The metro runs from 5:30am to 11:30pm Sunday to Thursday, and until 1:30am on Friday and Saturday.
This is prime pickpocket territory. Always hold on tight to your stuff, and keep wallets and money out of reach.
Trains come along about every 3-4 minutes.
During typical rush hours, and very busy tourist seasons, the trains can be very crowded. I always try to go to the very end of the platform to get on the last (or first) car, in hopes of it being less crowded.
Most Metro stations may be accessed from multiple street corners. Look for the big M.
Rome Metro Map - Stations
Below is a map of the subway (underground) system in Rome.
The red line (shown kind of orange here), crosses the blue line at Termini.
The green line is the new line C, which is coming along nicely. Where it's dashed, it means it's still under construction.
Map of Rome's metro system, showing lines A, B, and C. Courtesy of metropolitanadiroma.it.
The most common use of the Rome Metro is to get from Termini station (the main train station in Rome), to the Colosseum (blue line B, 2 stops) or the Vatican (red line A to Ottaviano, 6 stops.)
But if you look at a map of the Metro superimposed on a Rome city map (below), you will notice that there is a huge section of the center of historic Rome where the Rome Metro does not go. Can you guess why?
From Termini, the red line A also takes you to common stops such as:
San Giovanni to the southeast (where you can visit another of Rome's four major basilicas, San Giovanni in Laterano, or Saint John in Latern. Also a popular inexpensive neighbourhood to stay while in Rome).
Barberini to the northwest (easy access to the Trevi Fountain and the via Veneto).
The Rome Metro and Bus system are run by ATAC. They use the same tickets and you may combine the two systems. For example, you may decide to take the metro from Rome Termini station to the Colosseum, and from there, take a bus towards Piazza Navona (where the Metro does not go.)
BIT ticket (one-time use) - The most basic one-way metro ticket costs 1.50€. For this ticket, you are allowed to change train or bus once (same direction, not round-trip.) It's valid for 100 minutes from the moment you validate it.
Roma24 - You may also buy a 7€ pass, which is valid for unlimited use for 24 hours from the moment you validate it. So if you will use the bus/metro more than 4 times in one day, this could be worthwhile.
Roma48 - You may also buy a 12.50€ pass, which is valid for unlimited use for 48 hours from the moment you validate it.
Roma72 - If you want a 3-day metro/bus pass, it costs 18€. It's good for unlimited bus/metro use around Rome from and including the day you validate it, for 72 hours from the moment you validate it.
CIS ticket (7-day use) A 7-day pass costs 24€, and is good for unlimited travel on the buses and metro in Rome from and including the day you validate it, until midnight of the 7th day.
There are no discounts for the elderly or for the disabled (unless you are a Rome resident, and purchase an annual ticket).
Rome Metro - Where to Get Tickets
You may buy several tickets at once. They last for months if not years, until the moment of validation. So if you know you want to have, say, 4 tickets for your stay in Rome, you can just get them all at the same time.
You can easily buy metro/bus tickets from tabacchi (tobacco shops), or at the green newsstand kiosks you see around Rome.
You may also purchase metro tickets inside any Rome metro station.
There are a very few buses that have a little ticket machine on them. But I would not count on this. It might not be working, or might just randomly not be there!
It's really best to have purchased your tickets before you board any type of public transportation in Rome.
To enter the subway, and validate your ticket, insert it into the machine, with the stripe facing up and the arrow facing into the machine.
This part is just as important: when the ticket is validated, it pops back up. You must take the ticket with you, and keep it with you until you have fully exited the metro system!
Never enter the metro or bus system of Rome without a validated ticket. You will risk a hefty (50€ minimum) fine. And playing the ignorant tourist will get you nowhere. Trust me I have witnessed this in action.
If you have a Roma Pass, press it against the yellow dot. The gates will open.