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The Roma Pass

What is the Roma Pass? Is it worth getting one?

The pass is a tourist package, offered by the Comune di Roma (the city of Rome), to help visitors get a little bit of a bargain, encourage visits to cultural sites in Rome, and provide them with some useful tools during their visit to Rome.

roma pass and what's insideInside: the Pass, the official Rome City Map, a booklet with list of sites included, and a booklet with current events, exhibits and services that may be included.

Roma Pass - what's included

When you purchase the pass, which costs 36 Euros, you get two free visits to the museums and archeological sites on their list, plus unlimited use of buses and the metro (in town.)

In addition, holders of the pass who use it for free entry to the Coliseum do not have to wait in line to get in (although there are other ways to avoid waiting in line at the Coliseum.)

The pass also comes with a great fold-out map of Rome, that encompasses even the outer lying areas and many archeological sites you may wish to visit. The map also includes a metro (subway) map of Rome, a map of the sites along the Appia Antica, and a map of Ostia Antica (one of the sites included in the Roma Pass.)

Finally, included is a nice booklet of any current exhibits or events, or even tourist services, which offer a discount to holders of the pass.

The Vatican Museums are not included in the Roma Pass. Remember, they are not in Rome!

You may be interested in the Omnia Pass, which does include the Vatican Museums.

Rome Pass - Is it worth getting?

The Rome Pass package is good for 3 days from the first date of use. Now you have to decide if you will get the benefits of it during these three days.

Using the Roma Pass for visiting the sites in Rome

A typical visit to Rome is about 3 days. In this time, you can see the major plazas and fountains of Rome, Vatican/Vatican Museums, Ancient Rome (Coliseum and Roman Forum) and maybe the Galleria Borghese museum. Since visiting the Vatican and Vatican museums will take up one day of major sight-seeing, that leaves two days to use the pass for other sites in Rome.

Most people use the pass to get into the Coliseum and the Galleria Borghese. If you pay for them separately, entry to the Coliseum is 12 Euros and entry to the Borghese museum is 9 Euros (although at times, the Borghese museum entrance fee may be higher if there is a special exhibit.) This comes to just over 20 Euros. 

Will you visit at least one other museum or monument in Rome on this list, in the 3 days? They are all discounted with the Roma Pass, so if you have a very intense schedule of museum/monument visiting, then you might get more than your money's worth out of the Roma Pass.

See below for information on the Omnia Pass, which does include entry to the Vatican Museums.

Using the Roma Pass to get around Rome

The pass costs 36 Euros. Remember, you also get, included in the pass, unlimited Metro/bus use.

So, will you use nearly 14 Euros of bus/metro rides? A one-way bus/metro ticket costs 1.50€, so you'd need to take at least 7 rides in 3 days for it to be worthwhile for that purpose. 

If you are staying near Termini station or in Trastevere, or near the Vatican, and need to take the metro to get into the center, or, if you have any walking issues and plan to use public transportation a lot, then maybe you will get this use out of it.

If you do not want to purchase the Rome Pass, but do want to use the Rome city bus and metro system extensively, consider purchasing a day pass for 7€, a 2-day pass for 12.50€, a 3-day pass for 18€ or a week-long pass for 24€.

You may purchase these at almost any tobacco shop or news stand.

What museums and archeological sites are included?

Most people tend to use the pass to visit the Colosseum and the Galleria Borghese. Perhaps you have already seen these, or don't want to see them.

There are a lot of museums and sites covered by the Roma Pass, but to give you an idea of the most popular sites, here is a very short list:

  • Capitoline Museums - an excellent museum, on Capitoline Hill, just above the Roman Forum, and very much worth a visit if you like the ancient stuff.
  • The Rome National Museums - which include, among other things, such popular museums as the Palazzo Altemps (wonderful palazzo near piazza Navona filled with ancient Greek and Roman sculptures); and the Palazzo Massimo (near Termini train station, a museum with fabulous examples of ancient mosaics and relics)
  • The Ara Pacis - a gorgeous building of a museum, not far from the Spanish Steps, housing the Altar to Peace, an ancient Roman relic that deserved its own space. There are other finds in this museum as well, but the two best things are the Altar, and the stunning building itself.
  • Palazzo Valentini - one of the most popular archeological sites in Rome lately, these excavations led to finds underneath a noble palazzo.
  • The ruins at Ostia Antica - a 30-minute train ride from Rome, Ostia Antica is a very under-visited, superbly preserved ancient port city. Think Pompeii without the lava or ash.

This is not a complete list, but it does include what I know are among the most visited, most popular sites.

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Roma pass official website

Click here to visit the official web site of the Roma Pass, and find out more information about what is included and where to purchase one.

Where to purchase the Roma Pass

You can purchase the pass at all the sites and museums that participate in it. You can also purchase it at the various Tourist information points around Rome. 

There are Rome Tourist Information Points at both Fiumicino and Ciampino airports (in the international arrivals area), and also at Termini station. For a full listing of all the Tourist Information Points, and also where else you can buy the pass, see the official web site, above.

Should you purchase the Roma Pass at the airport when you land?

If you decide you want one of these passes, one option can be to purchase it once you land. However, at Fiumicino airport, there can be long lines to buy the pass. And after a long flight, and fighting crowds, and waiting for luggage, wouldn't it be nicer to just get to your hotel and settle in? Then you can go out and buy the Roma Pass in town if you want it.

Although the pass is good for use on Rome's buses and the Metro, the train taking you into the center from Fiumicino airport, The Leonardo Express, is not covered by the Roma Pass, so it's not necessary to buy the pass until you are in town.

As for Ciampino, most people tend to take a taxi, or one of the inexpensive buses, SIT or Terravision, to get into Rome center, and the pass does not include these as free transportation (it does sometimes offer small discounts on these buses.) 

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Bottom line

The Roma Pass is worth getting if:

  • You will visit more than 2 of the museums or monuments on the list in a 3-day period.
  • You will use the bus/metro system more than 7 times in 3 days.

It might not be worth getting if:

  • You do not plan to visit more than 2 of the museums or monuments on the list in a 3-day period.
  • You are staying in the center and/or otherwise do not plan or need to use public transportation much during your stay.

I am not sure these passes are that much of a bargain. They don't save you a lot of money and as for time-saving, there are other ways to avoid the lines at the Coliseum and the Vatican Museums.

It does come in a nice package, the map is great, and it can be convenient just for avoiding the queue at the Coliseum alone. But money-wise, unless you are planning a pretty intense, whirlwind visit to Rome's museums and monuments in a 2-3 day period, it is probably not a good deal.

If you have more than 3 days in Rome, and/or otherwise can manage to see more than 2 of the things on their list, in the 3 days, then it's definitely worth getting a the pass, as it will not only encourage you to see more, but also save you some money.

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Roma 48 Hours Pass

The Roma 48 Hours pass is like the Roma Pass but costs 28 Euros, and includes only one site or museum for free. Unlimited use of the city's bus and metro system is also included, as with the standard pass.

It might be useful if you only have two days, and/or if you won't include the Borghese Museum.

The same principles apply, however, and I am not sure it is a big money saver.

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The Omnia Pass

The Omnia Pass is also offered by the city of Rome, and is another tourist package offering a slight savings and convenience to the visitor. The Omnia Pass costs 95 Euros, and offers entry to

  • The Vatican Museums (visiting St. Peters basilica is free in any case)
  • Access to the Roma Cristiana open bus (a panoramic bus that goes around Rome)
  • And the same offers as in the Roma Pass above.

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Is it worth getting the Omnia Pass?

I am not sure it's really worth getting this pass either. At 95 Euros, it's 59 Euros more than the Roma Pass. Entry to the Vatican museums is under 20 Euros. This means you need to get at least another 39 Euros of services to break even. Many audio guides are included in this package, but in my opinion, they are not the best type of guide for these sites.

Also, in order to benefit from the pre-sale of tickets to the Vatican Museums, you are obliged to go to their offices and go with their guides at specified times.

Will you have time to ride the Roma Cristiana bus in your 3-day visit? If so, that may be another benefit.

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Omnia Pass official website

Click here to visit the official web site of the Omnia Pass, and find out what is included and where to purchase one.

Important things to know if you buy the Roma Pass or Omnia Pass

A few final caveats:

  1. Borghese Gallery reservations - The passes give free entry to the Borghese museums, but do not provide you with a reservation, an absolute must, especially during high season. To make a reservation at the Gallery Borghese, you can go online or call them. There is a 2 Euro fee to reserve.
  2. Lines at the Coliseum and Vatican - expect some waiting, even with the pass. No passes that guarantee you skip the line (at the Vatican Museums or the Coliseum) mean there is absolutely no waiting at all. There is always one ticket line for people waiting to buy tickets, and another line for people who already have them (pre-paid/booked, or with these passes). You may find that during peak season, there is still a line of ticket holders and it can be long.
  3. Many museums are closed Mondays, and also December 25, January 1 and May 1. So if your visit includes one of these days, consider this a limiting factor as well. (If you are getting the Omnia Pass, note that the Vatican Museums are closed on Sundays, December 25, January 1, May 1 and other Catholic holidays. See the Vatican Museums website for further details about closing days.)

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