Is the Roma Pass worth it when traveling to Rome?

Is the Roma Pass worth it when traveling to Rome?
Rome, Image by Markus L via Flickr

The eternal city is, at the same time, the easiest and the most challenging to visit. You want to see everything in as little time as possible while making the most of your time there. Organizing your plans for 3 days in Rome can seem overly complicated and everyone’s answer to this matter seems to be the same: the Roma Pass. Here are the answers to every questions you could have about the Roma Pass, if it’s worth it, and how to plan your trip accordingly.

What is the Roma Pass?

In a few words, the Roma Pass is a pass covering numerous state-owned museums and sites. It also serves as a pass to the Rome public transport, valid for unlimited metro, bus, and train travel within the city, during the validity of the Pass. There are currently two options: The Roma Pass 48h and the Roma Pass 72h.

The cards offer free entry to 1 or 2 attractions, depending on what pass you bought. Following this, you get discounts on more attractions, eventsexhibitions, and travel guides.

How does the pass work?

Roma Pass 72 hours allows direct access to the first 2 museums/sites you visit. From the 3rd site onwards it is necessary to go to the ticket office to purchase a reduced ticket. (Note that to benefit from the perks of the card, everything you use it for you should be within the “72 hours” timeframe.) Reduced tickets are usually € 2-3 cheaper than the full-rate ones. However, as of 2023, the direct access for Roma pass holders, which used to be the card’s main perk, is temporarily suspended. It is highly recommended to check the access/booking rules and the opening hours of every spot you wish to visit.

The only difference between the 48h pass and the 72h pass, other than the duration, is that it only allows 1 free attraction.

roma pass cost
Trevi Fountain, Image by Daniel Aragay via Flickr
Vatican Museum, Image by Gary Campbell-Hall via Flickr

Which attractions are covered by the pass?

The ColosseumRoman Forum (and Palatine Hill), Castel Sant’AngeloBorghese Gallery, National Museum of Rome, and Capitoline Museums are all covered by the Roma Pass. An exhaustive list of all museums and archaeological sites can be found here. This list does not include the hidden gems (the so-called Unusual Routes), cultural activities, and tourist services for which you can get discounts.

Do the free visits have to be the first two sites?

Yes. There is no way around this, unfortunately.

What sites at the Vatican are covered by the Roma Pass?

Sites at the Vatican aren’t included in the pass. It might be in part due to the fact that the Vatican is its own country and not part of the city of Rome. To have access to the Vatican museums, you’d need to buy the Omnia Card: It included access to the Vatican museums, the Sistine Chapel and the Roma Pass. 

How does it work at combo sites like the Colosseum?

The museums and archaeological sites with combined entry are: the ColosseumVilla Torlonia MuseumsNational Museum Of RomeGalleria Nazionale D’Arte Antica, and Parco Archeologico Dell’appia Antica

Each of the sites mentioned above has 2 or more sites with whom they can be “combined” (visited with the same “ticket”). For example, having a ticket for the Colosseum grants you access to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. (The Forum museum is however excluded.) For combo sites, you usually have two days to visit the combo sites. All visits must be made during the validity of the pass and you can only enter each site once. Nonetheless, as the Colosseum and the Roman Forum are part of the same “site”, you’ll have to visit both at the same time. (What a headache…)

For the Colosseum, you still have to book a “Free Ticket” online.

Is transport to and from the airport included in the pass?

No, none of the lines going to or from the Rome–Fiumicino International Airport (FCO) are covered by the Roma Pass. This means you’ll have to pay to use the Leonardo Express train, FR1 metropolitan train, and the local urban services.

If there is an exhibition at the museum, is it included in the admission?

Yes, the Roma Pass usually includes any temporary exhibition held at your free attractions. If you don’t have any free attractions left, you’ll have access to a reduced ticket.

Museums included in the Roma Pass

  • Accademia Nazionale di San Luca
  • Circo Massimo
  • Galleria Borghese
  • Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Roma Capitale
  • Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica in Palazzo Barberini e Palazzo Corsini – Palazzo Barberini et Palazzo Corsini
  • Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea
  • Galleria Spada
  • Mausoleo di Augusto
  • MAXXI – Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo
  • Mercati di Traiano – Museo dei Fori Imperiali
  • Musei Capitolini
  • Musei di Villa Torlonia
  • Museo Carlo Bilotti Aranciera di Villa Borghese
  • Museo Civico di Zoologia
  • Museo dell’Ara Pacis
  • Museo della Repubblica Romana e della memoria garibaldina
  • Museo delle Mura
  • Museo di Casal de’ Pazzi
  • Museo di Roma
  • Museo di Roma in Trastevere
  • Museo di Scultura Antica Giovanni Barracco
  • Museo Napoleonico
  • Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo
  • Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia
  • Museo Nazionale Romano
  • Museo Pietro Canonica a Villa Borghese
  • Museum of Civilisations
  • Palazzo Valentini
  • Parco archeologico del Colosseo, Foro Romano & Palatino
  • Parco Archeologico dell’Appia Antica
  • Terme di Caracalla
  • Villa di Massenzio e Mausoleo di Romolo

What museum are always free?

Admission is always free to the following museums:

  • Accademia Nazionale di San Luca
  • Museo Carlo Bilotti a Villa Borghese
  • Museo della Repubblica Romana e della memoria garibaldina
  • Museo delle Mura, Museo di Casal de’ Pazzi
  • Museo di Scultura Antica Giovanni Barracco
  • Museo Napoleonico
  • Museo Pietro Canonica a Villa Borghese
  • Villa di Massenzio

Using the Roma Pass might give you free access to the temporary exhibition of those museums.

Should I buy a pass for my kids?

The answer is simply no. The Roma Pass gives 3 perks: Free entrances, unlimited public transport tickets, and skip-the-line benefits. Anyone under 18 gets into state-run sites for free. The Roma Pass is, in this regard, pointless for children. In addition, if you have a “skip the line” ticket, the children accompanying you can also bypass the line. That’s just common sense! Therefore, the Roma Pass would only serve to save the cost of public transport. However, considering children under 10 travel for free on public transport when accompanied by an adult, it’s honestly not worth getting it just for that reason. Just buy them individual tickets as needed.

roma pass 72h
Colosseum, Image by Tom Kelly via Flickr
Temple of Venus, Image by Markus L via Flickr

How much does the Pass cost?

As of 2023, the cost of the 48h pass is 32 euros and the 72h pass is 52 euros.

How long is the pass valid for?

The passes are valid for the number of calendar days indicated and expire at midnight of the last day. They start as soon as you use them for either the first site or the first use on pubic transport. Be careful on when you start the pass. If you decide to use Roma Pass for the first time at 10:00 PM you are essentially wasting your entire first day, and t it will still expire at midnight on the last day.

Where to buy the Roma Pass – Should I buy online or wait until getting to Rome to get the Roma Pass?

There is no benefit to buying online. You don’t get any discounts for doing so. If you wait until getting to Rome, you can pick up the pass at any site that honors the Pass as well as other specific locations:

At the Tourist Information Points (Punti Informativi Turistici or PITs) of the City of Rome:

  • PIT Castel S. Angelo
  • PIT Ciampino
  • PIT Cinque Lune
  • PIT Fiumicino, International Arrivals area
  • PIT Minghetti
  • PIT Nazionale
  • PIT Termini
  • PIT Tiburtina,
  • PIT Fori
visiting the roman forum with the roma pass
Roman Forum, Image by Willem van Valkenburg via Flickr
Chiesa Barocca, Image by Gary Campbell-Hall via Flickr

How do I book the Colosseum underground tour, the Borghese gallery or Palazzo Valentini if I’m using the pass?

You’ll need to call to book these sites. Just let them know you’ll be using the pass for entry, and all you need is to book the tour.

  • Borghese Gallery : +39 06 32810
  • Palazzo Valentini : +39 06 8716 5343
  • Colosseum underground: +39 06 399 67 700

Should you get the Roma Pass?

I honestly think the Roma Pass may not always be worth it. The only way to know is to crunch the numbers. Choose the sites you wish to visit and add up the costs of entry of those covered by the pass. If you’re not saving much, just book the tickets individually. If it does, then buy the Roma Pass. Usually if you visit 3 or more attractions, taking the pass is a great idea. Bear in mind that most museums and in Rome are closed on Mondays and that you won’t be able to extend the card’s duration in such cases.

Many of the museums the Roma Pass covers are not museums that most tourists to Rome will visit unless they are a huge history or art buff. Yes, it also gives you unlimited access to public transport, but it restricts you to a specific timeframe and you will have to go to the trouble to get the pass. It will really be worth it once they bring back the Colosseum “skip the line” benefit. Until then, it’s really up to you!