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Transportation in Rome

There’s more to life in Rome than sipping a cappuccino and window shopping on the Via dei Condotti. Read on for InterNations’ helpful tips for expat life in Rome. From housing and healthcare, to schools and transportation — we’ve got it covered.
If you decide to drive in Rome, be aware that parking space is often rather limited.

How to Get an Italian Driving License

The idea of driving in Italy can be a daunting one. Although the Italians seem to have gained a reputation for slightly erratic and dangerous driving, Rome’s roads are not as bad as you may think. If you decide you want to make your daily commute by car, then you will need a valid license.

long as your old driving license was issued in another EU/EEA member state and is still valid, you are in luck. You can use your current license until it expires. If you are still living in Italy at the point of expiry, then you will need to apply for an Italian license. All EU licenses must be renewed every five to ten years, depending on your age. Read our guide to Driving in Italy for more information on driving regulations.

Driving Permits for Non-EU Nationals

A number of other countries have reciprocal agreements with Italy. This means that you can swap your driver’s license from abroad for an Italian permit within one year of arrival. This agreement applies to nationals of the following countries:

  • Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Croatia, El Salvador, Ecuador, Japan, Lebanon
  • Macedonia, Morocco, Moldova, Monaco, the Philippines
  • Serbia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay

Drivers from other countries — with the exception of diplomatic staff from Canada, Chile, the US, and Zambia — have to obtain an Italian driving license, by taking both a written theory test and a practical driving exam. You must be at least 18 years old to do this.

To find out more, get in touch with the Ufficio della Motorizzazione (transport office) or one of the several driving schools in Rome that cater to foreign customers.

Public Transportation in Rome: Metro and Tram

Some expats prefer to avoid the chaos of Rome’s crowded urban highways, narrow and crooked streets, and instead rely on the city’s large public transport network.

The quickest way of getting around the city is the Metropolitana di Roma, short: the Metro.

Rome’s metro system now consists of three lines — A, B, and C (which opened in 2014). There are also three urban railway lines (Ferrovie Urbane) — Roma Lido, Roma Giardinetti, and Roma Nord — which connect the suburbs to the city center. There is also the option of taking the tram, which has six lines across the city. The metro and tram are a good, and faster, alternative to driving, as they are not affected by the traffic jams that regularly affect the city. Rome’s public transportation, run by ATAC, is fully integrated, meaning that you can travel on the various forms of transportation with a single ticket.

Public Transportation in Rome: Bus and Taxi

Another option is to take the bus. Rome has plenty of bus lines connecting much of the city, however, they rarely stick to a regular timetable. More and more bus stops have screens showing when the next bus is due to arrive, but this can be quite unreliable. Only a linea estatta follows a fixed timetable. The majority of buses are autobus urbano. There are also linea espresso (express lines), which connect the city with the surrounding areas, and make fewer stops. The bus notturno (night bus) — clearly marked with a little owl symbol — operates between midnight and 6:00 am, when all other public transportation is closed.

There is also the option to take a taxi. Taxi drivers in Rome don’t have the best reputation, and are known for overcharging people. To minimize the risk of being ripped off, make sure you only take licensed cabs. These are easy to spot — the cars are generally white or yellow, with a TAXI roof sign, and they often have a SPQR sign on one of their doors. In contrast to other cities, it is uncommon to hail a cab in the street. Instead, you generally need to wait at a designated taxi rank or book in advance. In Rome, it is considered polite to tip the driver up to 10% of the fare.


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