Living in Rome?
Transportation in Rome
How to Get an Italian Driving License
If the fact that Italy has a fairly high rate of car accidents does not faze you, you might be interested in acquiring an Italian driving license. In case you want to make your daily commute to work by car, it’s a type B license that you need.
As long as your old driving permit was issued in another EU/EEA member state and is still valid, you are in luck. You don’t even need an Italian license.
However, you should register your foreign permit at the municipal office (in case of loss or theft) and have an official translation made via the ACI (Automobile Club d’Italia). Furthermore, you must renew your non-Italian driving license at the same intervals as local drivers – depending on your age, this becomes necessary every five or ten years.
Driving Permits for Non-EU Nationals
A number of other countries have reciprocal agreements with Italy: 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.
They must be at least 18 years of age, possess a learner’s permit (foglio rosa), and pass a theoretical as well as practical driving exam. 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 stressful chaos caused by Rome’s crowded urban highways, narrow and crooked streets, and cheerfully cavalier scooter drivers. But once you forgo driving your own car, you utterly depend on the city’s large public transport network.
The quickest way of getting around the city is the Metropolitana di Roma, short: Metro. At the moment, it consists of two underground lines and three urban railway lines (Roma Lido, Roma Giardinetti, Roma Nord). Line B1 was recently extended, and the construction of another line is currently under way. In a few years, the Metro will carry even more passengers across the city.
Urban and suburban trams are a good alternative to the Metro since they aren’t as affected by traffic jams as the numerous bus lines. Both trams and buses are run by the ATAC. The route planner on the ATAC website helps you find the quickest connection.
Public Transportation in Rome: Bus and Taxi
If you happen to stroll down a street in Rome on aching feet, look out for the ubiquitous yellow signs marking the nearest bus stop. An autobus urbano offers normal service, while a green linea espressa sign indicates a faster express bus that skips quite a few stops.
Unfortunately, there are few precise bus schedules anywhere. You simply wait for a bus to show up – however long it may take. Only a linea esatta bus follows a regular timetable, so watch out for a red sign at the bus stop. Last but not least, the bus notturno with its cute owl symbol comes in handy for returning night owls: All other public transport services are closed between around midnight and 5:30 am.
As a last resort, you can take a taxi. Make sure to choose a licensed one: Licensed taxis in Rome are easy to recognize. The cars are generally white or yellow and have a SPQR sign on one of their doors. In contrast to other cities, you can’t simply hail a taxi in the street. You need to wait at a designated taxi rank or call the taxi company directly.
The driver switches on the meter as soon as the taxi is dispatched, so you’ll have to pay for the additional distance. Radio Taxi (3570) is one of the biggest taxi companies in Rome, and they list their fares (tariffe) on their website. It’s considered polite to tip the driver with up to 10% of the fare.
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