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Fodor's 25 Best Rome - Missing Info

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The 25 Best Rome book is an excellent resource, but I noticed that there are information gaps, particularly with regards to museum passes (Roma Pass). Is there any reason for this omission?

Also, there is also an Architectural Site Pass, (which I think is better than the Roma Pass) but when I tried to order this pass online, the "Buy Now" link at the website is not functional, and I found myself going in circles. Later, in an FAQ page on the same website, I read that this pass must be picked up after 24 hours of purchase. The answer in the FAQ is confusing. Does the answer mean that I MUST pick up the pass within 24 hours, or does it mean that I can pick up the pass 24 hours and anytime thereafter? Might this be the reason why I could not buy the pass online on Oct. 28, when my planned visit will be Nov. 26-Nov.29?

Anyone have any experience with the Roma Pass or the Architectural Site Pass? (Particularly with regards to purchasing in advance online from the US and picking it up later in Rome)


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    The Roma Pass is no longer the bargain it once was. It now costs €38.50 for 72 hours and €28 for 48 hours. With the 72-hour pass, you get 2 free museum entrances, and discounts on any other covered museums during the course of the 72 hours. You also get 72 hours of use of all means of public transportation. The most expensive visits in Rome (the Borghese Gallery and the Capitoline Museums) cost €15 each. (The Borghese Gallery usually costs only €13, but there's a €2 supplement just now, because there's a temporary exhibit.) Most of the discounts are between €1 and €2. There are a few exceptions. The Colosseum has a €4.50 discount, so if you visited 2 expensive places free (using the 72-hour pass) and got a discount on the Colosseum, you'd only need to visit a fourth museum, or use public transportation occasionally, to make the pass pay off.

    The value of the transportation benefit depends on how much you'd really use public transportation. Many of the attractions in Rome are quite near one another, and walking is often the quickest and most convenient way to get around. A single ticket costs €1.50, including transfers. I find that I use on average about €3 a day on transportation. Most people end up using public transportation very little; the buses go everywhere, but tourists don't seem to like buses. The metro doesn't cover a lot of the historic center.

    You really need to do a calculation to see if the Roma Pass would pay off for you. This document, which has the full and discounted prices of all covered museums and archaeological sites, will help you do so. I would consider at the maxiumum €5 per day for transportation, and it's likely that you wouldn't even use that much.

    As far as the Archaeology Card, at first glance it seems to be a better bargain for those who are mainly interested in archaeological sites and museums related to ancient Rome. It costs €23 and is valid for seven days. It includes 11 entrances, but no transportation.

    However, you can get the eleven entrances in separate packages, which might cost less, unless you want to visit all 11 places.

    You can get the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, Palatine Museum and Roman Forum for €12. The entrance ticket for any one of them is good for the others. (There is also a €2 reservation fee if you buy online.)

    The four sites of the National Roman Museum cost €10.

    There is a combined ticket, €7, called the Appia Antica package, for the Baths of Caracalla and the two sites on the Via Appia Antica.

    So, the Archaeology Card will save you money if you had intended to use all three of these partial packages. If you wanted to use only two of them, it would be cheaper to buy the separate packages.

    Another thing to remember is that all of the places covered by the Archaeology Card are also covered by the Roma Pass, and that those sites which are part of a package count as only one entrance. Make sure to reserve the stub of the first of the package sites to show at the others, so that it won't count as a new entrance. The "package" entrances can be used over a period of several days: two consecutive days for the Colosseum/Palatine Hill/Roman Forum site, and three consecutive days for the four locations of the National Roman Museum. I'm not sure how many days you have to use the Appia Antica package. In all cases, in order to be covered by the Roma Pass, the various locations have to be visited within the period of the pass validity.

    One thing I don't recommend is buying any pass and then trying to find ways to make it pay off. The vast majority of museums and archaeological sites in Rome cost very little, and it would make sense to me to first decide what you want to visit, then check the costs on the website I've indicated above.

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