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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tours a Great Way to Experience Rome

English: Colosseum, Rome, August 2007Image via WikipediaBy Sarah Dudleymore

This is a very family friendly service and is also a very good idea to jump start your vacation and get acquainted with the city, attractions, places and distances. Just have a tour, see what Rome has to offer, get off at your favourite place if you can't resist :) or take the whole loop and carefully choose your next top attraction to visit.
The buses are open top which allows you to enjoy full 360 degree panoramic views as you travel along your route.
There are many different companies (up to 7) that operate very similar core routes around the Rome sights.
Although all tours are loops where you can start at any point, nearly all operators start at Termini Station the main central station of Rome, connected to both metro lines A and B.
Generally you have the choice of a 24 or 48 hours ticket with which to make use of the 12 to 20 stops in the most beautiful, cultural and evocative areas of the Eternal city. The tours operate 365 days per year.
Open Top Buses
All of the buses are open-top and equipped with a personalized throwaway audio system which functions more than 8 languages languages, providing recorded commentary throughout the tour. Often there is also an English and Italian speaking host onboard each bus to assist with any queries. You will be provided with a set of earphones which you keep and use for the duration of your ticket.
The itinerary usually goes from Termini Station passing the Colosseum and Roman Forum then Circus Maximus and along the River Tiber, where you can walk over to Trastevere. Then back again to the other end of the Roman Forum and then Piazza Venezia. From Piazza Venezia it stop along the way near the Piazza Navona and Pantheon and then straight to the Vatican crossing the River Tiber.
After the Vatican most buses will route through the Villa Borghese, Via Vittorio Veneto, Piazza Barberini, Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. Then back to Termini. Check out the travel map for the specific bus operator of your choice for the detailed route.
Ticketing and Prices
Prices are between 15EUR and 20EUR for a 1-day ticket and between 23EUR and 25EUR for a 2-day ticket
Average time for a complete tour and about 2 hours total time departing about every 15-30 minutes usually between 9am to 6pm (last departure from Termini station)
Most operators offer a discounted fare for children aged 6 to 12 years old.
Major Rome Bus Tour Companies

  • Open Tour '110 Open'
  • City Sightseeing
  • Green Line
  • Ciao Roma
  • Roma Christiana
  • Archeobus
A couple of them are more 'thematic' than the others and specifically:

  • Roma Christiana in addition to the standard route has an extended tour that visits many Basilicas to the south of the city, Baths of Caracalla and is the only bus that visits Trastevere itself, even going up the hill behind Trastevere with great views down on the city.
  • ArcheoBus goes through the centre of Rome and then along the famous Park of Via Appia Antica, and the Christian catacombs stopping at many of the major archaeological sites.
Enjoy your tour!
Sarah Dudleymore is a professional travel consultant. She is working for "The Key to Italy" a travel agency specialized in Rome Apartments and Venice Apartments for Rent.

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