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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.

The Roma Pass - Everything you need to know

This page offers a comprehensive review of all the questions I've answered over the years about the Roma Pass, such as:

  • What is the Roma Pass and what's included?
  • Is the Roma Pass worth getting?
  • What sites and museums can you visit free, and skip the line with the Pass?
  • Can you use the Roma Pass for special night visits to the Colosseum and Roman Forum?
  • Where can you purchase the Roma Pass? Can you purchase it online?
  • Should you get your Roma Pass at the airport when you land?
  • Is the Vatican included in the Roma Pass? What passes do include the Vatican?

Roma Pass - what's InCLUDED

When you purchase the pass, which costs 38.50€, you get two free visits to the museums and archeological sites on their list, plus unlimited use of buses and the metro (in town.)

Holders of the pass who use it for free entry to the Colosseum 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, you also get a 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.

You may be interested in the Omnia Pass or Rome City Pass, both of which include the Vatican Museums.

Rome Pass - Is it worth getting?

The Roma 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 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 15 Euros (although at times, the Borghese museum entrance fee may be higher if there is a special exhibit.) This comes to 27 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 your money's worth out of the Roma Pass.

Using the Pass to get around Rome

The pass costs 38.50€. 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 just 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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What's NOT Included with the Roma Pass

Not included with the Roma Pass are:

  • The Vatican Museums (see below for options)
  • The Domus Aurea
  • The Colosseum and Roman Forum at night
  • Viaggio nei Fori (light shows along the Fori Imperiali showcasing the Forums of Augustus and Caesar, from March - November.)

Where to purchase the Roma Pass

  • You can purchase your pass right here on Romewise! Click here to visit TicketBar and purchase your pass online.
  • 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, a full listing of all the museums and sites included, and, if you like, to purchase the pass online, see the official web site for the Roma Pass.

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.

You can if you like, but there is no need. 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.

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? I'd recommend either prepurchasing the pass online, or buying it in town once you are ready to get started sight-seeing.

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.

But the big kicker is the fact that it does give you a kind of "VIP access", skipping the lines just about everywhere, but especially where you need it most: The Colosseum, Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica.

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 big savings.

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.

I think the main reason people find the pass useful is to skip the line at the Colosseum, which can definitely be a plus! Click here to buy the Roma Pass 48 hr.

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 113 Euros, and offers entry to

  • The Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel (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?

Here's why the Omnia Pass can be worth it - you get to skip the lines for everything including the Vatican Museums and Saint Peter's Basilica.

There are other ways to skip those lines but having this freedom is a pretty nice thing. It means you can decide to visit St. Peter's Basilica before you visit the museums (because otherwise the lines for the basilica are really long and the easiest way to bypass them is via the Vatican Museums.)

Cost-wise it may not add up as a great savings. At 113€, it's 74.50€ Euros more than the Roma Pass. Tickets to the Vatican museums cost 20 Euros (if you pre-purchase online.) This means you need to get at least another 54.50€ of services to break even. Some audio guides are included in this package, but in my opinion, they are not the best type of guide for the Vatican Museums.

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

Click here to purchase the Omnia Pass and receive your tickets via email!

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Omnia Pass official website

Click here to visit the official web site of the Omnia Pass. You can see all the sites included and find out more details about the pass and how it works.

Important things to know if you buy the Roma 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 NO fee to reserve when booking with the Roma Pass.
  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). There is also security to get through, for everyone. You may find that during peak season, there is still a line of ticket holders. It will be shorter than the other line but it might be there. 
  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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Another Type of Rome City Pass

As it turns out, there is another kind of Rome City pass, called just that. I will be looking into it and to how it compares to the Roma Pass. In the meantime, it does seem interesting as you get a pass that includes the Vatican AND Colosseum. I have not tried the pass yet, or seen much information around the sites yet but here is the website of the Rome City Pass if you want to check it out.

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