Uncovering Europe's best budget hotels since 2001.
By Samantha Collins in Rome–
Note: This post was updated with new prices in May 2013.
The Roma Pass is a three-day discount card that gives you free or discounted access to some of Rome’s top museums, as well as free use of the public transport system. Launched to encourage visitors into the museums, the scheme is proving to be a popular one.
But at a cost of €34, will it save you money during your stay or is it better to “pass” and spend your money elsewhere?
What does the Roma Pass include?
· Free admission to the following six museums: Museo della Repubblica Romana, Museo Bilotti, Museo Canonica, Museo delle Mura, Museo Napoleonico and Villa di Massenzio
· Free admission to two additional museums of your choice, picked from among 45 of the most popular in Rome, including the Colosseum, Galleria Borghese, and the Capitoline Museums. In many cases, pass holders have priority and can skip the line.
· Free unlimited public transport (bus, metro, tram and local train).
· A Rome map, including public transport networks.
· A list of participating museums, and an events guide with discount vouchers for exhibitions, shows, and events around Rome.
· Free medical advice from a multilingual helpline.
Where can you buy it?
You can purchase a Roma Pass at any of the tourist information kiosks (PITs) that you find around the city centre, including outside Termini Station and Castel St. Angelo, and at the participating museums.
The pass is valid for three days, and it expires at midnight on the third day after you have used it for the first time. You can also buy it online, although the service is not very reliable.
Is it good value?
Well, if we assume that you are something of a “culture vulture,” rather than a “hotel hermit,” it is pretty much certain that you will take a bus or two, use the metro at least once, and would like to visit at least one museum or monument. Considering that the Colosseum is the most visited attraction in Italy, it is also safe to assume that is high on your list.
So let’s add it up:
A three-day pass to use the public transport system will cost you €11. Standard admission to the Colosseum costs €12. You are still €11 short, but you have one more museum left and a whole host of discount tickets to use.
So with the time you saved not queuing at the Colosseum (pass holders use a special turnstile), you could move on to drool at the wonderful Bernini sculpture of Apollo and Daphne at the Villa Borghese (entrance €9), or admire Caravaggio at the Capitoline Museums (€12)… and still have saved enough for a cappucino and a cake.
Is it for you?
Of course, it’s possible to simply wander around Rome only seeing the outside of buildings and not spend a thing. Yet whilst the Roma Pass probably won’t save you an enormous amount of money, it may get you into places that you may have otherwise missed.
The pass also encourages you to explore a little beyond the centre, with places such as the Appia Antica Catacombs included in the scheme. With your route map and transport ticket, you should be able figure out how to get out and about and see a little more than you would otherwise.
However, if you are happy to spend your time wandering Rome’s narrow streets on foot, and the thought of spending an afternoon in a museum brings out a cold sweat, then the Roma Pass probably would not pass the value test.
For more information on the pass, check out the Roma Pass website.