Basic Rome questions...

Jan 5th, 2013, 06:29 AM
  #1  
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Basic Rome questions...

Four of us will be in Rome late May. We will buy the Roma pass because I believe it will be convenient even though we may not save money.

Questions:

I plan to buy the passes upon arrival - can this be done at the airport with a credit card?

I can't determine if I should by the Roma-PIU pass? It looks like it just adds zone b to the public transport and the only place this may help is with the Catacombs of Priscilla. We will stay at Campo de Fiori area, visit the Colosseum, Vatican, Borghese Gallery, the Pantheon, Spanish steps, Trevi Fountain (just the usual sight for first timers). I know Rome is compact and we can and will walk a lot. I don't think we need Zone b. Do you agree?

Do will still reserve tours at the Colosseum, Forum and Palatine Hill if we use the Roma pass for entry? I know we must for the Borghese Gallery.

I am thinking about scheduling the Colosseum the first day of arrival - it will be outside in the sun which will help our jet lag. Is this a bad idea? We are early 50's and two daughters, 21 and 19.

We will need about 700 Euros cash upon arrival at the airport to pay the driver and to pay the balance on our apartment. Plus spending money. Are we limited to how much cash we can withdraw from an ATM at the airport?

Thanks for answering any of these questions!
Cindywho is offline  
Jan 5th, 2013, 07:04 AM
  #2  
 
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There is a daily limit on how much cash you can withdraw from an ATM. It may vary a bit depending on the financial institution, but I think it's usually in the $400 range.

We're visiting Rome in February and doing many of the same things you are. My husband did the math on the Roma Pass, and it will help save (some) money. Especially if you factor in transportation.
Liadan is offline  
Jan 5th, 2013, 07:13 AM
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Open another bank account, probably at a different bank or credit union, so you can withdraw enough on arrival and also so you'll have a backup card in case the first is denied for some reason. It can happen when you least expect it so an atm card "b" is always a good idea.
MmePerdu is offline  
Jan 5th, 2013, 07:28 AM
  #4  
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Thank you for the help. Second bank account -good Idea. We could just place some of the funds in our daughters accounts. Last time were in Europe we opened ATM only cards as opposed to debit cards.
Cindywho is offline  
Jan 5th, 2013, 07:32 AM
  #5  
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Liadan, I like the idea of skipping lines and not having to dig out cash for metro/bus but just scanning the passes too.
Cindywho is offline  
Jan 5th, 2013, 07:52 AM
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<>

Definitely! And time is money and all. =)

And speaking of money, you probably already know this, but you should call your bank/CU to tell them you'll be traveling abroad. And when you do that, be smarter than me and make sure you ask what to do if the card gets denied. We went a week in the UK without being able to access our cash.

For this trip in Feb, we got some Euros in advance. Just in case...
Liadan is offline  
Jan 5th, 2013, 08:07 AM
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"What to do..." is to have enough in each ATM accessible account if 1 is denied. If one is denied or cancelled because of security concerns don't believe for a moment that your bank can remedy the situation in time to save your trip. You can, of course, rely on credit cards in such a case, be sure to call in advance also, and be sure to have at least 2.
MmePerdu is offline  
Jan 5th, 2013, 08:11 AM
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When we've had to have Euros to pay an apartment balance immediately on arrival, we've actually changed money here in the US. The rate may not be as good &/or there may be extra fees, but we feel it saves the hassle of running around to various ATMs on arrival when we're tired.
artsbabe is offline  
Jan 5th, 2013, 08:24 AM
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Or if you have a relative or close friend who's debit card *is not* tied to their saving's account (overdraft protection) put the extra cash you need there but get their checking account low just in case of theft.

Also I would always leave all my CC & Debit Card info including the phone numbers for those companies with persons I trusted in case I lost or was pickpocketed.
That way one phone call home and they could cancel that card(s) alot easier and faster than I could.

A tour and an admission ticket (RomaPass) are 2 seperate items even if you book a tour to any site you paid for the tour and are also responsible for your own admission ticket even at the Borghese Gallery.

The Catacombs of Priscilla with 4 people paying extra for the Pass's transportation maybe a taxi would be worth the extra cost?

9-10yrs ago I took a taxi from Termini to that Catacomb for 7e.

Plus if you wanted to keep the taxi cost lower you could bus to Termini with the Pass and grab a taxi there and then return back to Termini (Ask the Catacomb staff to call a taxi)?

Let's say today the cost is 9e plus a few euros extra for the pick-up so 21e for 4 vs the extended Pass' transport option or buying 8 single (for the R/T) tickets @ 1.50e.
Or pay extra to save time and get the taxi near your apartment for that leg.

Just curious, why the Catacombs of Priscilla vs the Catacombs on the Via Appia?
You could easily visit 2 of the 3 Catacombs there (plus some Roman ruins nearby) and if the Pass doesn't cover the transportation 8 tickets @1.50e would?

Also have a Plan B for your arrival day just in case everyone is not up to touring (if 1 person doesn't go they will either miss out or it will throw-off the group's schedule).
Plus there could always be delays in your arrival or problems touching base with the apartment owners.
Rostra is offline  
Jan 5th, 2013, 08:34 AM
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I meant to add;

The Catacombs of Priscilla is an excellent choice because IME the tour group was very small, not rushed and personal for things like asking questions vs the often times larger group tours of the Via Appia Catacombs.

Plus 2 of the 3 catacombs are bus tour stops so their might be a wait for an Engish tour timeslot.
Rostra is offline  
Jan 5th, 2013, 08:58 AM
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Sending ones self an email with all your credit/debit card information would be better, I think, than leaving it at home with whomever. A bank will want to hear from the cardholder, not a friend or relative, to take any action. A call or in some cases a secure email on the institution's website will be what you need to do if cards are lost.
MmePerdu is offline  
Jan 5th, 2013, 09:01 AM
  #12  
ira
 
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Hi Cw

>We will need about 700 Euros cash upon arrival at the airport to pay the driver and to pay the balance on our apartment..... Are we limited to how much cash we can withdraw from an ATM at the airport?<

B: Even if your bank allows you to withdraw $1000 pd, the ATM machine at the airport might limit you to 400E per withdrawal. Be prepared to have to get the money in more than one transaction.

A: You might want to consider getting 100E at your departure airport so as to have money for the driver. It will cost about $10 more than if you wait to get to Rome.

Enjoy your visit.

ira is offline  
Jan 5th, 2013, 09:18 AM
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I faced a similar problem needing to take a lot of cash for the first few days in Italy recently.
I just went to my regional bank in California where I purchased the euros I needed. My bank did have a relationship with BNP Italy to save on fees, but peace of mind won out and I ended up carrying $2000 euros with me. Turns out I seldom saw a BNP Italy bank anyway so I was glad I had the cash with me.
gailscout is offline  
Jan 5th, 2013, 09:35 AM
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For me, convenience wins. I use any bank that is in my path when I need cash even if it costs a bit more. That might also be true for the apartment money, to buy it from your bank at home if it saves worry.
MmePerdu is offline  
Jan 5th, 2013, 11:13 AM
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For instant access to credit card and passport info I keep a photocopied sheet with all of it in a pocket I pin under my clothes. Both sides of the cc's so I have the bank phone numbers.
MmePerdu is offline  
Jan 5th, 2013, 12:09 PM
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<>

But there is no limit to the number of ATM machines you can hit up.
StCirq is online now  
Jan 5th, 2013, 12:46 PM
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>>>I plan to buy the passes upon arrival - can this be done at the airport with a credit card?<<<

Yes, but you can't use them for transport into the city from the airports. It used to be the only place you could buy them at the airport was the Comune Roma desk, not other tourist info desks in the airport. The Comune Roma is to the right as you exit baggage claim which is glass doors. Turn right, follow the hallway (you'll see train signs), floor slopes up and there are a few shops. It was on the left in the line of shops.

>>>I can't determine if I should by the Roma-PIU pass?<<<

I doubt you will have the choice in May. For the last few years only the Roma Pass has been available during the higher tourist seasons. The Roma & Piu adds Tivoli/Villa d'Este and transportation to there.

>>>It looks like it just adds zone b to the public transport and the only place this may help is with the Catacombs of Priscilla.<<<

Not correct. You should be able to use a regular Roma Pass to reach that as it's in the city of Rome (inside the GRA). You can a take city bus #86, 92 or 310 from Roma Termini or from wherever you are in Rome (just figure your route on ATAC). You have to walk the last couple of blocks as the buses don't run on Via Salaria. On ATAC (Rome's public transport website) enter your route and it will tell you the transport to take. These catacombs don't show on ATAC as a selection (many sites do) so enter Villa Ada or Via Salario as your destination instead.
http://www.atac.roma.it/index.asp?lingua=ENG

>>>Plus if you wanted to keep the taxi cost lower you could bus to Termini with the Pass and grab a taxi there and then return back to Termini (Ask the Catacomb staff to call a taxi)?<<<

I see no point in going to Termini. If you are staying in the historic center, you can easily catch the little electric bus 116 there and take it all the way to Borghese or get off at the upper part of Via Veneto. Both are close to Villa Ada/Catacombs and a lot of taxis around.

The only difference in transport coverage between the two passes is the FR train lines. The regular Roma Pass no longer covers the FR lines (it used to cover them to a certain point). You can see on this map the metro and train lines. The regular Roma Pass includes the train lines that are gray. The Roma & Piu includes the other train lines designated FR. Both passes are only good to the cities designated in red on the lines they cover. You'll have to enlarge this a bit.
http://www.atac.roma.it/files/doc.asp?r=4

The city buses are covered as are the trams and electric buses that are allowed in the historic center. I use transport all the time in Rome and buy a pass every time.
http://www.atac.roma.it/files/doc.asp?r=9
http://www.atac.roma.it/files/doc.asp?r=5

The best use of the pass is for the Colosseum/Forum/Palantine (counts as one entrance - regular entrance cost is 12€) and Borhgese (11€). There are a couple of museums in the 12-14€ range, but you didn't list those.

As for cash, you each have a daily limit set by your bank($400?, $500?) just like you do at home, but the machines usually have a limit also (sometimes just 250€). The machines I encounter in Italy don't let you select a random amount. They have preset choices in 50€ increments. If the highest listed is 250€, you would be able to withdraw 250€ and then your husband would be able to withdraw 250€ with his card. You have to know the daily exchange rate also. If your home bank limit is $500, you would only be able to withdraw 350€ as 400€ would put you over $500 with the exchange rate. If your daily rate is $500 and the machine only allows up to 250€, you can put your card back in and do a second transaction for another 100€.
kybourbon is offline  
Jan 5th, 2013, 01:52 PM
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Ky. I am copying and pasting this great information for my trip in June! WOW!
willowjane is offline  
Jan 5th, 2013, 01:53 PM
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How much is the Roma Pass?
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