Rome sightseeing cards

Enjoy free admission to various Rome sights and monuments (along with skip-the-line privileges), plus discounts at other attractions

Rome has so many overlapping (and territorial) agencies overseeing its vast array of sights that it has only recently been able to coordinate a single city-wide admission pass—and even that one has caveats.

My advice: Work out your sightseeing schedule so that you can hit as many sights as possible in three days—including at least two expensive sights you'll be getting for free—and the Roma Pass will be worth its weight in gold for the discounts on other sights plus the public transport freebies.

Roma Pass–Good Deal

The Roma Pass (Romapass.it) is a card that can—if used wisely—reduce the cost of visiting most of Rome's A-list sights.

Sights covered by the Roma Pass

Ancient sites & museums

Other museums

  • Galleria Borghese
  • Palazzo Barberini
  • Palazzo Corsini
  • Castel Sant'Angelo
  • Galleria Spada
  • Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Venezia
  • Museo di Roma
  • Museo di Roma in Trastevere
  • MACRO - Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma
  • MAXXI - Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo
  • Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea
  • Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Roma Capitale
  • Accademia Nazionale di San Luca
  • Museo Napoleonico
  • Museo della Repubblica Romana e della memoria garibaldina
  • Museo Carlo Bilotti Aranceria di Villa Borghese
  • Museo Pietro Canonica a Villa Borghese
  • Musei di Villa Torlonia
    • Casina delle Civette
    • Casino Nobile
  • Museo Civico di Zoologia
  • Museo di Casal de’ Pazzi
  • Museo Nazionale degli Strumenti Musicali
  • Museum of Civilisations
    • Museo Nazionale Preistorico ed Etnografico “Luigi Pigorini”
    • Museo Nazionale dell’Alto Medioevo
    • Museo Nazionale delle Arti e Tradizioni Popolari
    • Museo Nazionale d’Arte Orientale “Giuseppe Tucci

It's a bit complicated, but in brief: There are two versions.

  • The Roma Pass 72 hours costs €38.50 ($43), lasts 3 days, and covers free admission to 2 sights.
  • The Roma Pass 48 hours costs €28 ($31), lasts 2 days, and covers free admission to 1 sight. 

Either pass gets you:

  • Free admission into the first TWO sights you visit from a list of 45 museums, sights, and archeological areas—nearly everything in Rome except, unfortunately, the Vatican Museums (though see the Omnia Card below for one that also covers that).
  • Discounted admission to all other sights: After your first two freebies—which, unfortunately, have to be the first two you visit, so plan your sightseeing accordingly to ensure you hit two of the priciest sights immediately—you get a varying amount of discount (anywhere from 17% to 50%) on entry to all other sights on the list.
  • Head-to-the-front-of-the-security-line privileges at the Colosseum, Castel Sant’Angelo and Musei Capitolini.
  • Unlimited rides on all public buses and the Metro (an €18 ($20) value in of itself—or €12.50 ($14) for the 48 version). Note this does not cover the airport train.
  • Discounts on bus and other tours and on cultural events (theater, art shows, opera, dance, music).
  • Sightseing map

Is the Roma Pass worth it?

  • Coverage: Pretty impressive, covering 45 sights and nearly everything in Rome save the Vatican, plus all public transport. The downside is that there's no way to pack all of that sightseeing into three days.
  • Savings: Since the public transportation function is already worth €18 ($20) (how much a three-day transport-only ticket costs), the sightseeing portion of pass really costs €20 ($22).
  • Upshot: Considering the transit value, the Roma Pass card will pay for itself if you use it simply to get free entry to the Forum/Colosseum/Palatine Hill (which costs €12 ($13)) and one other major sight—perhaps the Galleria Borghese (€15 ($17)), Capitoline Museums (€11.50 ($13)), or Museo Nazionale Romano (€10 ($11)). After that, the discounts at further sights will just be gravy.
  • Where to get it: In advance through Context Travel, or once in Rome at any participating museum, Rome tourist info point, major Metro stations, or Romapass.it.

Omnia Vatican and Roma Pass—Bad Deal

The Omnia Vatican and Roma Pass card basically a 3-day Roma Pass (see above) plusVatican Museums pass plus a three-day hop-on/hop-off bus tour pass. 

And it costs a whopping €113 ($125).

  • Coverage: You get free entry and skip-the-line privileges to the Vatican Museum and St. Peter's (which is already free), free entry to two sights of your choice (oddly, limited to the biggies like the Colosseum/Roman Forum/Palatine Hill, Capitolini Museums, Galleria Borghese, or Castel Sant'Angelo), that discounted entry to 40+ other Roma Pass sights, the Roma Pass free public transit, a 3-day pass for a hop-on/hop-off bus, and free downloadable audio tours at St. Peter's and a few other major churches.
  • Savings: Most of the savings you would have already gotten with just a €38.50 ($43) Roma Pass. That leaves just the Vatican Museums (value: €17 ($19) at the door, or €21 ($23) if you book ahead to avoid the line) and the tourist bus pass. That bus is where the value seems the biggest: those buses run an average of about €30 ($33) per day, so techncially that a €90 ($100) savings. However, since you already have a public transit card with the Roma Pass, would you really take the hop-on/hop-off bus three days in a row? I mean, once, maybe, for the commentary track. After that, the city buses and Metro can usually have stops closer to all the other places you want to go. So I'm calling this just a €25.50 ($28) savings (because, with the Roma Pass, you get 15% off one of these €30 ($33) buses to begin with). 
  • Upshot: You could get nearly the same package for just €85 ($94) by getting the Roma Pass, using it to buy the one-day hop-on/hop-off bus tour, and booking skip-the-line tickets for the Vatican Museum on your own. Is it really worth the extra €28 ($31) to skip-the-line at St. Peter's and download a few audio-guide apps? Nope.
  • Where to get it: From Romeandvaticanpass.com and then either pay for shipping or pick it up at one of 3 Rome spots; easier: just get it from Viator.com.
Useful Italian phrases

Useful Italian for sightseeing

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is?... Dov'é doh-VAY
...the museum il museo eel moo-ZAY-yo
...the church la chiesa lah key-YAY-zah
...the cathedral il duomo [or] la cattedrale eel DUO-mo [or] lah cah-the-DRAH-leh
     
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
Closed day giorno di riposo JOR-no dee ree-PO-zo
Weekdays (Mon-Sat) feriali fair-ee-YA-lee
Sunday & holidays festivi fe-STEE-vee
     
ticket biglietto beel-YET-toh
two adults due adulti DOO-way ah-DOOL-tee
one child un bambino oon bahm-BEE-no
one student uno studente OO-noh stu-DENT-ay
one senior un pensionato oon pen-see-yo-NAH-toh

Basic phrases in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) pro-nun-see-YAY-shun
thank you grazie GRAT-tzee-yay
please per favore pair fa-VOHR-ray
yes si see
no no no
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? PAR-la een-GLAY-zay
I don't understand Non capisco non ka-PEESK-koh
I'm sorry Mi dispiace mee dees-pee-YAT-chay
How much is it? Quanto costa? KWAN-toh COST-ah
That's too much É troppo ay TROH-po
     
Good day Buon giorno bwohn JOUR-noh
Good evening Buona sera BWOH-nah SAIR-rah
Good night Buona notte BWOH-nah NOTE-tay
Goodbye Arrivederci ah-ree-vah-DAIR-chee
Excuse me (to get attention) Scusi SKOO-zee
Excuse me (to get past someone) Permesso pair-MEH-so
     
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...the bathroom il bagno eel BHAN-yoh
...train station la ferroviaria lah fair-o-vee-YAR-ree-yah
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
information informazione in-for-ma-tzee-OH-nay

Days, months, and other calendar items in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
At what time... a che ora a kay O-rah
     
Yesterday ieri ee-YAIR-ee
Today oggi OH-jee
Tomorrow domani doh-MAHN-nee
Day after tomorrow dopo domani DOH-poh doh-MAHN-nee
     
a day un giorno oon je-YOR-no
Monday Lunedí loo-nay-DEE
Tuesday Martedí mar-tay-DEE
Wednesday Mercoledí mair-coh-lay-DEE
Thursday Giovedí jo-vay-DEE
Friday Venerdí ven-nair-DEE
Saturday Sabato SAH-baa-toh
Sunday Domenica doh-MEN-nee-ka
     
Mon-Sat Feriali fair-ee-YAHL-ee
Sun & holidays Festivi feh-STEE-vee
Daily Giornaliere joor-nahl-ee-YAIR-eh
     
a month una mese oon-ah MAY-zay
January gennaio jen-NAI-yo
February febbraio feh-BRI-yo
March marzo MAR-tzoh
April aprile ah-PREEL-ay
May maggio MAH-jee-oh
June giugno JEW-nyoh
July luglio LOO-lyoh
August agosto ah-GO-sto
September settembre set-TEM-bray
October ottobre oh-TOE-bray
November novembre no-VEM-bray
December dicembre de-CHEM-bray

Numbers in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
1 uno OO-no
2 due DOO-way
3 tre tray
4 quattro KWAH-troh
5 cinque CHEEN-kway
6 sei say
7 sette SET-tay
8 otto OH-toh
9 nove NO-vay
10 dieci dee-YAY-chee
11 undici OON-dee-chee
12 dodici DOH-dee-chee
13 tredici TRAY-dee-chee
14 quattordici kwa-TOR-dee-chee
15 quindici KWEEN-dee-chee
16 sedici SAY-dee-chee
17 diciasette dee-chee-ya-SET-tay
18 diciotto dee-CHO-toh
19 diciannove dee-chee-ya-NO-vay
20 venti VENT-tee
21* vent'uno* vent-OO-no
22* venti due* VENT-tee DOO-way
23* venti tre* VENT-tee TRAY
30 trenta TRAYN-tah
40 quaranta kwa-RAHN-tah
50 cinquanta cheen-KWAN-tah
60 sessanta say-SAHN-tah
70 settanta seh-TAHN-tah
80 ottanta oh-TAHN-tah
90 novanta no-VAHN-tah
100 cento CHEN-toh
1,000 mille MEEL-lay
5,000 cinque milla CHEEN-kway MEEL-lah
10,000 dieci milla dee-YAY-chee MEEL-lah


* You can use this formula for all Italian ten-place numbers—so 31 is trent'uno, 32 is trenta due, 33 is trenta tre, etc. Note that—like uno (one), otto (eight) also starts with a vowel—all "-8" numbers are also abbreviated (vent'otto, trent'otto, etc.).

 

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