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When in Rome, there are many ways to get around

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By Ben Resini

I like to think Rome is best seen walking the cobblestone streets and narrow corridors, or zipping around on a rented Vespa. The truth is, the Eternal City can be experienced in many ways.

Besides hoofing it, one can easily traverse the city by public bus. While an easy and inexpensive way to get around Rome, it often comes with a fair number of opinions.

Every guidebook printed in the last 30 years will warn you about pickpockets while riding on a public bus in Rome. Unfortunately, it’s still good advice today. It’s easy to get caught up in the wonder of Rome. The sights, smells and sounds take over quickly, making unassuming tourists easy targets for theft.

All roads lead to Rome, but not without some head-scratching along the way. Every year, usually during summer, a few of Rome’s busses spontaneously burst into flames. I wish I was kidding. Known to Romans as “Flambus,” the number of these occurrences thankfully is decreasing.

Fear not though, public transportation via bus in Rome, even with its occasional mishaps, is still reliable and safe from my experience thus far.

If walking or riding the bus isn’t your thing, there’s always the iconic Vespa. With a number of scooter rental shops across the city, intrepid souls willing to experience the beautiful confusion that is Roman traffic can find a fun and thrilling alternative to public transportation. Guided tours are often a good foray into getting around Rome via two-wheeled machine before diving in on your own.


Feeling eco-friendly? You’re in luck. The introduction of electric scooters or “micro-scooters” has been a hot topic in the Eternal City the last two years. E-scooters can be found almost everywhere, tagged as an “eco-sustainable” option for Romans and tourists to easily get around without much hassle. This hip new mode of transportation hasn’t come without frustrations. Complaints of scooters being carelessly tossed aside or improperly operated have become more frequent, resulting in the mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, to make a public statement about the issue.

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW

  • Rome’s tobacco shops, or “tabaccheria,” will serve you well, a quick and convenient stop for bus tickets, tourist maps, the morning newspaper and a host of other things to spend your Euros on. Be sure to purchase bus tickets before boarding, as ticketless riders can be hit with hefty fines on the spot.
  • Termini Station is Rome’s largest metro train station, connecting commuters from all of Italy and Europe. While the terminal itself has undergone much-needed renovations recently, the area surrounding the station outside is probably not as “post-card worthy” as you might expect.
  • When riding a bus, tie a rubber-band around your wallet, a sure-fire method to avoid those wandering hands.
  • Renting a scooter is fun, but proper safety precautions are paramount. Driving in Rome is not like driving in America. Many tourists are surprised at the hurried flow of traffic, the tight spaces which cars and scooters must pass through along with uneven cobblestone roads to contend with.
  • Rome also has a metro system, a few remaining tram routes and standard taxis. Uber is available but operates slightly differently than Americans may be accustomed to, only available in “Uber Black” with higher prices.
rrocco
Author: rrocco

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