you are planning on visiting Rome by public transport.
2. Omnia card
The Omnia card is great if you want to focus on Rome’s religious history.
- Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
- Carcer Tullianum
- Catacombs of St. Callixtus
- St. John Lateran
- Hop-on, Hop-off Rome & Vatican buses
How does it work?
The 24hr card gives you skip-the-line access to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, as well as St. John Lateran (Rome’s cathedral), the Carcer Tullianum prison where St. Peter was held, the catacombs of St. Callixtus and the Hop-on, Hop-off Open Bus.
The 72hrs card doesn’t include the catacombs, but it is combined with the Roma Pass (adults only) and gives you access to the city’s transport network, free entrance to 2 other sites of your choice, and numerous discounts.
Where Can I Get the Omnia card?
Buy your ticket online and book the times you want for each visit. You can also add discounted tours of the Vatican Museums and St. John Lateran.
Pick your card up at one of the official collection points in St. Peter’s Square or outside St. John Lateran.
Is This The Card For Me?
The 2 Omnia cards are quite different, and you should check carefully which will suit you best as they are non-refundable.
The 24h card will let you spend a day (or 2 half days) visiting the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, seeing some of Rome’s many beautiful churches by bus, and taking a tour of one of the catacombs (not on the bus line). While the 72hr card is a great option if you want a wider choice of Rome and Vatican sites, and it gives you free access to the transport network.
3. Rome Tourist Card (TicketBar Pass)
Rome tourist card is a 100% digital option to visit Rome’s most visited sites.
- Colosseum, Palatine, and Forum with multimedia experience
- Vatican and Sistine Chapel with an audio guide
- St. Peter’s Basilica guided tour
- Access to St. Peter’s dome
- City audio guide
- 1-day Hop-on, Hop-off sightseeing bus
- 1 airport transfer
- 20% discount on museums, cruises, excursions, public transport, and bike tours
- No time limit
How Does It Work?
You can buy the pass online. Before paying, you’ll need to pick the dates and times for your visits to the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s. The earlier you do this, the better, as numbers are limited, and slots sell out.
Where Can I Buy the Tourist Card?
A great advantage of this pass is that you won’t need to pick up a card when you arrive in Rome. Buy the card online and receive everything you need by email. No printing is required.
Is This The Card For Me?
If you only have a short time in Rome and aren’t interested in guided tours, the Rome Tourist Card can be a one-stop booking solution that lets you see the highlights of the city ticket-free.
Popular Rome Attractions
Dream of going underground at the Colosseum or visiting the Vatican Museums after hours?
If you are looking for more than the basic entrance tickets included in the tourist passes, there are plenty of exclusive experiences and offers available when you book your tickets directly or through a tour operator.
Here are some of the best ones to know about before you book your tickets for Rome.
The Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel
The Vatican Museums has an amazing selection of tickets which you can buy through their website. These include:
- guided tours
- special access outside the regular opening hours
- entrance combined with breakfast, lunch, or aperitif
- entrance to off-limit areas of the Vatican Museums
- tours of the Vatican Gardens
- combined visits to the Pope’s summer villa at Castel Gandolfo from the Vatican train station
In the summer months, book your tickets as early as possible, especially for early or after-hours tours, which sell out quickly. Regular entrance tickets are available 2 months in advance, and if you can’t book online, it’s still possible to wait in line and buy a ticket on the day.
The Colosseum is one of 3 sites in the archaeological park Parco del Colosseo, along with the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. You can choose to visit all the sites or just the Colosseum.
The basic entrance ticket is perfect for seeing the 3 sites, but for those who want to see all the areas which are open to the public, the Full Experience with Colosseum Underground is the best option. This will give you access to the Colosseum, including the arena and underground areas, the Forum, the Palatine, and the S.U.P.E.R sites.
And remember, waiting in line to buy tickets at the Colosseum is no longer an option. All Colosseum tickets are for a fixed time and must be purchased online in advance on the Coopculture website.
Art lovers won’t want to miss Rome’s most elegant art gallery and its wonderful collection of works by Bernini, Canova, and Caravaggio. But Galleria Borghese is the hardest museum in Rome to get tickets for. Only 180 tickets are available each hour, and you have to buy them online on the TicketOne website.
Advanced booking for Museums Capitolini will let you walk straight in here through the priority entrance. There are no timed entrances here, so you can even buy your ticket online when you arrive if there’s a line at the ticket office, though you will have to register with the vivaticket website.
Hop-On, Hop-Off Buses
There are several sightseeing bus companies in Rome to choose from:
- Big Bus Tours
- I love Rome City Tour
- City Sightseeing
- Greenline Tours (3 routes)
- Vatican & Rome
They all follow a similar route, starting at Termini Station and ending at the Vatican. First-time visitors find this a great way to see a lot of the city quickly. The bus will take you close to some of the most popular sights in Rome, including the Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and the Vatican.
Greenline also has 2 additional routes, one going to the world’s largest Eataly store near Ostiense Station (a must for foodies) and the other visiting the museums of the north of Rome.
The Vatican & Rome ticket (or Omnia card) allows you to use their yellow buses, as well as the Big Bus Tours and City Sightseeing buses.
As well as the companies’ websites, you can also get these tickets from online tour operators and at many places around the city. They are available at tourist information points, P-Stops, newsstands, and the staff at the official bus stops.
These buses can be great if you don’t want to walk too much, but Rome has a lot of traffic, and some visitors find the slow progress of these buses very frustrating. There’s no need to buy these tickets in advance as they are always available, so wait until you get to Rome and decide if they are for you.
With a 2000-year timeline full of hundreds of popes and emperors to get your head around, choosing a guided tour can be a great way to make sense of everything.
There are loads of tours to choose from in Rome, from walking tours of the city center to guided visits to the Vatican & Sistine Chapel, to trips out of town. Once you’ve decided what you’d like to do, book your tour online or through a tour operator.
Walking tours are the most common tours in the city center. You’ll find an amazing selection of tours online for all the major museums and sites and with dedicated itineraries for Rome’s art, history, culture, and food.
But first, you’ll need to decide what type of tour you are interested in:
Planning to take a lot of tours? The group tours will help keep costs down. Once you book the tour, you’ll be given the meeting point where you’ll find your guide, usually holding a sign with the name of the tour company. These kinds of tours always use a radio system so you can hear everything the guide is saying no matter how big the group is.
Small Group Tours
If you like the idea of being with other tourists, but would rather not be in a large group, then a small group tour could be right for you. With fewer than 10 people in a group, these kinds of tours offer lower prices than private tours but a more personal experience than regular group tours, as you can ask questions and interact with the guide.
Hiring a private guide will give you maximum flexibility. Many licensed guides have their own websites where you can contact them directly, or you can find recommendations from happy travelers on TripAdvisor. Private guides will arrange tickets and transportation for you if you want and can tailor the tour to your group and interests.
When you are ready to give your feet a rest, there are other ways to experience the beauty of the Eternal City.
River Boat Cruise
While Rome’s streets are full of traffic, her river is usually empty except for the River Boat Cruise. You can get a 2-day pass and use the 4 stops at Isola Tiberina, Ponte Sisto, Castel Sant’Angelo, and Piazza del Popolo to explore different parts of the city or take a single trip and enjoy the multilingual commentary about the monuments and neighborhoods you are passing.
Golf Cart Tours
This eco-friendly tour option of golf cart tours is the ideal way to navigate some of Rome’s Medieval streets, which aren’t always accessible by cars. If you’re traveling with young children who have had enough of walking, kids love riding on these open buggies and watching the monuments as they pass.
A day trip is a great way to escape the crowds of Rome and see some more of Italy. Here are 5 of the best and easiest excursions from Rome.
The ancient Roman port is today a fascinating archaeological park just 30 minutes outside Rome. You can enjoy a relaxing stroll around the ruins or join a tour for a more in-depth look, while younger visitors will enjoy running along the ancient roads and climbing the Greek theater.
Less than 1 hour from Rome, the town of Tivoli is home to 2 UNESCO sites: Villa d’Este, a 16th century villa famed for its water gardens, and Villa Adriana, the country retreat of the emperor Hadrian. Villa Adriana is outside the town, so the easiest way to see both villas is to hire a car or take a tour from Rome.
- Castelli Romani
The hills to the south of Rome are scattered with picturesque towns famed for their beautiful villas and their wine. One of the easiest to visit is Castel Gandolfo, home to the Pope’s summer palace and a 40-minute train ride from Termini. You can visit the palace and (in summer) its gardens before finding somewhere to have lunch overlooking Lake Albano.
- Naples and Pompeii
A high-speed train from Termini will get you to Naples in just over an hour. You can then spend the day exploring this stunning city, visiting the underground ruins, castles, palaces, and churches, not to mention tasting the original pizza. It’s also possible to visit the spectacular ruins of Pompeii, which are just 30 minutes south of Naples.
Italy’s Renaissance jewel is small enough that you can see a lot of it in just one day. Do you dream of visiting Uffizi and Michelangelo’s David? Or will you spend your day wandering the old streets, crossing the Ponte Vecchio, and drinking in the beauty of the city before returning to Rome? A high-speed train from Termini will get you to the heart of Tuscany in just 1.5hrs.
Although Rome’s metro is easy to understand – there are only 2 lines – there are hundreds of buses connecting every corner of the city.
There’s just one type of ticket that you can use on metros, buses, and trams. You can either buy single tickets for each journey (a ticket is valid for 100 minutes, including 1 metro trip) or get a travel pass for several days.
Both types of tickets can be bought from the machines at metro stations, as well as from tobacconists, newsagents. If you choose to get a Roma Pass, this can be used as a pass for the transport network.
Taking public transport abroad can be daunting, and unless you are staying in the heart of the city and plan to walk everywhere, I’d definitely recommend getting a travel pass to make life easier.
Don’t waste time trying to hail a cab in Rome, they almost never stop.
Either call a taxi from your hotel or go to the nearest taxi rank (look for the orange ‘Taxi’ sign or a line of taxis). There are lots of these around the city, for example, outside Termini, on the corner of Piazza Venezia/Via dei Fori Imperiali, Piazza del Popolo/Via di Babuino, and in Piazza di Spagna.
Far more convenient is to use an app to call a taxi to come to you. An app can also come in handy if you want to pay by credit card and the driver claims the machine isn’t working (which happens a lot).
There are fixed rates between the airports and addresses inside the Aurelian Walls. For locations outside the ancient walls that circle the historic center of Rome, the driver will set the meter.
It’s generally easy to find taxis to/from the airports unless there is a public holiday or transport strike.
Flying to Rome
All international flights come into Fiumicino. Flights from around Europe and the UK use both airports, with Ciampino favored by low-cost carriers.
Traveling Between Fiumicino and Rome
Getting to/from Fiumicino by taxi will cost you a fixed price if the other end of your journey is inside the Aurelian Walls. For destinations outside the walls, the driver will set the meter.
There are 3 private bus companies operating buses between Termini and Fiumicino (Terminal 3). You can buy tickets online, or at the bus stop.
Buses leave from Via Giovanni Giolitti, at the back of Termini close to the Mercato Centrale
Buses leave from Via Giovanni Giolitti and stop at Stazione Ostiense (outside Eataly).
Buses leave from Via Marsala with additional stops at Aurelia and Vatican
There are 2 trains to/from Fiumicino:
- The Leonardo Express is a direct connection between Termini Station and Fiumicino. It takes 32 minutes.
- There is another train that leaves from Fiumicino airport and goes out of Rome to the town of Orte. Along the way, it passes Roma Tiburtina, Roma Tuscolana, Roma Ostiense, and Roma Trastevere. It does not stop at Termini. A one-way ticket on this train is more convenient if you are staying in or around Trastevere.
Traveling Between Ciampino and Rome
For Ciampino, there is a fixed rate inside the ancient walls.
Buses stop close to the entrance of the airport and depart Termini from Via Giovanni Giolitti (Terravision) and Via Marsala (S.I.T.)
You can take a train between Termini Station and Ciampino town. For the airport, you need to take an additional bus to get from the railway station to the airport.
The easiest way to do this is to buy a combined ticket for the 2 services from the Trenitalia website by selecting the destination Ciampino Airport. The trip takes 30-45 minutes, depending on the connections.