The Best Roma Pass Options And How To Make The Most Of It

Getting the Roma Pass when visiting Rome is a great idea to save a bit of money on attractions. It will give you access to some of the most famous cultural sites in Rome. It will allow you to skip the long lines at famous tourist attractions; and it will provide you some useful tools to plan your trip.

This post will guide you into picking the best pass for your needs and will share some tips to make the most of it.

What Is The Roma Pass And Is It Worth It?

Most people who visit Rome spend between 2 and 4 days there. They typically spend a day at the Vatican, exploring the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica; one visiting the most famous archeological sites such as the Colosseum, the Forum and the Palatine Hills; and add a museum and all the most beautiful squares in the city.

The Roma Pass is a pass that can last between 48 and 72 hours, that the City of Rome has been offering in the past few years with the idea of encouraging people to make the most out of their dollar and to allow them a smooth visit to as many sites as possible during their stay.

The most basic pass includes two visits to museums or archeological sites and unlimited use of public transportation within the city limits. It comes with a nice map of Rome and a metro map, and it will give you a right to a discount to sites and museums not included in the pass.

If you add up the costs of just two tourist attractions you may visit and that of public transportation during your time in Rome (a one way ticket for the metro or bus costs €1.50, while a day pass costs €7 and a 3-day pass costs €18), and throw in an extra museum or site which you will surely end up visiting for good measure, you’ll see that after all investing in a Roma card may be a good idea.

But there’s more! The tickets you get with the Rome city pass are skip the line ones, meaning that you won’t have to put up with the endless lines at the most famous attractions in the city.

Continue reading to discover the pass options.

Roma Pass

Overall Best Roma Pass Options – A Summary

This is a quick overview of the best pass options available in Rome:

ROME EXPLORER PASS – this excellent option allows you to pick the number of attractions you want to include in your pass, making it very conveniently priced.

ROME TOURIST CARD – a very convenient option, which includes skip the line entrances to St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museum, a 20% discount on the tickets to the Colosseum and Castel Sant’Angelo, a one day hop-on-hop-off bus ticket and a one way ticket to Fiumicino or Ciampino airport in Rome.

ROMA PASS – an excellent budget option with free admissions to a variety of museums.

BEST OF ROME ALL ACCESS PASS – a fantastic option that includes fast track entrances to the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hills, and also provides an audio-guide to make the most of the attractions.

Whichever pass you choose, make sure to read the terms and conditions and whether you need to reserve a specific date and time to enter some of the attractions – this is especially applicable to the Colosseum.

Continue reading to find out what pass is most suitable to your travel needs.

Rome city pass
Castel Sant’Angelo can be visited on a Rome city pass

The Best Roma Pass Options

The best all inclusive pass

If you are planning to spend a few days in Rome and if you are the kind of person that really wants to see it all (or almost), you should go for an all inclusive pass. This includes skip the line tickets to attractions such as the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel; tpreferred access to St. Peter’s Basilica; tickets to Castel Sant’Angelo and skip the line tickets to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hills.

Some passes include an audio-guide so that you can go around the various attractions on your own. The most expensive ones also offer a live guided tour at some of the sites. All of them include access to the public transportation system.

There are a few all inclusive pass options around, and I suggest to carefully read the terms and conditions and what they include before picking the one that you think is most suitable to your needs.

The Best of Rome all access pass gives you fast track entrances to the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hills. You also receive an audio-guide. The site doesn’t specify if transportation is included – but the price is very convenient, so a good option if you don’t mind walking or buying your own transport. You can get the pass here.

Roma card
Some passes include a guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica

The best pass for flashpackers

Are you only spending one or two full days in Rome? Good news! In that amount of time, you can see all the most famous attractions – especially if you get a Rome city pass that allows you to skip the lines and save a lot of time.

But there’s more. Not all city passes include guided tours or audioguides. If that’s something you are looking for in the city pass, you either read all the small print in each and every option on sale, or take your chances. Or – better – rely on me! I have read all the terms and conditions and selected the best passes that include an audioguide and which are perfect if you are spending just one or two days in town.

Here they are:

BEST OF ROME – with this pass, you get skip the line tickets to all the unmissable attractions in town. Your ticket to the Colosseum includes entrance to the Roman Forum and the Palatine. You also get a free audio-guide.

ROME TOURIST CARD – this Roma card includes skip the line entrances to St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums. You also get a 20% discount on tickets to the Colosseum and Castel Sant’Angelo and a one day hop-on-hop-off bus ticket. Finally, you can count on a one way ticket to Fiumicino or Ciampino airport.

ROMA PASS – a budget-friendly option with free admissions to several museums. The audio-guide is included. The Colosseum isn’t.

Roma Pass
Your ticket to the Colosseum will allow you access to the Roman Forum and the Palatine

The best pass for budget travelers

Do you have a limited budget? Are interested in visiting just the highlights of Rome and then walk around on your own terms to explore the more hidden corners of the city and the quirkiest places? Do you still want to make the most of your time in the city, and especially avoid the hassle of standing in line to enter the attractions? Then you should opt for one of the most budget friendly passes.

The less expensive options will give you admission to the most famous attractions and give you a discount to the rest, and you will be able to enjoy public transportation within the city limits.

For the most budget friendly pass, click here or here.

Roma ticket
Rome is a fantastic city to walk around

The best pass if you prefer walking 

Rome is a very big city, with large distances, lots of traffic and severe public transportation issues. Central metro stations often close for maintenance works causing severe delays and nuisances to travelers (the one in Piazza di Spagna has opened again recently, after being closed for several weeks). This means that you can’t fully rely on public transportation.

The good news, however, is that walking around in Rome is very pleasant, as there is always something to marvel at.

If you feel you won’t be making much use of public transportation, you should get a pass that doesn’t include it and get tickets on the go in one of the local kiosks whenever needed (a one way ticket costs €1.50, a day pass costs €7 and a 3-day pass €18). Most Rome city passes offer a hop-on-hop-off bus pass anyways.

For the best pass that doesn’t include public transportation, click here.

Roma pass

How To Make The Most Of Your Roma Pass

What’s included? 

The city pass allows you to enter more sites than I can possibly mention in this post, and gives you a 20% discount to other sites. You obviously have to pick whichever ones you want to visit upon purchasing your pass, unless yours is an all inclusive one.

Among the sites typically included in a Rome city pass, there are the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, St. Peters Basilica, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hills, Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome National Museums and even Ostia Antica, which is an easy 30 minutes train ride from Rome (remember you can use your transportation pass to get to the immediate surroundings of Rome).

Make sure to check the sites included in the pass you are purchasing! 

Depending on the pass, you will also get a hop-on-hop-off bus pass and a public transportation pass, an audio-guide for most sites, a live guide on some sites, and use of wifi at the hotspot.

What’s not included?

The pass never includes transportation from any of the the airports in Rome (though some include transportation to either Fiumicino or Ciampino Airport).

Sites and attractions typically not included in pass are the Domus Aurea, night tours of the Colosseums, underground sites such as the Catacombs and special light shows.

Some passes do not include the Vatican – the ones mentioned in this post typically do. At the time of writing, the pass can’t be used to visit Galleria Borghese.


Making reservations for the Colosseum 

As of March 2019, no matter the kind of pass you purchase, you have to make reservations to visit the Colosseum picking the exact date and time of your visit. This is done in an effort to manage the crowds: no more than 3000 people are allowed inside the Colosseum at once; which restricts the number of tickets sold each day.

Reserve your ticket to the Colosseum as early possible, or you risk being left without and unable to visit. Don’t forget that your ticket to the Colosseum gives you a pass to also enter the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hills within 48 hours.

What to do if the Colosseum is fully booked

If your pass includes tickets to the Colosseum and but the site is fully booked for your chosen dates, you can get around the issue in this way:

  • Try to get to the Colosseum first thing in the morning to check with the box office if they have any tickets available for that day. Chances are slim, but you may want to give it a try.
  • Check on the website of CoopCulture to see if they have any tickets left. Do that regularly, as some people may cancel and spaces may open up.
  • Book a tour via a third party agency – let them know you have a city and chances are they will only charge you for the cost of the guided tour.
  • Book a tour of the Colosseum and use the pass for another attraction.
Rome city pass
Rome is gorgeous views all around

Where to buy the pass

You can buy the Roma Pass at any site that participates in it and at tourist information points around Rome. You can also buy it at Rome Fiumicino and Ciampino airports, in the arrival area, and at Tiburtina and Termini stations.

A better option is to get it in advance online here, so that you can indicate your preferred date and time for visiting specific attractions and all you have to do once you get to Rome after a long flight is heading to your hotel to rest and relax.

Do you need to have a physical copy of your Roma Pass?

Make sure to double check whether your pass has to be printed or not. For some of them, you only have to save it on your cell phone. In other cases, you need to print it out. In some cases you need to actually pick up your card at one of the places where it also sold. Even in the latter case, I recommend buying it online so that you can pre-book your Colosseum visit.

Good to know

You can expect some lines at the Colosseum and at the Vatican even when you have a Rome city pass, because you will have to go through security.

Take care to note closing times of museums and attractions: museums are closed on Mondays, on December 25 and 26, on January 1 and May 1. The Vatican Museums are also closed on Sundays and on 29 June.

Remember that modest clothing is required when visiting St. Peter’s Basilica and any other church. Make sure to wear full length pants or a skirt that covers your knees, and cover your shoulders.

Final thoughts on the Roma Pass

The Roma Pass is very convenient if you plan to visit a lot of sites in Rome (you need to visit two or more to make it worth the money) and – most importantly – if you want to skip the lines at the most popular attractions. Another reason to get it is that you can get transportation included in your pass – which means you can jump on any bus or metro without having to worry about buying a ticket every time.

Further Readings

For all the tips on how to skip the lines at the main attractions in Rome, check out the following posts:

Make sure to also read my itineraries:

Finally, check out my post All The Food In Rome You Should Eat: 25 Delicious Dishes.

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Discover which Roma Pass you should get and how to make the most of it - via @clautavani

2 thoughts on “The Best Roma Pass Options And How To Make The Most Of It”

  1. You mention above that the Roma Pass 48 hours does not include tickets to the Colosseum. I think this is incorrect because I checked and it allows one museum/archeological entrance compared to 2 for the 72 hour Roma Pass. Roma Pass 48 hours does not exclude the Colosseum from the list.

  2. You are right – I checked again myself and spotted the mistake. Thank you for pointing it out.

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