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Getting around Rome

Public transport

Rome’s public transport system includes a metro, trams, suburban trains and buses, most of which are run by ATAC (tel: +39 06 4695 3984; www.atac.roma.it). There are three metro lines with trains running every five to 10 minutes between 0500-2330.

All tickets must be pre-purchased and are available for sale at ATAC counters, tabacchi (newsagents) and at automatic ticket dispensers at metros. The cheapest ticket, the Biglietto Integrato a Tempo (BIT), is valid for up to 100 minutes of travel. One-day, two-day, three-day and weekly passes are also available.

Taxis

Taxi ranks, with official yellow and white taxis, are located at various points around the city centre. While you can book taxis by telephone, the meter is turned on immediately after the call and not on pick-up. Tipping is not expected. To pre-book a taxi, call Radio Taxi (tel: +39 06 3570), Radio Taxi Samarcanda (tel: +39 06 5551) or Pronto Taxi (tel: +39 06 6645).

Driving

Driving in Rome is complicated given the number of streets and the number of restricted driving zones (ZTL) in the city center, where traffic is restriced to non-residents in Zone B, C, D and E from Monday through Friday between 0630 and 1800 and on Saturdays between 1400 and 1800 and in Zone C from Monday until Friday between 0630 and 1900 and on Saturdays between 1400 and 1900.  In Zone Trastevere ZTL 2 traffic is restricted from Friday until Monday from 0930-0300; from Wednesday until Thursday from 0930-0300 between May and October. The restriction in Zone Travestere ZTL 2 is suspended in August.

Blue markings denote pay-and-display parking. You can pay for tickets at the meter or the nearest tobacconist. The most convenient car park is at Villa Borghese and is open 24 hours. Other car parks are located at Roma Termini and Roma Tiburtina stations.

Car hire

You can hire cars at the airport, railway station and hotels. You need to be at least 21 (age limits can vary depending on the car category) and require a credit card and an EU driving licence or an International Driving Permit (IDP).

Recommended car hire firms include Avis (tel: +39 06 481 4373; www.avisautonoleggio.it), Europcar (tel: +39 06 488 2854; www.europcar.it) and Maggiore (tel: +39 06 2245 6060; www.maggiore.it).

Bicycle hire

Bicycles, scooters and motorbikes are available for hire at Bici & Baci, Via del Viminale 5 (tel: +39 06 482 8443; www.bicibaci.com).

RomaRentBike, Via di San Paolo alla Regola 33 (tel: +39 380 643 2278; www.romarentbike.com), offers bike rental and bicycle tours.

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Featured Hotels

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Hotel Locarno

Close to Piazza del Popolo, the classy yet moderately priced Locarno dates back to 1925. It's full of atmospheric art deco details, from its rattling cage lift to the wood-polished bar. Each room is uniquely decorated with discreet antiques and coordinated Liberty-style wallpaper and fabrics. A real find.

Rose Garden Palace

Just off central Via Veneto, this is a business-like oasis. The interior is contemporary, with stylish design that sets it apart. The 59 bedrooms and six suites are spacious and serene, and there is the Il Roseto Restaurant, an outdoor courtyard and rose garden (hence the hotel's name) where you can breakfast and dine in fine weather.

Hassler Roma

The elegant Hassler Roma has awe-inspiring panoramic views over Rome. It's hosted a firmament of stars including Bill Clinton and Tom Cruise. The rooms are decorated in classic style, with sweeping floor-to-ceiling curtains, Venetian glass chandeliers and marble bathrooms. Ask for a room with either a balcony or terrace.

Grand Hotel Via Veneto

This 5-star hotel near the Borghese Gardens is worth a visit for the art collection alone - works by Picasso and Dali are among those that line the walls. An excellent spa and roof terrace make it great for a pampering weekend too.

The Fifteen Keys Hotel

This chic hotel in the Monti district in Central Rome has stylish, light-filled rooms that are just perfect to unwind in after a long day of sightseeing - if you need even more help to relax, just order an in-room massage. A breakfast buffet is available daily, and served in the courtyard garden in summer. Other facilities include a gorgeous bar and complimentary bike rentals.

Hotel de Monti

Hotel de Monti is situated on the third floor (no lift) of a 16th-century building in the bohemian Monti district, a ten-minute walk from Roma Termini station and a 15-minute walk from the Colosseum. The seven bedrooms are modest, but include air-conditioning, sound-proofing and en suite bathrooms, and a complimentary breakfast with excellent coffee is served in the room. Staff are extremely welcoming and helpful.