Believe it or not, Rome has a subway/metro. Many tourists visiting the city never realize it exists, and just how useful it can be. For only 1 Euro you can buy a ticket good for 75 minutes of travel. And for 4 Euro you can get a 1-day pass. Considering what a taxi would cost this is a bargain. And no traffic to worry about, which in Rome can be a real log jamb.
There are currently only two metro lines, A line (identified by the orange colour on their map) and B line (blue). A third service, the green C line, and a new branch of the B line, are currently under construction. Plans have also been revealed for a fourth line. The current network (38 km) has an X-shape with the two currently existing lines intersecting at Termini Station, the main train station in Rome. The B line connects the north-east of the city with the south-west. It currently has 22 stations with terminuses (end points) at Rebibbia and Laurentina (just east of EUR). Like many other strange things in Italy, this line was actually the first line. The B line was planned during the 1930s by the Fascist government in search of a rapid connection between the main train station, Termini, and a new district to the south-east of the city, E42, the planned location of the Universal Exposition (or Expo), which was to be held in Rome in 1942. The exposition never took place due to Italy’s entrance into the Second World War in 1940. When works were interrupted some of the tunnels on the city-centre side of the metro (between Termini and Pyramide) had been completed and were used as air raid shelters during the war.
The A line connects the north-west of the city with the south-east. It currently has 27 stations with terminuses (end points) at Battistini and Anagnina. Work on the A line began in 1964 in the Tuscolana area but were subject to a series of delays caused by poor organization. The originally planned method of construction of cut and cover posed serious problems for road traffic in south-east Rome so work on the metro was suspended. It began again 5 years later, using bored tunnels which partially resolved the traffic problems but caused numerous claims for compensation arising for vibrations caused by the boring machine. Work was also frequently interrupted by archaeological finds made during the excavations, particularly near Piazza della Repubblica.
As typical Rome tourists we all do a lot of walking. Sites are all over the city. I have my favorite hotel which is near the Piazza Navona. From here many of the sites are easily reached, but several are pretty far away. For example the Caracalla Baths are quite a hike. And so is St. John Lateran Basilica which is the Pope’s actual church. And so is my favorite restaurant, Cannavota. The metro lets me do this cross town trip quite nicely. I typically use the metro for 1 direction and then walk back, passing other sites like the Colloseum, Forum, etc. Sure saves my legs for another day.
As with any other method of transportation in Rome, just be careful. Theft is not a big problem unless you look like a target. Try to look “local” and like you know what you’re doing. And as with all places in any major city, shy away from lots of shiny bobbles worthy of a thiefs attention. And fanny/belly packs…yikes. Nothing makes you a bigger target (or look dumb) like these aweful adornments.
To see the metro map and for more info, click Here.