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Rome - hop on/off bus tour - any recommendations?

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Apr 23rd, 2010, 01:03 PM
  #1
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Rome - hop on/off bus tour - any recommendations?

We'll be visiting Rome for the first time at the end of August but only have 2.5 days. One of the things we love to do when exploring a new city is to take a bus tour to get an overview of the place and then return to the sites of interest later on. I'm thinking this might be a good way to ease into our first day to try and shake off the jet lag. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has done one of these tours and any recommendations would be appreciated. Also, I understand the city buses offer a hop on/off service. Just wondering if these are comparable to the private tours or better/worse. Many thanks for any help.
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Apr 23rd, 2010, 01:10 PM
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We did this a couple of years ago and I think it is a great way to get aoround Rome in a limited amount of time. We used the "110" bus and I think it is a city owned HOHO bus.We got a 2 days pass and this also entitles you to get out to the Appian Way area.
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Apr 23rd, 2010, 02:42 PM
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The way you use the city buses as a hop on/off is to buy an unlimited ticket. I just used Biglietto Turistico Integrato (BTI) I bought from a magazine stand at Termini for 11EU and used on buses and metros for three days. I would have bought a Roma Pass for 27EU, but this is a culture week and all national museums in Italy are either free or highly reduced price. The TI even had a sign saying that you don't need a Roma Pass this week.

City vs. private is a trade-off. The city bus system is extensive. You can also use the pass on metro which is a godsend during rush hour if your route matches the metro route. HOWEVER, you share the city transport system with everyone else during rush hours, with school kids, and yes with the pickpockets.
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Apr 25th, 2010, 12:05 PM
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letsgo39 and greg,thanks so much for your responses. The city operated bus seems to have its advantages - specifically the Roma Pass which makes alot of sense (assuming it is not during another culture week). Appreciate your help!
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Apr 25th, 2010, 12:12 PM
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We did the exact thing in October. It was a great way to see the city in a few hours and shake the effects of jetlag (sit up top in the open air. You can jump on a number of double decker buses on almost any corner...buy your ticket when you get on and it lasts for 24 or 48 hours. I think we went on Rome Open Tour (green bus). Rome is the best...you can't go wrong. Have fun.
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Jul 26th, 2010, 02:51 PM
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Just another question I'm hoping someone can clarify for me - re: double decker buses, are these all privately run or are there open top city buses that we can take with a Roma pass. I'm not sure if SFGIANTSFAN was referring to the city buses or a private company. Thanks for the help.
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Jul 26th, 2010, 03:06 PM
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I can't remember if it was a public or private tour company, but we did use the HOHO bus tour just as you are thinking of doing. We walked to the Colliseum from our hotel (Hotel San Carlo) which really helped with jet lag on the first day. However, we were really exhausted at the end of the day, and caught the HOHO bus at the Colliseum for a tour of the city on the ride back to the hotel. It was an open-top bus. Check your earphones right away, though, to make sure they are working properly. If not, change seats as soon as you can. I'll tell you right now that your 2.5 days is way too short. That's what we had. Just impossible.
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Jul 27th, 2010, 05:24 AM
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Thanks elnap29 for your comments. Did you get a Roma pass at all or just pay for the bus separately? I know that in 2.5 days we'll only just be scratching the surface but we'll get a good idea of what it's like if we want to go back and spend more time.
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Jul 27th, 2010, 05:35 AM
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There are some 6 companies operating a HOHO:
- the 110 (executed by the local public transport company; was 8 years ago the first HOHO in Rome)
- one operated by the OPR, say the Pelgrims Bureau of the Vatican, more concentrated on christian monuments, like St Pauls
- the ArcheoBus (public trasp. company): Via Appia
- Ciao, which operates in almost every city in Europe (I think they have better prices)
- then one which combines bus with boat (that is: over the Tiber River)
- another one with old London double deckers

maybe I forget one...

Rome Pass offers modest reductions on several of these HOHO:

http://www.romapass.it/p.aspx?l=en&tid=19
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Jul 27th, 2010, 07:49 AM
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IMHO, they are overpriced and offer little but a nice drive around the sites.
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Jul 27th, 2010, 08:20 AM
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We've done the 110 bus from Termini, and it's OK, a fairly good overview. It kind of drove me nuts listening to the same spiel in 4 languages (which happened to be ones that I speak), so I found myself more occupied with ruminating on the variations in etymology than with the historical facts being offered, but it was a horribly hot August day, so it was nice to be in an air-conditioned place for an hour or so.
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Jul 27th, 2010, 02:20 PM
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I can't remember if it was a Roma Pass, but it seems to me the ticket was good for 24 hours. However, we didn't use it again. There wasn't time. We really enjoyed walking around the city.
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Jul 27th, 2010, 02:40 PM
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We were in Rome in June. I don't ever understand bus systems, and the metro in Rome just doesn't get you anywhere very much. After we left the Colosseum/Forum tour, we were hot and tired. We got on the 110 for 11E each. It was a great way to rest and see some of the city that we would not have made it to otherwise. The earphones did not work very well, but I knew the city well enough to tell the others what they were seeing.

The date and time on our tickets was very hard to read, but we tried it the next day, even though our tickets should have expired, just to ride from out apartment near Trevi over to the Vatican. Then my ticket was apparently still good even after that, because I took it over to the Mouth of Truth and then back to Trevi! It does stop running around 8PM or so.
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Jul 27th, 2010, 02:55 PM
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I would normally take the same approch - a hop on hop off to scan the city. Can I just say that Rome is unlike most modern cities in that all bar one of the 'must see's' are within a very small area. Also that the city really is best seen on foot.

If this were me, Id immediately pick up one of the many city maps and just walk - within an hour or so you will have walked and seen the city for that initial 'gettng to know you' feeling.

The only thing that really needs transport is the Vatican on the other side of the river. Everything else really is very close together and walking through Rome is such a pleasure in itself.
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Jul 27th, 2010, 03:53 PM
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Thanks everyone for all your tips. Fashionista, I was beginning to come to the same conclusion about walking. It really is the best way to get a feel for a place. We'll see when we get there and then decide. Grazie mille!
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