Roma Termini is Rome‘s central railway station and the adjacent Piazza dei Cinquecento square is its main bus station. The most important bus line, 64, which connects the railway station to the Vatican City and stops near many of the other tourist attractions, starts from the Piazza dei Cinquecento.
City Buses Rome
Right in the middle of the Piazza dei Cinquecento you can find the ATAC office. ATAC is the name of Rome‘s local bus company and at their office you can get information about routes (but no bus map) and buy tickets for the city’s public transportation system.
Bus drivers are not allowed to sell tickets in Rome. Nowadays many, but not all, buses have vending machines, so it is better to buy your tickets in advance, from tobacco shops or newspaper kiosks.
The ticket has to be validated in one of the small yellow machines in the bus. In case these are out of order, which is not uncommon, you have to write the date, time and boarding place on the ticket.
Cheating can be tempting: the Italians themselves never seem to validate their tickets, but this is misleading since they usually have monthly or yearly passes. The buses are not checked very often, but if a conductor gets on and you do not have a ticket the fine can be steep.
Most bus lines have numbers, but some lines (for a reason I’ve never been able to figure out) have a letter. The H-bus goes from Termini to the picturesque Trastevere area and the M-bus goes to the Auditorium Parco della Musica, a beautiful building where jazz and pop concerts take place.
Some bus lines have the letter E after the number. The E signifies that these are Express-buses, that do not stop at every stop. The main one of these is the 40E which follows the same route as the 64 (and is just as full of pick-pockets).
The buses that have an N before the number are night buses. These run between midnight and 5.30am. The N1 stops at every station of the Line A metro and the N2 stops at every line B station.
There are no up-to-date maps of the Roman bus system. The public transportation maps sold in newspaper stands and souvenir shops are out of date, so it is better to use the ATAC website if you want to find out how to reach a particular destination or to ask the receptionist at your hotel, B&B or hostel.
Important Bus Lines Rome
- 64 and 40E: Both lines go from Termini to the Vatican City and back. They travel via Piazza della Repubblica, Via Nazionale, Piazza Venezia and the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, with stops at walking distance from the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and Campo de’ Fiori. The 64 halts at every stop, the 40 skips several. Both of them are full of pickpockets, so keep your eyes open.
- 32: For football lovers, the 32 is the bus from the Ottaviano metro station to the Olympic Stadium. If the match is played late at night, you might have a hard time getting onto the bus on the way back.
- 910: This bus takes you from Roma Termini to the Galleria Borghese, and from there to Piazza Mancini, which is not far from the Olympic Stadium, and provides an alternative route on the return trip after the match.
- H: The H bus travels via the Via Nazionale and the Piazza Venezia to the Trastevere nighttime district. The return buses from Trastevere in the evening are not very frequent, so you might end up walking to Piazza Venezia and taking one of the many night buses from there to Termini.