Bruce Springsteen and Rome

Rome and Bruce Springsteen – Grand European Tour Part 14

We Head to Rome to See ‘The Boss’

This is one in a series of blog posts detailing our 10-county trip around Europe on trains, buses, cars and ferries.  All the posts highlight what we got up to (hopefully without the boring bits) along with some tips and helpful overviews should you wish to visit the destinations. In this post, we move from Abruzzo in Italy to Rome. You can see all the posts from this trip here.

In our minds we had always had Rome as the end point of this trip around Europe, where we had tickets to see Bruce Springsteen – but it wasn’t really the endpoint as we, obviously, had to get back to the UK.  One cannot stay in Europe forever now due to the post-Brexit Schengen situation.  So, whilst in Abruzzo we planned the last legs of the journey home from Rome to the UK and at the same time met up with our daughter in time to go to Rome for the concert.

Before leaving Abruzzo we did, however, manage to watch the Giro D’Italia cycle race zipping through our town – blink and you’ll miss it!

On the day of the concert, which was a Sunday, we took a Prontobus from Abruzzo to Rome, as railway connections were few and far between.  On arriving at Tibertina, the main bus station in Rome, we got a taxi to the apartment we had rented for the night, which was located about a mile walk away from the concert.

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Giro dtalia 1
Giro d'Italia

OTHER USEFUL RESOURCES – ITALY 

Accommodation:  Booking.com

Activities: Get Your Guide

Flights: Skyscanner

Trains: Rail Europe

Bus: FlixBus

Car Hire: AutoEurope

The Storm Passes Away at Circus Maximus

Like the previous few weeks, the weather on this day was very changeable.  The sunshine of our arrival soon gave way to storm clouds and rain as we arrived at the venue for the gig, the Circus Maximus.

Minutes after we had cleared ticketing and security, the heavens opened up and a full-on deluge ensued.  We were ready for it though, wearing walking boots, easily discarded layers and rain ponchos – not a good look for a rock concert, but it kept us reasonably dry.

By the time Bruce’s second warm-up act (the UK’s own Sam Fender),  appeared on stage, the storm had all but passed, and there was a promise of good weather in the air.

Springsteen in Rome
Circus Maximus in Rome

Ciao Roma!

We had seen ‘The Boss’ many years ago in Rome (2013 Wrecking Ball Tour), but at a different venue then.  Today, we were in the Circus Maximus, the ancient site of Roman chariot races.  It is an elongated ovoid of ground flanked by the Aventine and Palatine hills, which of course, like much of Rome makes for a spectacular venue.   I guess, because of its shape the concert toilets were a long, long way back from the stage, so if you ever attend a concert here be prepared for a long walk back or have a strong bladder!

Needless to say, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were excellent, and delivered over 3 hours of classic music in a relaxed, and for a crowd of 60 thousand people an almost intimate atmosphere – and no more rain.

Rome
The Boss

The next instalment of the  Grand European Tour is coming shortly.

Or for more tips and insights on Rome please continue reading below…

Getting to Rome

By Air: You can get to easily get to Rome by air from the UK,  as well as via international flights across Europe.   The two main airports are Fiumicino “Leonardo da Vinci” International Airport and Ciampino International Airport. I would recommend using Skyscanner to find flights into Rome, and, if you are flexible when you go/return then using the ‘search by month’ tool to find the most economical flights.

By Train: Rome is easily accessible by rail from the major towns of Italy, as well as the rest of Europe.  Check out trains to Rome here.

By Bus: Rome is also easy to reach by bus, I would recommend Flixbus, which is a company based in Germany, but serves the vast majority of mainland Europe and offers cost-effective options to get to Rome and central Italy.

Rome: Getting to and From the Airport

If you decide to fly to Rome, here are a few simple options for getting into the city from the airports depending on your budget. They are:

Book an airport-to-city bus:  Terravision buses leave both airports at regular intervals and will take you straight to the centre of Rome in about 40-45 minutes  This service operates at regular intervals and tickets can be bought at the airport or online.  

Take a taxi:  Taxis will be found outside the arrivals hall.  The journey time to the centre of Rome is usually 40 minutes from Fiumicino Airport depending on traffic (Ciampino Airport is closer to the centre so is usually quicker).  Always use official taxis and it is wise to confirm the fare in advance with the driver.

Take the train: From Fiumicino Airport only you can take the Leonardo Express train into the centre, it’s a few minutes faster than the buses, but is around twice the price.

Hire a car:  Of course, if you want the flexibility of your own transport, then you will find the usual raft of car rental counters in the arrivals hall, or you can book in advance online.  The airport is well-connected to the Italian road network, so you can soon be on your way to your onward destination.

rome street
Rome - The Eternal City

Getting Around Rome

There are many options for getting around the capital of Italy, depending on your fitness level and budget.  The public transport systems are safe and efficient. 

Note that Rome has an integrated ticketing system which means that a single ticket can be valid for multiple types of transport within the city(including Metro, trams and buses).  You can purchase tickets at the vending machines in any metro station, convenience store or newsagents.  Note, that you will generally have to validate your ticket with the metro, bus, or tram machine on your first form of transport – don’t risk a fine.  For more info see here.

Walk: Rome’s city centre is relatively compact with many of the main tourist attractions within walking distance of each other – ideal for strolling around.

The Metro:  Rome currently has a network of just three lines (a fourth is on the way), making it one of the smallest in Europe, and in our opinion, it also makes it one of the easiest to use and offers an efficient way to explore the city.  The Metro runs from 5:30 am to 11:30 pm, but on Friday and Saturday, the Metro runs until 1:30 am.  

By Bus:  Rome has an extensive bus network for reaching the far-flung areas of the city, which you can’t always get to by the metro. 

By Taxi:  If you are feeling flush, then a taxi offers an alternative to public transport, but it can be expensive – Rome’s taxis are probably amongst the most expensive in Europe.  You can hail or find them at one of the city’s designated taxi stands. All taxis in Rome are white, with a taxi roof sign, the company telephone number on the side and a taximeter visible at the front of the car.   Rome taxi drivers have a bad reputation, check how much you are likely to pay for your ride before getting in the taxi – so there are no surprises.  Uber is now also available in Rome.

By Tram: Rome has six small lines, but they don’t service the city centre very well.

 

Top Tips – Rome

Use Omio to compare buses versus trains, very useful.

For Hotels including self-catering apartments we use Booking.com, where you can filter by review score and many properties have a pay later/late cancellation policy should your plans suddenly change.

Check our resources page for more budget tips and discounts from our days in transit! 

rome Forum
Rome - The Forum

Where to stay in Rome

Here are a few accommodation options we’ve previously used and been very happy with in Rome.

A couple of hotels we like are the excellent Crowne Plaza situated away from the hustle and bustle of the centre but close to the Vatican and the Occidental Aurelia, which is a nice hotel with lovely staff but situated away from the centre (so you’d need to get a bus or the Metro into the centre). 

If staying closer to the centre  is more your thing then a couple we’ve used are the Dream Station, clean and basic but very handy for Termini Station, or the

Campo De Fiori Relais where we stayed for the Springsteen gig.

rome by the river

The Top 10 Free Things to See and Do in Rome

Rome is a city rich with history, culture, and breathtaking architecture, it also can be a little pricey when you add up all those cappuccinos, so here are our top 10 things to see and do in the eternal city for free.

  1. St. Peter’s Basilica:  Located in Vatican City, St. Peter’s Basilica is an architectural marvel. Visitors can explore the stunning interior, admire Michelangelo’s Pietà, and view the impressive altar for free. Get there early though to beat the crowds, as the entrance queue can almost be as impressive as the Basilica itself.
  2. The Trevi Fountain:  This iconic Baroque fountain is a must-see. Tradition says that throwing a coin into the fountain ensures a return to Rome.
  3. Piazza Navona:  This bustling square features beautiful fountains, including Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers, and is a great place to people-watch and soak in the atmosphere.
  4. The Spanish Steps:  Climb the 135 steps leading from Piazza di Spagna to the Trinità dei Monti church. The steps offer a great view and are a popular spot to relax.
  5. The Roman Forum(from outside):  While entry to the main archaeological site requires a ticket, you can get a good view of the Roman Forum from the surrounding streets and hills, such as the Capitoline Hill.
  6. Villa Borghese Gardens:  Rome’s central park, Villa Borghese, is perfect for a leisurely stroll, picnic, or visit to one of its museums. The gardens offer beautiful landscapes and views over the city.
  7. Campo de’ Fiori:  This lively market square transforms from a vibrant market by day to a popular nightlife spot by evening. It’s a great place to experience local life.
  8. The Jewish Ghetto:  Explore the historic Jewish Ghetto, one of the oldest Jewish communities in Europe. Wander its narrow streets, see the Great Synagogue, and enjoy its unique charm.
  9. Appian Way (Via Appia Antica):  One of the oldest and most important Roman roads, the Appian Way offers a historic walk lined with ancient ruins and catacombs. It’s perfect for a scenic and historical day out.
  10. Trastevere:  Explore the charming streets of this historic neighbourhood, known for its vibrant nightlife.

These attractions provide a glimpse into Rome’s rich history and vibrant culture without costing a penny. Enjoy exploring the Eternal City!

Staying Safe

Rome is a relatively safe city, crimes of violence against visitors are rare, but like many major cities petty theft and pickpocketing do occur especially in crowded tourist spots or busy public transport.  So keep your valuables safe and out of sight.

If you have an emergency, dial 112 for assistance.

Of course, as with any trip, the key thing is to have comprehensive travel insurance coverage to protect against, cancellations, theft, illness etc.  For this, we use and recommend using  Staysure – specialists in over 50’s travel insurance, as we have always found them fair and easy to deal with.   

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