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Like most Italian cities, even the larger ones, the best way to get around Rome is to walk - you'll see more and will better appreciate the city. The city wasn't built for motor traffic, and it shows in the traffic jams, the pollution, and the bad tempers of its drivers. That said, its bus service , run by ATAC, is, on the whole, a good one - cheap, reliable and as quick as the clogged streets allow. Remember to board through the rear doors and punch your ticket as you enter.

To sidestep the traffic, Rome also has a metro , which runs from 5.30am to 11.30pm, though it's not as useful as you might think, since its two lines are more directed at ferrying commuters out to the suburbs than transporting tourists around the city centre. Nonetheless, there are a few useful city-centre stations: Termini is the hub of both lines, and there are stations at the Colosseum, Piazza Barberini and the Spanish Steps.

When the buses and the metro stop around midnight, a network of nightbuses clicks into service, accessing most parts of the city through to about 5am; they normally have conductors so you can buy a ticket on board (but keep spare tickets handy just in case); they are easily identified by the owl symbol above the "bus notturno" schedule. During the day there are also a few tram routes in operation, one of which - the #8, connecting Viale Trastevere with Largo Argentina - is brand new and very quick.

Travellers with disabilities
Only two stops on Line A have accessibility for disabled persons (Cipro-Musei Vaticani and Valle Aurelia) but bus #591 does the same route and can accommodate those with disabilities. Also, be advised that on Line B, Circo Massimo, Colosseo and Cavour do not have accessibility but bus #75 stops at those sights and has new buses that can accommodate those with disabilities (although you may have to wait for a few of the older buses to go by).

Maps, tickets, passes
Metro maps are posted up in every station, and we've printed one at the end of this book. If you're going to use the system a lot, especially the buses, it may be worth investing in the excellent detailed Lozzi transport map (L8000), available from most newsstands, or getting hold of the official ATAC map - free from tourist information offices, and from the ATAC information office in the centre of Piazza dei Cinquecento - although this can be out-of-date and somewhat unreliable. There is a toll-free enquiries line (Mon-Fri 9am-1pm & 2-5pm; tel 167.431.784) for information on COTRAL services in Rome and Lazio.

Flat-fare tickets cost L1500 each and are good for any number of bus rides and one metro ride within 75 minutes of validating them. Buy them from tobacconists, newsstands and ticket machines located in all metro stations and at major bus stops. You can also get a day pass , valid on all city transport until midnight of the day purchased, for L6000, or a seven-day pass for L24,000. Finally, it's worth knowing that there's a L100,000 spot fine for fare-dodging, and pleading a foreigner's ignorance will get you nowhere. BIRG tickets (regional transport passes) for COTRAL and ATAC services, available from machines in the metro, tabacchi and newsstands, are well worth buying if you are going out of Rome for the day; prices range from L3500 to L15,500, depending on the distance you intend to travel.


Taxis
The easiest way to get around in Rome is with a taxi which is to find the nearest taxi stand ( fermata dei taxi) - central ones include Termini, Piazza Venezia, Piazza San Silvestro, Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Barberini. Alternatively, taxis can be radio paged (tel 06.3570, tel 06.4994, tel 06.4157 or tel 06.5551), but remember that you'll pay for the time it takes to get to you. Only take licensed yellow or white cabs, and make sure the meter is switched on; a card in every official taxi explains - in English - the extra charges for luggage, late-night, Sundays and holidays, and airport journeys. To give you a rough idea of how much taxis cost, you can reckon on a journey from one side of the centre to cost around L10,000, if the traffic isn't too bad, though the supplement after 10pm is L5000, L2000 on a Sunday.


Car and bike rental
Car rental is only worthwhile for trips out of the city, but renting a bike or scooter can be a nippy way to negotiate Rome's clogged streets.


Useful bus routes
#23- Piazza Clodio-Piazza Risorgimento-Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II-Ponte Garibaldi-Via Marmorata-Piazzale Ostiense-Basilica di S. Paolo.

#64 Termini: Piazza della Repubblica-Via Nazionale-Piazza Venezia-Corso Vittorio Emanuele II-St Peter's.

#492 Stazione Tiburtina-Termini-Piazza Barberini-Via del Corso-Piazza Venezia-Largo Argentina-Corso del Rinascimento-Piazza Cavour-Piazza Risorgimento.

#660 Largo Colli Albani-Via Appia Nuova-Via Appia Antica.

#714 Termini-Santa Maria Maggiore-San Giovanni in Laterano-Baths of Caracalla-EUR.

#590 Same route as Metro Line A but with accessibility for disabled; runs every 90 minutes.

#910 Termini-Piazza della Repubblica-Via Piedmonte-Via Pinciana (Villa Borghese)-Piazza Euclide-Palazetto dello Sport-Piazza Mancini.

Night Buses

#29N Piazzale Ostiense-Lungotevere Aventino-Lungotevere De'Cenci-Via Crescenzio-Via Barletta-Piazza Marina-Via Belle Arte-Viale Liegi-Viale Regina Margherita-Via dei Marruccini-Via Labicana-Viale Aventino.

#40N Same route as Metro line B.

#55N Same route as Metro line A.

#78N Piazza Clodio-Piazzale Flaminio-Piazza Cavour-Largo di Torre Argentina-Piazza Venezia-Via Nazionale-Termini.


Useful tram routes
Trams #8 Viale Trastevere-Largo Argentina.

#19 Porto Maggiore-Viale Regina Margherita-Viale Belle Arti-Ottaviano-Piazza Risorgimento.

#30 Piramide-Viale Aventino-Colosseum-San Giovanni-Viale Regina Margherita-Villa Giulia.


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