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.
This page offers a comprehensive review of all the questions I've answered over the years about the Roma Pass, such as:
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 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.
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 (Colosseum 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 free entry to 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.
In my experience, people seem to want the Roma Pass more than anything else to be able to skip the line. When it's high season in Rome, the lines to get in to the two most popular attractions, the Colosseum and the Vatican, can be long. More than an hour's wait sometimes. No fun, especially in the summer heat!
Most of the other popular sites in Rome do not have the same kind of queue, and even if there is one, it usually moves pretty quickly. But in any case, with the Roma Pass, you simply skip the line. Sometimes in summer, there is a wait to get into Castel Sant'Angelo, for example, and with the Roma Pass, you skip the line.
Just remember the Roma Pass does not include the Vatican (but the Omnia Pass does, and you get to skip the line at the Vatican with that.) Also, there are other ways to skip the lines. But the Roma Pass makes it easy.
The pass costs 38.50€. Remember, you also get, included in the pass, unlimited Metro/bus use.
So, will you use nearly 11 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.
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:
This is not a complete list, but it does include what I know are among the most visited, most popular sites.
Not included with the Roma Pass are:
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 it's not that useful. 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 having the pass at the airport doesn't save you any money yet.
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 pre-purchasing 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.)
Is it worth getting the Roma Pass?
There are two ways to look at this: the first is convenience and ease of use. The second is purely economical:
The biggest convenience of the pass is the "VIP Skip the Line" aspect. It's nice to know you can just show up and go right to the front of the line. This is most important at the Colosseum, where lines can be long, particularly in high season.
Other advantages include the comprehensive map that's included, and the little booklet with some savings on current exhibits and events. And there is also the peace of mind of knowing you can jump on the bus or metro any time. I live in and walk around Rome alot, but even in the center, I sometimes just feel like hopping on the bus if I'm tired and/or hot.
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. Economically speaking...
The pass is worth getting if:
It might not be worth getting if:
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.
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 as with the 72-hour pass. The skip-the-line aspect is great, but I am not sure it is a big money saver.
The Omnia Pass, also offered by the city of Rome, is another tourist package offering a slight savings and big convenience to the visitor. The Omnia Pass costs 113 Euros, and offers entry to
Here's the big reason 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!
Money-wise, I am not sure these passes are that much of a bargain. They don't save you a lot of money unless you make a plan to really get the most out of them and take advantage of discounts to more than just the first free sites.
But the big kicker is the fact that they DO 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.
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.
A few final caveats:
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.