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 52€, 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.)
It does NOT include access to the hop-on hop-off buses.
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.
(If you do not want to or cannot get a reservation at the Galleria Borghese, I suggest visiting the Capitoline Museums as your second site.)
If you pay for them separately, entry to the Colosseum is 16 Euros and entry to the Galleria Borghese is 15 Euros. This comes to 31 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.
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.
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. And lately I have seen lines to get into Castel Sant'Angelo. With the Roma 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.
The pass costs 52€.
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 10 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:
Capitoline Museums (my top choice!) - 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.
This is not a complete list, but it does include what I know are among the most visited, most popular sites.
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.
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.
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:
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 entries every hour for two-hour time slots beginning at 9am, and usually finishing at 7pm (although some nights, they are open later.)
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.
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 counts as one use/entry with your Roma Pass.
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 24-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 on the same day as the Colosseum entry time. In other words, you have one full day 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.
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.
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.)
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 a lot, but even in the center, I sometimes just feel like hopping on the bus if I'm tired and/or hot.
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 32 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 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.
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 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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