Changes to the Roma Pass: is it still worth your money?
For most visitors to Rome, the Roma Pass is a very convenient way to make the most of the city’s public transport while simultaneously having access to a network of affiliated museums at free or discounted prices (depending on the type of Roma Pass purchased!).
So you can see why it has been popular as compared to, say, the Omnia Pass (we compared both passes on this post, here).
While the general functioning of this widely available card has remained the same, some of the participating attractions are changing the way the Roma Pass is to be used – or they’re withdrawing altogether from the scheme.
Therefore, is it still a good deal to buy one when you visit?
Changes at the Galleria Borghese
Until recently, having a Roma Pass on you meant that you could basically wave it at a ticket desk for the participating attractions to be allowed a free or discounted entrance there. You didn’t need to book any visit beforehand.
It’s not like that anymore.
Security concerns have made it so that major landmarks now require a booking – meaning a limited number of visitors will be allowed in each day, resulting in a much more enjoyable visit. However, this will also make it more difficult to decide last minute on your, say, holiday itinerary.
The Borghese Gallery is the perfect example of this kind of policy – the heads at this famous museum have always been strict about hour slots and maximum number of visitors allowed in per day. Except… The Borghese Gallery won’t be a part of the Roma Pass network anymore.
The news has been announced at the end of last month, leaving many tourists stunned (in a negative way). While it’s advertised as a temporary suspension, we’re not sure if the Borghese Gallery will go back to the Roma Pass any time soon.
However, looking at it as a glass half-full situation, it’s safe to say that the Borghese Gallery usually shadowed many other similar museums with far less restrictive policies: Galleria Corsini or Palazzo Barberini, as well as the Capitoline Museums, are alternatives of the highest level, as is the National Roman Museum network.
The Colosseum & other attractions
The Colosseum has also undergone huge changes, when it comes to the Roma Pass.
Taking a leaf out of the Borghese Gallery book, it is now mandatory to book your visit ahead of time if you intend to use your free Roma Pass entrance at the world famous amphitheatre, the Palatine Hill and Forum.
Booking your free ticket will have a cost of 2 EUR per person and can be done online at this address.
Palazzo Valentini, one of the seats for the local government under which the popular Domus Romane underground site is located, has also enforced a mandatory booking for Roma Pass holders.
The Baths of Caracalla, on the other hand, will offer a 4 EUR discount for each Roma Pass holder wanting to rent an audioguide during their visit at this majestic archaeological site.
For updated news on other participating attractions, we always recommend checking the whole list of museums and landmarks at the pass’ official website.
Let’s talk transport prices
The Roma Pass famously comes as a 48 hrs transport pass (at 28 EUR, with one free entrance to a museum of your choice) or as a 72 hrs transport pass (at 38,50 EUR, with two free entrances included). If your stay is any longer than what the pass covers, you will have to rely on single ride tickets each time you want to move around the city, or go for another pass that is only going to cover your commutes:
- A Roma 24H is 7 EUR
- A Roma 48H is 12,50 EUR
- A Roma 72H is 18,00 EUR
- Finally, an Atac Weekly Pass (called “CIS” and pronounced “cheez”) is 24 EUR.
As you can see, they’re much cheaper than a Roma Pass, but on the other hand many visitors overestimate the amount of buses and subway trains they’re going to board while in Rome.
Particularly when visiting the center of the city, where the higher density of landmarks and attractions is located, many people observe that public transport is simply not needed as many must-sees are really close to one another, and in areas that don’t have subway or bus stops.
In that sense, the transport “half” of the Roma Pass is usually underused unless you have walking disabilities that force you to rely on buses and the like.
Therefore, if transportation is the focus of your decision, you may end up not needing a Roma Pass at all and some other product may be a better fit for you.
Is the Roma Pass still worth your money?
The answer is… yes and no.
Meaning, it’s not for everyone coming to visit Rome.
With its current prices, it’s certainly much more convenient than the Omnia Pass offered by Vatican City, and we will keep recommending it in certain situations.
Not all of them, simply because no traveler has the same needs, so while the Roma Pass may be extremely cost-efficient to first-time visitors, especially those who cannot walk for long stretches or have health issues they have to consider, in its new incarnation it may also be a hassle and not worth the money to some, due to these mandatory booking, with processes that may not be exactly straightforward, for some of the most attractive… attractions (pardon the pun!).
What we do recommend is planning ahead of time and consider carefully what museums offer a free admission anyway during your visit – where they are located with respect to your location, whether they can be reached on foot or would require to board a bus or subway train.
Even more, keep in mind whether it would be more beneficial to hire a tour guide for some must-sees, limiting the use of Roma Pass to other landmarks. It’s an entirely personal process, but if you need recommendations we’ll be happy to help any way we can (by the way, have you checked our Partners’ page?).