PRACTICAL INFORMATION FOR VISITING ROME
Rome’s area code is 06, and even when you’re in the city, you must dial the 06 before any Roman telephone number. Almost no public phones accept coins; the vast majority take the scheda telefonica. These plastic cards are sold in denominations of € 2.50, € 5, and € 7.75, and are available in tabacchis, post offices, most newsstands, and some bars. Remember the card won’t work until you break off the perforated corner. A short local call is usually about € 0.20.
Phone calls to land lines within Italy are quite inexpensive, but numbers that start with 338, 335, 339, 349, 347, 393, etc. are cell-phones and will drain your telephone card much more quickly. Note also that cell phone numbers do not have the initial zero: all other Italian telephone numbers do.
International calls can be made at any public telephone, either using an Italian card or your own calling/credit card (if you use your own calling card, remember you still have to put money in the public phone to get a dial tone).To place direct international calls you must dial the following sequence:
00 + Country Code + Area Code + Local Number
There are “Internet points” (Italians love the word “point”) all over the city, in especially high concentration around Termini station, and many hostels also have computers for guests to use. Prices range from ¤2-4 per hour, typically with a 30-minute minimum.
Letters and Postcards
The Internet age has made many of us forget about good old-fashioned paper mail, but everyone likes getting postcards from bella Italia, and while postcards are sold everywhere in the city, postage can be harder to find. Stamps can be bought at post offices as well as at tabacchis, which have longer opening hours and are much more numerous than post offices. Postage costs depend on the country of destination and weight. Postage for standard weight international postcards and letters varies between €0.65 and €1. Letters can be posted in any of the red Poste Italiane boxes mounted on walls around the city. Unless you’re sending something to an address within Rome, use the slot marked “Per tutte le altre destinazioni”.
The Italian Post Office
Don’t be put off by the long lines you see at Italian post offices – most of those people are waiting to pay their bills or collect their pensions. Perhaps two of the twenty windows at the post office are actually dedicated to postal services, and usually have no queue- look for the ‘servizi postali’ sign.
If you want to send an uninsured parcel, go to the post office at Via Cavour, 277, near the Roman Forum (open Mon-Fri 8:30am-2pm, Sat 8:30am-1pm) or Via Milano, 10, off Via Nazionale (same hours). For insured parcels go to the post office at Via Monterone, 1, near Piazza Venezia (open Mon-Fri 8:20am-3:20pm, Sat 8:20am-12:20pm) or the office at Piazza San Silvestro, 12, in the historical centre (open Mon-Fri 8:30am-6:30pm, Sat 8:30am-1pm). Other post offices around the city: Via Arenula (Largo Argentina), Via di San Gallicano (Trastevere).
There are also private shipping offices around the city, which use services like UPS and DHL. Packages will be delivered faster, but for a much higher price.
Mail Boxes Etc. Via dei Mille. (north of Termini)
For a fee, many hotels will allow guests to send and receive faxes from the hotel fax machine. If your hotel does not have this service, most tabacchis, stationery stores, and call centres do. Look for the impossible-to-miss “FAX” sign in the window.
Frustrated by the often leisurely pace of the Italian post, some Romans have turned to the Vatican postal system. It costs the same as the Italian mail, but you must buy Vatican City stamps and send your letters, postcards, or parcels from the Vatican post offices located, logically enough, only within the Vatican City. Your friends and family will love that “Citta’ del Vaticano” postmark, and you can tell them that the stamps were blessed by the Pope. There are Vatican post offices inside the Vatican museums (near the entrance) and two locations in Piazza San Pietro; one is behind the semicircular colonnade (on the right side as you face St. Peter’s basilica), and another is along the orange wall between the colonnade and St. Peter’s (on the left side as you face the church)-look for the yellow boxes outside.
Self-service laundries in Rome are rare; the few that do exist are outside the centro storico. Prices are usually ¤3.50 to wash, the same to dry.
Bolle Blu. Via Milazzo (North of Termini).
Wash and Dry. Via della Pelliccia, 35 (Trastevere). Also has ironing service.
Wash and Dry. Via della Chiesa Nuova (Piazza Navona area).
Onda Blu. Via Vespasiano 50 (Vatican area).
Italy for many years was a cash-based society, and even today few Italians use credit or debit cards to pay for anything, but you’ll find that most restaurants, shops, and hotels in Rome accept cards, minimizing the need for bureaux de change, wads of cash, and traveller’s cheques. With the ¤uro now in circulation, travellers on European tours don’t have to keep changing money each time they change countries.
There are banks on almost every corner in Rome and they can change cash and travellers’ cheques, with a commission of €4 to €6. Business hours vary from place to place but are more or less 8:45am-1:30pm, 2:45pm-4pm Monday to Friday; a couple of banks in the centre are open on Saturday mornings (BNL by the Pantheon) but they’re few and far between.
Automatic Teller Machines
ATMs (bancomats) are everywhere in the city, and probably the best way for travellers to get cash while in the city, as they accept almost all international bank cards. The exchange rate at bancomats is very good, so only extra fee you’ll have to pay is whatever your bank at home charges for international withdrawals (usually around ¤5). Don’t be surprised if all the ATMs in the city seem to be out of cash on Sunday and Monday – they’ll usually be restocked by Tuesday. The solution? Get plenty of cash before the weekend.
Private Exchange Offices
There are plenty of private exchange offices near the popular sights, generally open every day and in the evenings. If they advertise “no commission,” make sure you check the exchange rate they are using.
- Piazza di Spagna, 38 (tel. 06 67641). Close to the Spanish Steps-Metro A: Spagna. Open 9am-5:30pm Mon-Fri; 9am-12:30pm Sat. No commission on AmEx travellers’ cheques.
Major post offices will change cash or American Express travellers’ cheques:
- Termini: Via Terme Diocleziane, 30. Near the McDonald’s on Piazza della Repubblica. Open Mon-Fri 8:30am-6pm; Sat 8:30am-2pm. Metro A: Termini or Repubblica.
- Vatican: Via di Porta Angelica, 23. Near Piazza Risorgimento. Open Mon-Fri 8:30am-6:30pm; Sat 8:30am-1pm Sat. Metro A: Ottaviano or bus 492.
If you lose your passport or need other assistance from your embassy, you should contact your consulate.
- Argentina. Via Vittorio Veneto, 7 (tel. 06 42870023). Open Mon-Fri 8:30am-1pm. Metro A: Barberini.
- Austria. Viale Liegi, 32 (tel. 06 8552880). Open Mon-Fri 9am-12pm. Bus 360.
- Australia. Via Antonio Bosio, 5 (tel. 06 852721; for emergencies only, toll-free 800 877790.www.italy.embassy.gov.au). Open Mon-Fri 8:30am-12.30pm; 1:30pm-4:15pm. Visa office Mon-Fri 10am-noon. Bus 36 to Villa Torlonia.
- Belgium. Via Monti Parioli, 49 (tel. 06 3609511). Open Mon-Fri 9am-12:30pm. Metro A: Flaminio, then bus 926 or bus 910 to Via Po, then bus 52
- Brazil. Via Santa Maria dell’Anima, 32 (tel. 066889661). Open Mon-Fri 9:30am-1pm. Bus 40 Express or 64 to Corso Vittorio Emanuele (near Piazza Navona).
- Canada. Via Zara, 30 (tel. 06 445981. www.canada.it). Open Mon-Fri 8:30am-12pm, 2-4pm. Bus 36 to the corner of Via Nomentana and Corso Trieste.
- Czech Republic. Via dei Gracchi, 322 (tel. 06 3609571). Open Mon,Tue, Thur, Fri 9am-noon. Metro A: Lepanto.
- Denmark. Via Monti Parioli, 50 (tel. 06 9774731, 24-hr emergency service 3487776360). Open Mon-Fri 9:30am-12:30pm. Bus 910 to Via Po, then bus 52.
- Finland. Via Lisbona, 3 (tel. 06 852231). Open Mon-Fri 9am-12pm. Bus 360.
- France. Via Giulia, 251 (Piazza Farnese; tel. 06 68806437). Open Mon-Fri 9am-12:30pm. Bus 40 Express or 64 to Largo Argentina.
- Germany. Via S. Martino della Battaglia, 4 (near Termini; tel. 06 492131). Open Mon-Fri 9am-noon. Bus 40 Express or 64 to Termini.
- Greece. Via Stoppani, 10 (tel. 06 8082030). Open Mon-Fri 9:30am-1pm. Bus 217 to Via Paisiello.
- Hungary. Via Messina, 15 (tel. 06 44249938). Open Mon, Wed, Fri 9am-noon. Bus 36 to Piazzale Porta Pia.
- India. Via XX Settembre, 5 (tel. 06 4884642). Open Mon-Fri 9am-11am. Metro A: Repubblica.
- Ireland. Piazza Campitelli, 3 (tel. 06 6979121). Open Mon-Fri 10am-12:30pm, 3pm-4:30pm. Bus 40 Express, 170, or 64 to Piazza Venezia.
- Israel. Via Michele Mercati, 14 (tel. 06 3221541). Open Mon-Fri 9am-noon. Bus 910 to Via Po, then bus 52 to Viale B. Buozzi.
- Japan. Via Q. Sella, 60 (tel. 06 487991). Open Mon-Fri 9:30am-12:30pm, 2:30pm-5pm. Bus 910 to Via Piemonte.
- Korea. Via B. Oriani, 30 (tel. 06 802461). Open Mon-Fri 9.30am-noon, 2:30pm-4:30pm. Bus 217. visa office Mon, Wed, Fri 9:30-noon
- Mexico. Via Spallanzani, 16 (tel. 06 441151). Open Mon-Fri 9am-1pm. Bus 36 to Corso Trieste.
- Netherlands. Via della Camilluccia 701-703 (tel. 06 367671.www.olanda.it). Open Mon-Fri 9am-noon closed Wed.
- New Zealand (consular section). Via Clitunno, 44 (tel. 06 8537501). Open Mon-Fri 8:30am-12pm. Bus 38 ,past Piazza Fiume and get off at Piazza Trasimeno about a 20 min.bus ride from the main railway station 24-hr emergency service 335203769.
Take bus number 38 from Stazione Termini past Piazza Fiume outside the Aurelian walls, and get off at Piazza Trasimeno.Via Clitunno is a small street on the left
- Norway. Via Terme Deciane, 7 (tel. 06 5717031). Open Mon-Thurs 9am-5pm; Fri 9-1, 1:45pm-4pm.Metro B: Circo Massimo.
- People’s Republic of China. Via Bruxelles, 56 (tel. 06 85350118). Open Mon, Wed, Thu 9:15am-noon. Bus 319 or 56 to Viale Regina Margherita.
- Poland. Via Pietro Paolo Rubens, 20 (tel. 06 3624001). Open Mon-Fri 9am-11am; Thu 2pm-4pm. Bus 52 to Viale Bruno Buozzi
- Russia. Via Nomentana, 116 (tel. 06 44234149). Open Mon-Fri 8:30am-11:30am. Bus 36 to Via Nomentana.
- South Africa. Via Tanaro, 14 (tel. 06 852541). Open Mon-Fri 8am-4:30pm. Bus 86 or 92 to Piazza Buenos Aires. 24-hr emergency service 3339896887.
- Spain. Via Campo Marzio, 34 (tel. 06 6871401). Open Mon-Fri 9am-1pm. Metro A: Spagna.
- Sweden. Piazza Rio de Janeiro, 3 (tel. 06 441941). Open Mon-Fri 9am-noon. Bus 36 to Viale Regina Margherita.
- Switzerland. Largo Elvetia, 15 (tel. 06 809571). Open Mon-Fri 9am-noon. Bus 217 to Piazza Santiago del Cile.
- United Kingdom. Via XX Settembre, 80/A (tel. 06 42200001). Open Mon-Fri 9:15am-1:30pm. Bus 36 to Piazzale Porta Pia.
- USA. Via Veneto, 119 (tel. 06 46741). Open Mon-Fri 8:30am-12.30pm, 2pm-5:30pm. Call before you go-different departments have different hours. Call 06 46745900 to register the birth of a child. Metro A: Barberini, or bus 492 or 62.
- Zimbabwe. Via Virgilio, 8 (tel. 06 68308282). Open Mon-Fri 9am-1pm, 2pm-4:30pm. Metro A: Lepanto.
Most of the international airline offices are located in the Piazza Barberini area (Metro A: Barberini). Those airlines whose addresses we don’t mention are located well outside the city centre. For those not listed here you can check www.adr.it (Rome’s Airports web site).
- Air Canada. Tel. 06 65011462
- Air France. Via Sardegna, 40. Toll-free number: 848 884466.
- Alitalia.Via Bissolati, 11. National flights: (24 HRS) toll-free 848 865641. International flights: (24HRS) 848 865642. Information: 848 865643.
- British Airways. Information 06 52492800, Bookings 199 712266.
- Continental. Via Parigi, 11. Tel: 06 6605 3030 (Rome); 02 69633256 (Milan).
- Delta Airlines. Toll-free number: 848 780376
- EasyJet. Toll-free number: 848 887766.
- El Al. Via Bissolati, 76. Tel: 06 474 2641
- Emirates. Tel: 06 4520 6060
- Iberia. 199 101 191
- KLM. Tel: 199 414 199
- Olympic Airways. Via Bissolati, 76. Tel: 06 478671.
- Northwest. Tel. 02 218981 (Milan).
- Qantas. Tel: 06 52482725.
- Swiss International Airlines. Toll-free number: 848 868 120.
- Thai. Via Barberini, 50. Tel: 06 478131.
- US Airways. Toll-free number: 848 813177.
C A R A B I N I E R I vs P O L I Z I A
The number one, most-frequently-asked question here at Enjoy Rome goes something like this: “What’s the difference between the Carabinieri and Polizia?” The Carabinieri are part of the Italian army, while the Polizia are civilians. For the most part, they have the same powers and jurisdiction, but let’s say you stole a tapestry from the Vatican museums–it would be the Carabinieri that would hunt you down. (They’re the art cops.) Do notice the difference in their uniforms–for the Carabinieri it’s a dark blue suit with a red stripe down the pant leg (by Valentino); for the Polizia it’s the more understated blue-grey of Armani with nifty white holsters. If you spot men in grey uniforms causing a stir that’s the Guardia di Finanza (the tax police), they’re the ones that really scare Italians…
We hope you won’t need any of this information, but in the event that you do…
Emergency Telephone Numbers:
113 Police (Polizia)
118 Ambulance (Red Cross)
115 Fire Department
(You can also call the Police or Carabinieri in case of fire of medical emergency.)
LOST or STOLEN DOCUMENTS
First you must file a report at a Carabinieri or Polizia station. Both have offices at Termini station. Otherwise, you can go to one of the following central police stations:
- Carabinieri. Via Mentana, 6 (north of Termini) or Piazza Venezia (no number, but you can’t miss it!)
- Polizia. Via Farini, 40 (south of Termini), Via S. Vitale, 15 (off Via Nazionale to the north), or Piazza del Collegio Romano, 3 (near Piazza Venezia).
Once you have filed a report at one of these offices, go to your embassy.
Call the appropriate toll-free number listed below, then file a police report as above.
- AMEX: 06 72280371
(US cardholders: 800 874333)
- Mastercard: 800 870866
- Visa: 800 877232
- Diner’s Club: 800 864064 (this number is answered in Italian; wait for an operator and ask for an English-speaker)
Remember to keep your cheques and the receipt for them in separate places. Before filing the police report as above call the toll-free number given by your bank.
- AMEX: 800 872000
- Thomas Cook/Mastercard: 800 872050
- Visa: 800 874155
In order to make any insurance claims for lost or stolen items you must always FILE A POLICE REPORT. Then follow the procedure given by your insurance carrier.
E.C. Citizens are entitled to free health care but must show the E111 form. Australians are also entitled to free healthcare upon presentation of a valid MediCare card. Other foreign citizens are entitled to free emergency treatment (pronto soccorso) at public hospitals.
- Policlinico Umberto I. The closest to Termini. Metro B: Policlinico.
- Santo Spirito. Lungotevere in Sassia, near the Vatican. Different languages spoken; perhaps more efficient than other local hospitals. Bus 23, 40 Express, 64.
- Fatebenefratelli. On Tiber Island, between the Ghetto and Trastevere, with a rather pleasant, al-fresco E.R. Bus 23, 271, 280.
- Ospedale San Giacomo. Via Canova, 29. Close to Via del Corso and the Spanish Steps. Metro A: Spagna.
- George Eastman. You never know when you’re going to need a 24-hour dental hospital. Viale Regina Elena, 287. Metro B: Policlinico.
Bambino Gesù. Piazza S.Onofrio 4 (specialized for children).
English (or other language) Speaking Doctors
Embassies can supply a list of these.
There are pharmacies (farmacie) all over Rome, recognizable by a green cross ouside. Tell the pharmacist your symptoms and he or she will sell you the appropriate medication.
Major pharmacies in the tourist centre:
- Corso Rinascimento, 48 (near Piazza Navona). Bus 492 or 64.
- Farmacia Internazionale. Piazza Barberini. Metro A: Barberini
- Stazione Termini, Main Gallery. Open daily 7:30am-10pm. Metro A or B: Termini
Late Night Pharmacies
All pharmacies have a list posted outside that indicates the pharmacies in the area which are open late at night. A few suggestions:
- Piazza dei Cinquecento, 49-50-51 (tel. 06 4880019). Bus 78N to Termini.
- Via Nazionale, 228 (tel. 06 4880754). Bus 78N to Via Nazionale.
- Via Cola di Rienzo, 213 (tel. 06 3243130). Bus to Via Cola di Rienzo