Column of Marcus Aurelius. Photo Jebulon
Public Transport: Run by the municipal transport agency ATAC, Rome’s bus network is extensive and quite efficient – which is more than can be said for its metro system, currently consisting of just two lines, A and B, which intersect at Termini Station.
A is useful if you are going to the Vatican (direction Battistini, get off at Ottaviano), while B will take you to the Colosseum (direction Laurentina, get off at Colosseo).
Single tickets, which can be bought at metro stations, in most tabacchi (cigarette shops; look for the blue T sign), or at newspaper stands and are valid for 100 minutes on any combination of buses, plus one metro ride.
There are also whole-day, three-day and weekly passes. All tickets and passes need to be stamped on the first bus or at metro turnstiles. Children under the age of 11 travel free.
Cars: Car parks and directional signs are more or less non-existant and outside the centre streets are stuffed with cars parked higgledy-piggledy so don’t bring a car here unless you have GPS, nerves of steel and a hotel in Rome with parking!
A Smart car would be an excellent choice of vehicle, or – four wheels bad, two wheels good – get around by scooter, though beware cobblestones in the rain.
Taxis: Roman taxis aren’t cheap: though the official minimum fare is a few euros most journeys have a strange way of coming out at considerably more and a long crawl in heavy traffic can set you back a lot. There is a night surcharge between 10pm and 7am.
Walking: Pedestrian crossings are common but walkers need to develop a system to use them effectively because vehicles will not stop at crossings unless compelled to do so. e. g. by your lurching body.
This is the way it works: stand at the beginning of the crossing and look at driver’s eyes. If they don’t stop (most unlikely), start to cross confidently when there is a reasonable gap in the traffic, but maintain eye contact with drivers to check they are actually slowing down.
By law they should stop, though Italians have a well-known disregard for the law – but at the same time they really don’t want to maim or kill you.