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.
The Roma Pass - Everything you need to know
This page offers a comprehensive review of all the questions we've answered over the years about the Roma Pass, such as:
- What is the Roma Pass and what's included? (Below)
- 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 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 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 (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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
-Night visits to the Colosseum and Roman Forum
-Viaggio nei Fori (light shows along the Fori Imperiali showcasing the Forums of Augustus and Caesar, from March - November.)
-The Leonardo Express train from Fiumicino into Rome Termini
WHERE TO PURCHASE THE ROMA PASS
-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 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.
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:
- 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.
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.
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
- 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.
With 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.
Click here to purchase the Omnia Pass and receive your tickets via email!
Important things to know if you buy the Roma or Omnia Pass
A few final caveats:
-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.)
- 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 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.
- 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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