Roma Pass: What it Covers & Whether it’s Worth the Cost

by Jessica on May 3, 2010

by | May 3rd, 2010  

romapass1Pretty much every big city in the world that plays host to tourists sells some kind of “city pass.” These tend to include some combination of that city’s museums and attractions as well as use of public transportation. As you’d expect, Rome has one – and it’s called the Roma Pass.

The cost of a Roma Pass went up €2 in early 2010, so a pass now costs €25. Some travelers might not think twice about purchasing a Roma Pass – but if you’re on a really tight budget you might wince a little at the €25 pricetag. So in this article I’m going to go over a few things – what the Roma Pass covers, how to use the Roma Pass, whether a Roma Pass is worth the cost, and how to get a Roma Pass.


What the Roma Pass Covers

A Roma Pass costs €25 and is good for three full days after the first use. With a Roma Pass, you get the following things:

  • Free entry to first two museums and/or archaeological sites visited
  • Discounted entry to all other included museums and/or archaeological sites after that
  • Discounted entry to some exhibits & events
  • Free public transportation in Rome (bus, metro, Met.Ro trains, trams)
  • Discounted multi-lingual medical service for tourists via 24-hour call center (MET Travel Health)

Note that the Roma Pass does not cover transport Trenitalia (Italy’s national train system) or the Leonardo Express (train to/from Fiumicino Airport in Rome), and not everything in Rome is on the list of included attractions. Still, there are some interesting perks that come with a Roma Pass in addition to the obvious ones.

For one thing, the idea of having discounted access to a multi-lingual call center for medical assistance in an unfamiliar city is an interesting one. It’s certainly not like getting travel insurance, but if you haven’t bought insurance and you find yourself in a situation that requires more than just a band-aid, you might be really pleased you’d purchased a Roma Pass and the discounted medical assistance that comes with it.

Another perk that comes with the Roma Pass is the ability to bypass the line at the Colosseum – there’s a separate line and turnstile just for Roma Pass-holders. Low-season visitors may not understand why this is such an excellent perk, since the lines to get into the Colosseum aren’t as insane then, but peak-season travelers will really appreciate sauntering past the long line and flashing their Roma Pass card to get in.

Keep in mind that the three-day clock on the Roma Pass starts ticking when you first use the card to either get into one of the included museums/attractions or the first time you ride public transport. If you’ll be in Rome for longer than three days and don’t want to validate your Roma Pass until your second day in the city, you’ll just need to make sure you’re buying bus/metro tickets to get around until then.

A few of the things you get along with the Roma Pass itself are:

  • A map of Rome that includes pointers for Tourist Information offices and metro stations (included attractions are also marked on the map, along with each attraction’s address, open hours, and nearby bus/metro stops)
  • A guide to all participating museums and sites included in the Roma Pass
  • More information on how to use the Roma Pass and how to take advantage of its other perks (medical help, online help)

Some of the 40+ included museums/sites on the Roma Pass are:

  • Colosseum
  • Roman Forum
  • Palatine Hill
  • Capitoline Museums
  • Baths of Caracalla
  • Borghese Gallery
  • Castel Sant’Angelo
  • Ara Pacis Museum
  • National Museum in Rome
  • Trajan’s Market & Forum
  • National Museum of Musical Instruments
  • Planetarium & Astronomy Museum
  • Ostia Antica Excavation Site


How to Use the Roma Pass

romapass3As mentioned, the Roma Pass is good for three consecutive days. It’s similar to a Eurail Pass in that you’ll fill out the appropriate section with your name and the validation date. This date should be the first day you plan to use the pass – which may or may not be the first day of your stay in Rome. If you’ll be in Rome for fewer than three days, then this isn’t a critical point – but if you’ll be in the city for more than three days and you’re not planning to use it immediately upon arrival, make sure you enter the date you’re going to start using the pass. And, as I said earlier, if you’re riding public transportation in Rome before the validation date of your Roma Pass, make sure you buy tickets for your trips.

The first two museums/attractions you visit are the ones that count as your “two free sites” – so you definitely want to look at the ticket prices for all the museums and other attractions you’re planning to visit during your stay in Rome to make sure you’re using the pass to get into the two most expensive attractions. At the first two attractions, you won’t have to wait in a ticket line to get in – you can go straight to the entrance and show your Roma Pass.

At any other attractions you visit after those first two free ones, the Roma Pass will entitle you to a discounted ticket rate. You will have to wait in the ticket line to purchase tickets like everyone else, but when you show the ticket agent your Roma Pass you won’t have to pay full price. You may be asked to verify that the pass is yours, so make sure you’ve got your ID with you when you’re going to use the Roma Pass.


Is the Roma Pass worth the cost?

romapass2Strictly financially speaking, it’s fairly easy to figure out whether you’d be getting your money’s worth if you bought a Roma Pass. All you need to do is add up the ticket prices of the various museums and attractions you planned on visiting while in Rome – the ones that are part of the Roma Pass, that is – and then compare that to the cost of the pass itself, plus the discounted entry fees for any sites you visit past the first two free ones. Assuming you were planning on riding buses, trams, or the metro now and again, you’ll want to factor in the savings of several transportation tickets as well.

This sounded very simple until I went looking for what, exactly, the discounted prices on all of those museums and attractions would be. Sure, discounts are always good things, but if you don’t know how much the discounted ticket price is then you can’t really figure out the true cost of the Roma Pass. This article on EuroCheapo attempted to lay out a mathematical comparison of buying a Roma Pass or buying individual tickets instead, but the author only talks about the two free attractions and doesn’t include anything about the discounted tickets.

Thankfully, after much digging on the Roma Pass website, I was able to find a PDF of exactly what I was looking for – a table comparing the current full-price of a ticket with the reduced rate you’d pay if you had a Roma Pass. The ticket prices that are on this PDF at the moment are 2010 prices.

Using this PDF, here are some examples of the cost difference between a full-price ticket (without a Roma Pass) and a discounted ticket (with a Roma Pass, after your first two free attractions):

Museum/Attraction Ticket w/o Roma Pass Ticket w/Roma Pass
Capitoline Museums €6.50 €4.50
Borghese Gallery €8.50 €5.25
Castel Sant’Angelo Museum €5 €3
Ostia Antica Site €6.50 €3.25

As you can see, the Roma Pass knocks a few euro of the price of every attraction – and in some cases the cost of entry is cut in half. Since it’s only the first two attractions that are completely free, you want to plan it so those are the first two you visit on your Roma Pass. And since entry to the Colosseum is now up to €12 as of this writing, that’s one of the sites you’ll want to visit first!

There’s an additional perk to visiting the Colosseum as one of your first two attractions on your Roma Pass, too. Because the Colosseum is on what’s called a “combined ticket” with the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, your free entry to the Colosseum also gets you free entry into those two sites – whether you’ve already used your other free entry or not. Of course, you can visit any of these three sites on the Colosseo/Palatino/Foro Romano “combined ticket” in any order you like, but you’ll save the most money if you at least make one of them your first two stops on your Roma Pass.

There are a few “combined tickets” that are included on the Roma Pass, and this information is also listed on that PDF that shows full-price vs. discounted-price tickets (it’s a handy one-page document). The other thing to note from that PDF is the phrase “prenotazione obbligatoria” underneath the listing for the Galleria Borghese – this means you’ll have to reserve a specific time to visit in advance, whether you have a Roma Pass or not. There’s a €2 fee for making the reservation, and that’s the same for everyone.

So, the bottom line is that to be completely certain the Roma Pass is a good deal for you, you’ll need to have a rough idea of the museums and other attractions from the Roma Pass list that you’d like to see – and you’ll need to do a little math. But at least now you have the tools you need to do all the figuring necessary!


Where to Buy a Roma Pass

You can buy a Roma Pass at any of the museums/attractions included on the pass, just tell them at the ticket window that you’d like to buy the pass and validate it right then. You can also buy a pass at any of the Tourist Information offices in Rome, and there’s also a way to buy it online. The Roma Passes cannot be mailed to you, however, so even if you buy it online in advance you’ll pick it up in Rome. In the purchase process you choose which Tourist Information office you’ll pick up your pass from.

You’ll find all the information you need to buy a Roma Pass on this page of the official site, including the locations and hours of all the TI offices in Rome. And here’s the main Roma Pass page.

photo at top by cobacco


{ 37 comments }

kathleem May 9, 2010 at 7:02 am
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hello!
I am confused. the official romapass webpage says this about kids passes….
“Free Entry Tickets can be obtained:
at all ticket offices in the afore mentioned venues by showing a document that attests to one of the following conditions:
• Citizenship of non-European Union countries that have a reciprocity agreement (n.b.
children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult).”

what’s a reciprocity agreement?? my kids are 5 & 7. my husband & I are traveling with them. so does that mean I dont have to get them the roma pass?? and we can all go in to the first 2 free museums with my kids?
thanks!

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Steve July 5, 2012 at 1:46 pm
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Apparently this is still an issue. We went to the colosseum today and I had to pay full price for my 3 kids (8, 5, and 3). The guy told me that is just the way it is. We live in Germany and I had proof of that but because we are not citizens, that didn’t count.

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Jessica May 9, 2010 at 4:15 pm
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Hi, Kathleen:

Thanks for your note – I’m afraid I don’t know what a reciprocity agreement is, however. The language for free/reduced entry on every single European attraction website I’ve ever seen includes some reference to reciprocity, but I’ve never figured out what they mean by that. Obviously it has something to do with certain non-EU countries, but I don’t know which ones.

I’d suggest that you ask at the first attraction you visit in Rome – since it’s easy to buy the Roma Pass at any of the participating attractions, you’ll be able to find out from the person behind the ticket counter whether your kids need to get a Roma Pass or whether they’ll be able to get into attractions for free without one. Actually, on second thought, if you’d like a more well-rounded answer, it’s probably better to go to one of the Tourist Information offices to ask about that instead of one of the attractions.

Ciao,
Jessica

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Dee June 13, 2012 at 8:43 am
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I was just reviewing the official “Summary of the rules and regulations governing entry to museums and archaeological sites” document from the romapass.it website.. (http://www.romapass.it/doc/NormativeENG.pdf)

The reciprocity agreement refers to “Attachment 2″, and here are the countries listed under that heading:

ATTACHMENT n° 2
SWITZERLAND
NORWAY
LIECHTENSTEIN
ICELAND

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Jane June 10, 2010 at 4:20 am
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I’ve looked on the romapass.it site & its saying this pass isn’t available at the moment – is this right?

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Jessica June 10, 2010 at 8:33 am
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The “Roma & Piu’ Pass” isn’t currently available, but I don’t see anything to indicate the regular Roma Pass isn’t available.

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ghazi July 17, 2010 at 10:52 pm
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hi jessica, we r family 4 adults ,what is the best way to go from rome airport to giotto hotel in rome ,thank u

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Jessica July 20, 2010 at 9:55 am
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Hi, Ghazi:

Here’s an article about how to get from the Rome Airport into Rome, this should give you all the information you need:

http://www.italylogue.com/featured-articles/getting-from-rome-fiumicino-airport-to-rome.html

Ciao,
Jessica

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mary August 2, 2010 at 5:38 pm
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Thank you Jessica . What good infor. I have been to Rome 5 times but always with a pilgrimage group. Now I want to take my husbaqnd for 4 days. I know what i want to show him. Can we purchase the Roma Pass at the airport and use it to get into rome and does that then validate it for our two days?

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Jessica August 2, 2010 at 6:41 pm
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Hi, Mary:

You have several options for getting the Roma Pass – including buying it online before you even get to Rome. You’ll find a link to the official Roma Pass website here:

http://www.italylogue.com/planning-a-trip/roma-pass.html#buy

And that link gives you all the locations where you can buy a pass (including a link to buy it online). It’s my understanding that the Leonardo Express train that runs from the airport to the city isn’t part of the regular train network or public transit in Rome, so I don’t believe it’s included on the Roma Pass.

I hope that helps!

Ciao,
Jessica

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Hala October 3, 2010 at 4:36 am
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hi jessica,
which is better to go to Rome via Rome airport or fiumicino airport ?

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Jessica October 3, 2010 at 2:31 pm
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Fiumicino Airport – otherwise known as Leonardo da Vinci Airport – is the main airport for Rome. The smaller airport is called Ciampino Airport. Neither one is called “Rome Airport,” but if you search for flights into “Rome” you might be looking up results for both Fiumicino and Ciampino at once. Fiumicino is the larger airport and handles most of the international flights, while Ciampino is closer to the city center.

http://www.italylogue.com/airfare-to-rome

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Pam November 10, 2010 at 9:24 am
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We bought Roma passes before we went to Rome last week. Once there we discovered that over 65 year olds get free entry to many attractions and discounts to others so our pass wasn’t good value for us.
Pam

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Marilyn November 28, 2010 at 8:18 am
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I will be in Rome over Christmas. I could use the Roma Pass on Dec. 23rd and 24th, but no museums will be open on Dec. 25. Since it is only good for 3 consecutive days, I can only really get 2 days use out of it (with the exception of being able to use it for transportation). Do you know if they make any exception for use over days when exhibits are closed, such as Christmas?

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Jessica November 29, 2010 at 10:00 am
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I don’t think there’s any exception for holiday periods, no. If I were you, I’d figure out the cost of visiting the various museums/monuments you would have used the Roma Pass for and see if getting a 3-day pass (and then only using it for 2 days) is still worth it price-wise, vs. just purchasing tickets normally.

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Greg December 28, 2010 at 9:09 am
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Wow! Great in-depth article, Jessica; super helpful. I’m certainly saving this page :-) Thanks!

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Ryan January 2, 2011 at 1:49 pm
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Small correction – the FAQ on the official Roma Pass site states that passes cannot be mailed if you purchase online. You must choose a tourist office location where you can pick up the pass.

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Jessica January 3, 2011 at 9:58 am
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Thanks for the correction, Ryan!

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David January 29, 2011 at 6:37 pm
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Jessica,
Jessica, your article is very much helpful. Thanks a lot.
David

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Ben February 14, 2011 at 10:01 pm
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Does the Rome Pass cover the FM1 Metro from Fiumicino Airport to Rome?

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Jessica February 17, 2011 at 1:15 pm
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The Roma Pass does work on the Metro, Ben, so I would think it would work to get into Rome from the airport – but your best bet would be to ask the Roma Pass people directly, either at the airport before you buy it or via the official website.

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Sanjay September 8, 2012 at 6:09 am
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As per information available on Roma Pass official website (http://www.romapass.it/p.aspx?l=en&tid=33#faqq1), all connections to and from Fiumicino and Ciampino Aeroporto are not included.

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joanne merigliano February 21, 2011 at 9:58 am
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Does the Roma pass let you into the Vatican as one of the first 2 museums to get in free?

I can’t see this infomoration anywhere?

Help.
Joanne

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Jessica February 21, 2011 at 12:25 pm
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No, I believe the Roma Pass doesn’t include the Vatican Museums (since technically the Vatican isn’t part of Rome, but its own country).

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Dobe May 5, 2011 at 8:31 pm
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hi, can you please advise whether it’s worth to buy Roma & Piu instead of Roma pass? Roma & Piu includes Fiera di Roma station (zone A and zone B). Am not sure whether it’s worth to pay $2 Euro more for that.

This is the first time we go to Rome and will stay in Rome for 3 days (including 1 day in Vatican City).

Thanks

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Jessica May 6, 2011 at 11:16 am
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It depends on whether you’ll be going to enough of the sights included in the Rome & Piu card that aren’t included on the regular Roma Pass. Look at the PDF I link to in the post above – at the bottom of that, there’s a list of the sights that are only on the Roma & Piu card, so you can see if any of those are on your itinerary.

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charisse May 19, 2011 at 7:55 am
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can i use the roma pass if i want to visit vatican?

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Jessica May 20, 2011 at 10:27 am
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If you look at the comments above, you’ll see that no – I believe the Roma Pass cannot be used at the Vatican.

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JANE November 6, 2011 at 8:15 am
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Hi
I am finding your articles the most useful ones to absorb!

We are in Rome from Friday evening to Monday lunch time (9-12/12/11) – unfortunately staying about a 30 minute bus ride from Termini. A short stay and not that close to the city centre, but if we like it we will go back! Can you assist please? I think we will be going to the Vatican on the Saturday (obviously things are closed on the Sunday) and then wish to see the Coliseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon, Trevi Foundtin and Spanish Steps for sure on the Sunday. I am not sure if we will have time to see much more in one day – but we may get 2-3 hours on Monday morning to see something near the Termini station before we go back to Fiumincino airport – and if we do have a Roma Pass we need to see our second free entry place. We will be taking the 32 bus to/from our hotel, probably about 6 journeys. I am not sure whether the Roma Pass is a good idea, perhaps it depends where we chose to go on the Monday morning? I guess we are going in low season so the queues will not be too bad, but perhaps the Roma Pass will make the bus travel easier? Thanks for any help!

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Jessica November 7, 2011 at 6:33 pm
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I would suggest looking at the Roma Pass website (the official one, linked in the article above) and consulting the list of transportation that’s covered. You’ll be able to calculate how much money each bus ticket would cost with and without the pass, in addition to how much you’d save on attractions, and from there can determine whether the pass is really worth it for you.

I don’t know where you’re staying, but you might also look at other options for Monday morning that don’t involve an hour round-trip into Rome – is there anything near your hotel that’s interesting? Or perhaps a shorter bus trip from your hotel?

For a really short Rome visit, you might find the tips in this article helpful – it’s about tackling Rome in a single day, and thankfully you have a little more time than that, but it’s got helpful advice about doing so much in a big city on short time:
http://www.italylogue.com/planning-a-trip/how-to-conquer-rome-in-a-day.html

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Wanderlust Scarlett April 9, 2012 at 1:09 pm
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Michelle at Bleeding Espresso sent me over to read up on this card and lo, you have several other great pieces on traveling in Rome (especially for first timers) – this is perfect! Grazie mille!!

Much appreciated!

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

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Jessica April 10, 2012 at 11:15 am
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I’m glad you’re finding useful information here! And I’ll have to thank Michelle for sending you my way. :)

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Sheila June 16, 2012 at 11:03 am
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Jessica,

I noticed that you said we could bypass the lines at the Colosseum with the Roma Pass – do you know if we get the combined ticket to the Colosseum, the Forum and Palatine Hil and start at the Forum, are we still able to bypass the lines at the Colosseum?

Additionally, the Roma Pass is good for three days – Is this counted by day or by hour? For instance, if we wait to use the pass for the first time on Wednesday at noon, is it good until Saturday at noon, or would it expire Friday at midnight now matter the time we start on Wednesday?

Thank you,
Sheila

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Macheva July 27, 2012 at 8:01 am
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Hi,
I am confused. Would you mind telling me if “Trenitalia FR” means regional railways (“ferrovie regionali”) FR1 – FR8?
Does the Roma&Più Pass include only the FR1 regional railway or does it include all FR1 – FR8?
I still do not know what forms of transportations are included in both cards. I sent email to official mail adress but they have not emailed me back yet. Thank you

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Farah August 16, 2012 at 4:38 pm
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Hi Jessica, just to let you know, seems like the Roma pass is now €30.
http://www.romapass.it/p.aspx?l=en&tid=2

Thanks for this blog, it’s been invaluable in planning our trip!

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md. masud October 3, 2012 at 7:42 am
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hi,Its a first time me and my wife is going to italy,so we r little bit excited.I have planned to stay two(2)days in rome and 1 day in venice.So can anyone help me out to plan my tour?Its mentionable that I want to go zurich from venice,will it be a good decision?or should I start my journey from rome to zurich?How long will take to go Vatican city from rome?What all are the places should i visit in rome and Venice?

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matt January 14, 2013 at 11:28 am
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does anyone know if the roma pass will be valid to take me to and from my hotel to rome centre everyday? im staying at the arcadia. not sure if i will have to pay for another bus so would really like to know if the arcadia is in the catchment area

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