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The Roma Pass
Should You Get It?

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:

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.)

skip line at the colosseumUse the Roma Pass to skip the super long lines like this at the Colosseum!

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 other Rome Combo Pass, 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

IMPORTANT NOTE!!!

Starting from June 15th 2019, the use of the Roma Pass for the Galleria Borghese is temporarily suspended!

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, Palatine Hill, 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 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.

The perfect 3-day itinerary in Rome

Trying to figure out how to organize your visit to Rome? I've got the perfect 3-day itinerary for first-time visitors (or those who have not been here in a while.) It works for a 2.5 day visit as well.

In my 3-day itinerary, you'll see all the major must-see Rome attractions like the Vatican, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, and much more.

And if you have more time, or want suggestions for extra/other things to do, you'll find that there too.

Visit my page with the best 3-day itinerary in Rome for first-timers.

Using the Pass to Skip the LinE

In my experience, people seem to want the Roma Pass more than anything else to be able to skip the line, especially at the Colosseum.

At the Colosseum, there is a separate lane for Roma Pass holders. And that lane has either no line or a much shorter line than the ones for people who show up to buy tickets.

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 pass, you skip the line.

Just remember the 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.

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 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.

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.


Castel Sant'Angelo - once Hadrian's mausoleum, later a hiding out place for popes trying to flee when Rome kept getting sacked...a giant fortress with a moat; a prison and execution site, this monument is packed with history, beautiful art, and one of the best views of Rome. Bonus - enjoy a coffee or aperitivo at the rooftop cafe with views of St. Peter's Dome!


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, these excavations led to finds underneath a noble palazzo.  This is one of the few Rome underground sites you can visit with the Roma Pass.


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.

Do you still need a reservation to the Colosseum if you have a Roma Pass?

Yes.

This is a new rule, as of March 2019. Even holders of the Roma Pass (or any other type of Rome City Pass) have to reserve a date and time at the Colosseum.

You can no longer just show up without a timed entry ticket.

This is to manage the crowds and the flow, like at the Vatican Museums.

However, unlike at the Vatican Museums, there is a limit to how many people can be inside the Colosseum at once (3,000 people is maximum capacity), and, there is therefore a limit to how many tickets will be available each day. 

So if you do not book your ticket in advance, and just show up at the Colosseum, you risk not being able to get in at the time you want, or possibly not even getting in at all if they run out of tickets.

Visit my page about Colosseum tickets for details.

How to book the Colosseum with the Roma Pass

When you purchase the Roma Pass in advance (online), you have an option in that moment to select the Colosseum as your free site (if you pick the 48-hour pass), or as one of your two free sites (if you pick the 72-hour pass).

At that time, you will be able to book the time and date you want.

If you decide to buy your Colosseum ticket and Roma Pass together, you can do this directly on the CoopCulture website

What happens if you have a Roma pass and cannot get a booking at the Colosseum?

Now I am starting to get this question a lot.

Since they started requiring timed reservations for entry to the Colosseum, many people who have bought the Roma Pass without booking the Colosseum at the same moment are finding themselves without any available dates/times to use the Roma Pass for entry to the Colosseum.

So here are your options:

  1. Call CoopCulture. They may be able to find some tickets available for your dates. I have instructions for doing this on my page here.
  2. Try going to the Colosseum box office first thing in the morning. They may still have tickets available for the same day. (There is of course no guarantee of this, but I'm finding they seem to have some tickets available each day for same day sale.)
  3. Keep checking back on CoopCulture. Sometimes tickets become available due to cancellations (of tour agencies), or for other reasons. But you will have to be vigilant. And of course there is no guarantee you will find tickets in time.
  4. Book a tour by calling a tour agency, and let them know you have a Roma Pass. You will then only have to pay the cost of the tour without paying for entry. Do not book online as you will pay the full price.
  5. Buy a ticket to the Colosseum via a ticketing agency or by booking a tour, and use the Roma Pass to get in free to another site.

DO YOU STILL NEED to reserve the Galleria Borghese IF YOU HAVE A ROMA PASS?

Yes.

The Galleria Borghese is a very popular Rome attraction, but they have a limited number of tickets to sell each day.

Only 360 people are allowed in at once, and there are two-hour time slots beginning at 9am, and usually finishing at 7pm (although some nights, they are open later.)

The Galleria Borghese is one of my favorite things to do in Rome, and it's one of the most popular things to choose to visit for free when you buy the Roma Pass. But you still need to reserve.

In very low season, you might be able to just walk up and go in at say 3pm. But you are better off, any time of year, simply booking ahead.

For holders of the Roma Pass, this booking is free. You can do it online, or by calling. Visit my page about the Galleria Borghese for details.

How to Use Your Roma Pass to visit the Palatine Hill/Roman Forum

If you decide to use your Roma Pass for free entry to the Colosseum, you will automatically also get free entry to the Palatine Hill/Roman Forum (these are considered one park.)

This is a view of the Roman Forum from high up on the Palatine Hill. Both are included with your Colosseum ticket, so your Roma Pass gets you in here, too.

No matter how you book the Colosseum, you will get an entry ticket that looks like this:

The ticket gives you timed entry to the Colosseum. It ALSO gives you, within a 48-hour period around that Colosseum entry time, access to the Palatine Hill/Roman Forum.

Entry to the Palatine Hill/Roman Forum is NOT timed, but you must use your Colosseum ticket to enter this park within 1 day on either side of the Colosseum entry time. In other words, you have a total of 2 consecutive days to use the ticket, but the main factor will be what time your Colosseum entry is.

There is NO re-entry to the Colosseum, and no re-entry to the Palatine Hill/Roman Forum.

Expect to spend about 1 hour inside the Colosseum, at at least 2 hours inside the Palatine Hill/Roman Forum.

What's NOT Included with the Roma Pass

Not included with the Roma Pass are:

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 and Tiburtina train stations. 
  • For a full listing of all the Tourist Information Points, a full listing of all the museums and sites included, see the official web site for the Roma Pass. You may also purchase the pass there.

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.

Both Rome airports have a Roma Pass office. You can buy one when you land in Rome.

You can if you like.

Just know that 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.) 

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Bottom line

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:

  • 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.

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 as with the 72-hour pass. The skip-the-line aspect is great, but I am not sure it is a big money saver.

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The Omnia Pass

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

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skip all the lines at the vatican with the omnia passWith the Omnia Pass, you skip to the front of this insanely long line at St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican!

Is it worth getting the Omnia Pass?

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!

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Bottom Line

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.

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. Colosseum reservations -  The passes give skip the line entry to the Colosseum, but do not provide you with a timed reservation, which you will definitely need especially during high season. Visit my page about how to book Colosseum tickets with the Roma Pass. (There is a 2€ fee to reserve whether you have a Roma Pass or not.)
  3. Lines at the Colosseum and Vatican - expect some waiting, even with the pass. No passes that guarantee you skip the line (at the Vatican Museums or the Colosseum) 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. 
  4. 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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Other Types of Rome Combo Passes

As it turns out, there are a few other companies offering Rome combo passes for sight-seeing.

It's confusing as to which one offers what, and which could be worth getting. So I made a page comparing all of them here.


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