Rome transportation guide
The easiest way to get a taxi is to find the nearest taxi stand ( fermata dei taxi) - central ones include Termini, Piazza Venezia, Piazza San Silvestro, Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Barberini. Alternatively, taxis can be radio paged (tel 06.3570, tel 06.4994, tel 06.4157 or tel 06.5551), but remember that you'll pay for the time it takes to get to you. Only take licensed yellow or white cabs, and make sure the meter is switched on; a card in every official taxi explains - in English - the extra charges for luggage, late-night, Sundays and holidays, and airport journeys. To give you a rough idea of how much taxis cost, you can reckon on a journey from one side of the centre to cost around L10,000, if the traffic isn't too bad, though the supplement after 10pm is L5000, L2000 on a Sunday.
Rome has an intercontinental airport named Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport - FCO, but more commonly known as Fiumicino, which also is Italy's chief airport, and the Giovan-Battista Pastine international airport (commonly referred to as Ciampino Airport), a joint civilian and military airport southeast of the city-center, along the Via Appia, which handles mainly charter flights and regional European flights including some low-cost airlines. A third airport, called Aeroporto dell'Urbe, is located in the north of the city along the ancient Via Salaria and handles mainly helicopters and private flights. A fourth airport, called Aeroporto di Centocelle, in the eastern part of Rome between the Via Prenestina and the Via Casilina, has been abandoned for some years now, but is currently being redeveloped as one of the largest public parks in Rome.
A subway system operates in Rome called the "Metropolitana" or Rome Metro which was opened in 1955. There are 2Ã‚Â lines (AÃ‚Â &Ã‚Â B), a third (C) and a new branch of the B-line (B1) are under construction, while a fourth line (D) has been planned. The frequent archaeological findings delay underground work. Today's (2005) total length is 38 km. The two existing lines, A & B, only intersect at one point, Termini Station, the main train station in Rome (which also is the largest train station in Europe, underneath and around which exists now a lively shopping center known as the "Forum Termini" with more than 100 shops of various types). Other stations includes: Tiburtina (second-largest, which is currently being redeveloped and enlarged to become the main high-speed train hub in the city), Ostiense, Trastevere, Tuscolana, S. Pietro, Casilina, Torricola.
Metro maps are posted up in every station, and we've printed one at the end of this book. If you're going to use the system a lot, especially the buses, it may be worth investing in the excellent detailed Lozzi transport map (L8000), available from most newsstands, or getting hold of the official ATAC map - free from tourist information offices, and from the ATAC information office in the centre of Piazza dei Cinquecento - although this can be out-of-date and somewhat unreliable. There is a toll-free enquiries line (Mon-Fri 9am-1pm & 2-5pm; tel 167.431.784) for information on COTRAL services in Rome and Lazio.
Flat-fare tickets cost L1500 each and are good for any number of bus rides and one metro ride within 75 minutes of validating them. Buy them from tobacconists, newsstands and ticket machines located in all metro stations and at major bus stops. You can also get a day pass , valid on all city transport until midnight of the day purchased, for L6000, or a seven-day pass for L24,000. Finally, it's worth knowing that there's a L100,000 spot fine for fare-dodging, and pleading a foreigner's ignorance will get you nowhere. BIRG tickets (regional transport passes) for COTRAL and ATAC services, available from machines in the metro, tabacchi and newsstands, are well worth buying if you are going out of Rome for the day; prices range from L3500 to L15,500, depending on the distance you intend to travel.
The Rome Metro is part of an extensive transport network made of a tramway network, several suburban and urban lines in and around the city of Rome, plus an "express line" to Fiumicino Airport. Whereas most FS-Regionale lines (Regional State Railways) do provide mostly a suburban service with more than 20 stations scattered throughout the city, the Roma-Lido (starting at Ostiense station), the Roma-Pantano (starting nearby Termini) and the Roma-Nord (starting at Flaminio station) lines offer a metro-like service.
Rome also has a comprehensive bus system. The web site (translated in english) of the public transportation company (ATAC) allows a route to be calculated using the buses and subways. Metrebus integrated fare system allows holders of tickets and integrated passes to travel on all companies vehicles, within the validity time of the ticket purchased.
Chronic congestion caused by cars during the 1970s and 1980s led to the banning of unauthorized traffic from the central part of city during workdays from 6.00 a.m to 6 p.m. (this area is officially called Zona a Traffico Limitato, Z.T.L. in short). Heavy traffic due to night-life crowds during week-ends led in recent years to the creation of other Z.T.L.s in the Trastevere and S. Lorenzo districts during the night, and to the experimentation of a new night Z.T.L. also in the city center (plans to create a night Z.T.L. in the Testaccio district as well are underway). In recent years, parking-spaces along the streets in wide areas of the city have been converted to pay-parkings, as new underground parkings spread throughout the city. In spite of all these measures, traffic remains an unsolved problem, as in the rest of the world's cities.
Click on the map for an enlargement.