Getting Around in Rome
Expats will find it easy to get around Rome, thanks to its comprehensive and efficient public transport networks. The metro system is extensive and runs frequently, with suburban train routes that stretch into its outskirts. There are also buses that run to areas not connected by train.
The city runs on an integrated transport system, so tickets are valid on city buses, trams, the metro, and some trains.
Public transport in Rome
The Roman metro may not always be punctual, but it is very well-organised. Trains depart regularly and many stops are cleverly named after the monument that they’re closest to. However, it’s worthwhile noting that the metro goes around rather than through the historic centre. At the end of each line, there are connecting suburban trains.
The suburban train line, run by Trenitalia, connects the outskirts of Rome with the metro and the rest of Italy. Expats should be aware of beggars, pickpockets and street performers on the trains and at stations. Timetables and maps can be viewed on the Trenitalia website.
Rome’s tram system is of limited use – although trams can squeeze into some of the city’s smaller roads with ease, the routes followed are limited and don’t link up with the metro.
Buses are the least common form of public transport in Rome. The metro has made them redundant in places and between the traffic and the tiny streets, buses can be a very slow way to get around. However, the routes offered are extensive and lists of routes and timetables are available online. Expats can buy single, weekly, monthly and yearly tickets that cover all of Rome.
Taxis in Rome
With an extensive public transport network, taxis are usually a last resort in Rome. They’re expensive and drivers have a bad reputation for overcharging for their services. If expats do catch one, they should always look for the official metered white or yellow cabs and insist that the meter be used, or at least negotiate a flat fare before getting into the car.
Alternatively, rideshare app services such as Uber, Lyft and MyTaxi operate in Rome. Many expats prefer using rideshare apps as they minimise language barrier issues and allow expats to view routes and fares, which prevents drivers from overcharging for fares.
Driving in Rome
Italian cities, as a whole, are not car-friendly places and Rome is no exception. It was built before cars and attempts to rectify this have created a confused mess of one-way streets, impossibly tight alleys and deathly roundabouts. Parking is also limited and expensive.
Expats in the city are advised to walk or catch public transport. If they want to explore Italy or go further abroad, renting a car is an option, and plenty of car rental offices offer good cars at affordable prices.
Cycling and Vespas in Rome
Bicycle paths in Rome are few and far between. More often than not expats will have to ride on the road, which can be extremely dangerous. Despite a prevalence of Vespas and motorcycles, driving by scooter can be dangerous considering Rome's aggressive driving culture.
Walking in Rome
Whether walking around Rome is a feasible mode of transport really depends on one’s fitness levels. Most people go on foot in the central district, but sights like the Vatican and the Colosseum are further out. Unless expats live in the centre of Rome, they’ll need to rely on public transport to get at least part of the way. Once there, the footpaths are wide and clean and there are always people about, day or night. The only thing expats need to be careful about is crossing the road. They should never jaywalk or use the designated crossing without stopping and looking as Italian driving culture often asserts that drivers, and not pedestrians, have the right of way.