Episode #005: Andiamo! Getting around with taxis in Rome

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Rome is a city that is best explored on foot. But, at some point, you may need a taxi to get you from point A to point B. In episode five we’re sharing our insider tips on how to find, track and pay for taxis in Rome

Show notes

Rome taxis are a relatively cheap form of transport and often the most efficient. Buses and trams can be slow and the metro train system is very limited. We use taxis when we want to get across town in a hurry or when our feet are protesting too much walking. You’ll be covering a lot of ground in Rome so it’s a good idea to have this back up option.

You’ll learn what an official taxi looks like, how you can pay for your ride and what to expect when you catch a taxi from the airport to Rome city center. We discuss how many people plus luggage can fit in a standard taxi, the best ways to call a taxi and an app that’s a bit like Uber you can use in Rome. Speaking of Uber, this is probably not the best option for transit needs in Rome. We’ll tell you why.

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What you’ll learn in this episode

  1. What an official Rome taxi looks like
  2. How you can call a taxi in Rome
  3. How much a taxi costs to and from Rome’s Fiumicino airport
  4. Can you use Uber in Rome?
  5. When to use a private transfer or a taxi

Resources

  • FreeNow – a handy taxi app that works like Uber to book, track and pay for taxis when in Rome
  • Popular taxi ranks in Rome – Termini Station, Piazza della Repubblica, Piazza Venezia, Largo Argentina, Piazza delle Cinque Lune (near Piazza Navona), Piazza Barberini and Via Boncompagni (near Via Veneto)
  • Latest taxi rates and fare information – click here
  • Suntransfers – recommended if you would like a private transfer or need a larger vehicle for your party and luggage
  • How to get to Rome from the airport(s) – our guide to the best way to transit into central Rome
  • Rome itinerary – how to plan your days in the Eternal city
  • How to plan a trip to Italy – our article that takes you step by step through trip planning
  • Italy Travel Planning – the FREE Facebook group where you can ask questions and get inspiration for planning your trip
  • Travel shop where you’ll find items mentioned in the show 

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Transcript

Prefer to read along as you listen? Below is a full transcript of our episode conversation. Unfortunately it does not pick up our lovely Australian accents however!

Click here for full episode transcript

Intro: 00:05 Ciao and benvenuti to Untold Italy. I’m Josie and I’m Katy and we’re here to help you plan your trip to Italy. Between us, we have many years of travel experience and we want to help you uncover your own as yet untold stories and adventures in Italy. Each episode you’ll hear practical advice, tips and ideas to help you plan your own trips to the magical land of history, stunning landscapes, and a whole lot of pasta. We’ll have interviews from experts and focus on local destinations and frequently asked questions about traveling Italy. Thanks for listening and make sure to subscribe to our show. Now let’s get started on your regular dose of Bella Italia.

Josie: 00:51 Ciao everyone and welcome to this week’s Untold Italy.

Katy: 00:54 In this episode we’re talking to you about taxis in Rome. We get a lot of questions about this on our Italy travel planning Facebook group, and it’s a really good topic because taxis are pretty useful when you go to Rome. They’re relatively cheap and there, but there are definitely some tips to know before you go. Do you use taxis in Rome?

Josie: 01:14 Very, very limited because I’m a really big walker, so we just love exploring for the many times that we’ve been to Italy. It would be when we get tired and we’re probably over near the Colosseum and our hotels way over the other side of the city and we, we’d grab a taxi. So yeah, I think that depending on what you want to do, they are relatively cheap, buses are too slow. And I find the Metro, there’s only the two lines.

Katy: 01:39 Yeah. I think they’re building another line. They have been building it for 30 years or something. But yeah, I find taxis really, really useful in Rome because as Josie said, you really are walking a lot and you know, that’s great. And I think the last trip I was there, we were doing around 14 kilometers a day, which is, you know, by the time you get to the end of the day, you pretty tired. So taxis are relatively cheap and you, you should actually just know a few things before you use them. So the first thing to know is that there are official taxis in Rome and they are the white cars with a black taxi sign on the roof. And they are the only official taxis in Rome. So never ever get into a taxi or someone that says they’re a taxi that doesn’t look like that. If it’s like a red car with a white sign, no, that’s not a taxi. It’s a white car with a black sign.

Josie: 02:33 And Katy, I suppose also we should tell everyone never get into a taxi that they or someone when they approach you- includes anywhere in train stations, airports. If they come in, they’re hustling you, I call it the hustle or the taxi hustle. Definitely don’t go in when they’re approaching you. That’s right.

Katy: 02:51 So that’s when things tend to go wrong I think. And so you will find when arriving at Rome airport that there are people that approach you say, would you like a taxi? That’s not the right thing to do. You need to go straight to the taxi rank and go and get a taxi from there. Now taxis from the airport are useful as well. And they cost, there’s a flat fee of around 50 euros at time of recording. So that’s in the end of 2019 so you know the set price that you’re going to get when you get into the taxi to get into central Rome.

Josie: 03:25 I think it’s also good to ask, just to clarify, cause I know that before just go ask, “it’s 50 Euro, do you agree?” And then just get in and I think off you go.

Katy: 03:36 Yup. Exactly. And another good thing to confirm when you get into the taxi is whether they take card or cash. And so if they’re wanting, if you’ve only got a card on you, you don’t have 50 euros on you to pay cash, then you need to get out of that taxi and get another one.

Josie: 03:54 Yeah. I think that’s really important because not everyone’s taking card. And you just gotta be really, really careful on that one. So just ask cause them. It’s better to ask them to get at the other end and not have the money.

Katy: 04:05 Yeah. That’s when things tend to go a little bit wrong. The other, the other one, which is unfortunately a little bit of a scam is not having the right change. So make sure you know exactly what you’ve given the taxi driver and make sure you’ve got the 2 x 20s and a 10 or a 50 Euro note to give them.

Josie: 04:25 I agree, but don’t be too scared about that. Not everyone’s out to scam. It’s just being aware, like you would be in your own city. Just be aware, have the conversations before you get in because it just avoids a whole heap of issues and make sure you have the right cash on you. I agree with you, Katy.

Katy: 04:40 This is a another thing that’s a little bit different for taxis in Rome as well. So this is another tip – is that you can’t hail a taxi in Rome. So there’s no such thing as waving your hand in the air or whistling to get their attention. That won’t work. So what there are are specific taxi ranks around the city where you can line up to wait for your taxi and they’re in pretty much the main tourist areas that you want to, that you want that you’ll be at anyway. So there’s several near the Colosseum and Piazza, Navona, et cetera.

Josie: 05:13 And even near the train station we came out of the train station. There was a whole heap, it looks like a big line. I remember lining up thinking, Oh this is going to take a while. But they actually moved really quickly. So.

Katy: 05:22 yeah, there’s a couple at Termini actually. So you just follow the signs for the taxi at the train station and you’ll find lots of them there. So that’s one way to get a taxi. The other way is there’s a really super handy app. It’s called FreeNow and it works a lot like Uber. So you can download it before you leave for Rome and you can have it on your phone and add your credit card details in and you call a taxi just like you do with an Uber in your city and it will come and you can put the address your destination in, you can see how long going to take and the estimated fare, and then you can pay on the app as well. So I find that’s one of the most useful apps that you can have when you’re going to Italy actually.

Josie: 06:04 So Katy talking about Uber, which I find really interesting because I thought that Uber wasn’t something that you could get in Italy or even in Rome. But obviously you’ve just told me differently. How does that work in Rome?

Katy: 06:16 so they do have Uber in Rome, but it’s a pretty limited service and more, and I guess I need to qualify that. That’s at the time of recording. So you need to check. But it’s a limited service and there’s not so many cars available. And the taxi, I guess drivers have a very strong hold over the transport in Rome. And you know, you’re much better off getting a taxi through the free now app because there’s many, many more taxis than there are Ubers on the road. So it’s much, much more likely to get one when you want it.

Josie: 06:53 Yeah. I didn’t actually know that. I, I knew that the taxi sort of companies have a strong hold on that, so thanks for clarifying that. That’s really great. And I think that app would be really good. I’ve not used it again, I’m a really big walker. But if you, if you do get tired, you need to have that option. So I think that’s really great.

Katy: 07:12 Well, the time we used it was when our kids were four and we were walking around and it was so useful to have that free now app and just call a taxi when the kids had just reached the end of their day and they really didn’t want to walk any further.

Katy: 07:32 So the other thing that I would say is with the taxi is just to make sure you’re aware of how big they are so you do not try to squeeze too many people in. So I think they can come comfortably fit four adults if there’s no luggage and probably two to three adults plus luggage. So you wouldn’t want to, they’re not really huge cars like we find in Australia or in the United States. So you really need to be aware of you. If you’ve got a party of say five, you’re going to need two taxis. If you’ve got luggage you’re going to need either a bigger van or organize a transfer. I think.

Josie: 08:11 Yeah. So we traveled to two teenage children. Myself and my husband and I, if you’ve ever traveled with 18 year olds, they like to take everything. So we had a lot of luggage which I highly do not recommend. So we actually booked a transfer to make sure that we had the right size car, cause they do have the the vans and then we just didn’t have to worry. So they would pick us up. So really from the airport sometimes whether it’s there and we’ll talk about more when you go down to sort of Naples to go to Sorento for that sort of luggage. Because coming from Australia, we were there for six weeks. We needed the extra luggage or so my daughters keep telling me, but at this stage I think just be mindful of the size of the cars and the amount of luggage that you have. So I totally agree with that.

Katy: 08:56 Yeah. And I think from, for me as well, I think when we come from Australia, we’re traveling 24 hours to get there. So we’re very tired when we get off the plane. And most people, if you’re coming from the United States, you’re traveling at least six to eight hours and you’re still tired. A taxi is good. And there there’s plentiful taxis at the airport. However, like JC, I prefer to get a transfer because they usually cost around the same, around 50 euros and they’ll meet you in the arrivals hall and take your luggage with you and just make sure you safely get to your hotel and quickly the best way possible. So it’s a sort of like a no fuss option. We use a company called Sun Transfers but there’s several others around Rome. I’ll put all the links in the show notes. So you’ve got the options. We’ve also got an article that compares the cost of going by various different modes of transport from the airport into central Rome, including by a taxi. And that’s one of, that’s quite a useful article because it compares the time it takes to the cost of the, of the transfer as well.

Josie: 10:02 And also just something else to know. What we got a little bit of a shock is that they, they are very fast. They drive very fast, so don’t be, don’t be shocked. Because on their autostrade or their freeways they’re allowed to go a bit faster. So if you’re sort of sitting in your taxi or with your driver and they’re going really fast, don’t worry – you’ll find that they actually drive on the freeways quite fast. So that was a bit of a shock for us. Now if you have any questions about visiting Rome and getting around the city, feel free to ask them in the free Italy travel planning Facebook group.

Katy: 10:36 Yup. I’ll put a link in the show notes to the Free Now app as well as other resources such as taxi locations in the show notes and a sample five day itinerary for Rome that you can use as a baseline to help you plan your travels if you’re flying into Rome. Coming up. In our next episode, we’ll be talking about the highlights of beautiful Florence – city of art, the Renaissance, and beautiful views in the heart of Tuscany.

Josie: 11:00 Oh, amazing. Katy. I love talking about Florence. Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast for all the latest episodes. Grazie and thank you for listening.

Katy: 11:08 Grazie. Ciao for now.

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