The 64 bus in Rome is probably the most famous – or rather infamous – bus in the ATAC system. The route is very popular for tourists, and unfortunately, also for pick-pockets. For many travelers, it’s simply known as the pickpocket bus. If you ride the 64 bus, make sure ALL your personal items, money, credit cards, wallets, etc. are secured. Frequently the pick-pockets on the 64 bus are well-dressed Italian gentlemen who speak English quite well. While they are engaging unknowing tourists in conversation, they’re sizing up their opportunities and options. So use EVERY precaution when riding the 64 bus.
The bus is popular because it runs from the Roma Termini train station to the Roma San Pietro train station. In between these endpoints, the bus stops on Via Nazionale, in Piazza Venezia, at Largo Argentina, near Piazza Navono and Campo de’ Fiori, close to Castel Sant’ Angelo, and eventually St. Peter’s Square and Basilica. From Roma Termini, unless you take the A Line Metro, this is the primary mode of transport for visitors headed to the Vatican… and thus a HUGE target for opportunists. So do be very careful as this bus has EARNED it’s notorious reputation many times over!
In this post, we’ll trace the route from Roma Termini to Roma San Pietro. This route is called 64 P.za Stazione S. Pietro. On this path, the 64 bus starts in the parking lot in front of Roma Termini, also known as Piazza di Cinquecento. Currently, Roma Termini is undergoing renovation so it’s hard to give an exact location of where in the parking lot the 64 bus starts… hopefully they will get this section of the renovations done soon. Suffice to say, head out in front of the station. As this is the starting point, the bus will probably be parked as the driver takes his break. Here’s the route to Roma San Pietro:
• Nazionale/Quattro Fontane
• Nazionale/Palazzo Esposizioni
• P.za Venezia
• C.so Vittorio Emanuele/S. A. della Valle
• C.so Vittorio Emanuele/Navona
• Chiesa Nuova
• C.so Vittorio Emanuele/Tassoni
• Ponte Vittorio Emanuele
• Lgt Sassia/S. Spirito
• Cavalleggeri/S. Pietro
• Crocifisso/Porta Fabbrica
• P.za Stazione S. Pietro
As you can see from the map above, the blue circle on the right side of the map is Roma Termini. Once it departs from Roma Termini, the bus has sixteen stops on its journey across town. It ends on the west side of town at the Roma San Pietro station, circled here in green. < Click on the map above to go to the ATAC site and see the entire 64 P.za Stazione S. Pietro route >
Again, the pictures of the Roma Termini parking lot (above) will probably be a little different than what you will see during the construction phase. But you can see from the pictures and map that the parking lot is directly in front of the Roma Termini train station. < Click on the map above to go to the ATAC site and see the Termini bus stop. >
After the bus leaves Roma Termini, it passes through Piazza Repubblica and onto Via Nazionale. It heads down the hill towards the center of town. In the middle of the Via Nazionale, the 64 bus stops at the Nazionale/Palazzo Esposizioni stop.
In the photo above, you can see the bus stop signs circled in red. In the right foreground of the picture you can see one of the green Tourist Information booths. For more info on where more of these P.I.T.’s are located, see Tourist Information Booths of Rome. To the right of the bus stop is the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, a neoclassical exhibition hall, cultural center and museum built in the 1880’s.
In the above map, the Nazionale/Palazzo Esposizioni stop is circled in blue. You can see that this bus also stops at three other Via Nazionale locations – circled in red – as it heads into the center of Rome. < Click on the map above to go to the ATAC site and see the Nazionale/Palazzo Esposizioni bus stop. >
Two stops further, the 64 bus stops at Piazza Venezia, the “center piazza” of Rome. In the top photo, this is the view as you approach the bus stop, which is marked by the red arrow. The next photo shows the bus stop circled in red. And the final photo is what you get to see when you get off the bus at this stop. This view is about 50 meters from the bus stop. The red circle marks the famous “Mussolini Balcony” on the Palazzo di Venezia. The blue circle encompasses the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II.
In the above map, the bus stop is circled in blue. The Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II is marked by the red circle. From this stop you can also easily get to Via del Corso, circled in green. < Click on the map above to go to the ATAC site and see the P.za Venezia bus stop. >
Argentina is one of the busiest bus stops in Rome. It’s a jumping off point for folks heading to Trastevere, the Colosseo, the Vatican, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, and Campo de’ Fiori. In the top photo you can ALL the bus stop signs circled in red. Some of the buses that stop here include: Argentina: 130, 186, 190, 30, 40, 46, 492, 571, 628, 62, 64, 70, 81, 87, and 916. In addition, the #8 tram starts and ends its run to Trastevere in Largo Argentina.
The top photo is a view as the bus pulls up to Argentina. The blue arrow points in the direction of the Pantheon and marks the la feltrinelli bookstore location. The green arrow points towards the ruins at Largo Argentina, pictured in the 2nd photo. The name may seem familiar as this is the location of the Cat Sanctuary.
In the above map, you can see how central this bus stop location is. The bus stop is circled in red. On the top sections of this map, Piazza Navona and the Pantheon are circled in blue. To the left, designated by the green circle, is Campo de’ Fiori. And finally, the black circle marks Trastevere, just across the Tiber. You can get here by taking the #8 tram. < Click on the map above to go to the ATAC site and see the Argentina bus stop. >
After you leave the Argentina stop, the next stop is C.so Vittorio Emanuele/S. A. della Valle. This stop, and the following two, C.so Vittorio Emanuele/Navona and Chiesa Nuova are all quite close to Piazza Navona and Campo de’ Fiori. In the top picture, the bus stop is circled in red. The blue arrow highlights a building 200 meters down the road. This is the “turn” to head to Campo de’ Fiori on the left and Piazza Navona on the right. The second picture gives you an easy marker to identify this bus stop… a McDonald’s restaurant.
In the map, you see the C.so Vittorio Emanuele/S. A. della Valle stop circled in red and the C.so Vittorio Emanuele/Navona highlighted in orange. The Pantheon is marked by the green circle. Piazza Navona is in blue and Campo de’ Fiori is circled in black. < Click on the map above to go to the ATAC site and see the C.so Vittorio Emanuele/S. A. della Valle bus stop. >
As the 64 bus continues, it comes to the Ponte Vittorio Emanuele stop. In the background of the top photo you see the Vittorio Emanuele bridge crossing the Tiber. The bus stop signs are circled in red. If you get off the bus here and walk towards the bridge – about 40 meters – you see the view of Castel Sant’ Angelo , circled in the second photo.
In the map you can see the Ponte Vittorio Emanuele bus stop circled in red and the Castel Sant’ Angelo marked by the blue circle. On the far left side of the map, the half circle image is St. Peter’s Square. < Click on the map above to go to the ATAC site and see the Ponte Vittorio Emanuele bus stop. >
I suppose the Cavalleggeri/S. Pietro stop is why most visitors ride this bus. To get here we crossed over the Ponte Vittorio Emanuele, made one stop, and then turned right and headed through a long tunnel. Looking at the map, you can see how near the red-circled bus stop is to St. Peter’s Square. The smaller blue circle on the map is the entrance (security area) for St. Peter’s Basilica. At the very top of the map, the black circle represents the entrance to the Vatican Museums… so if you’re headed to the Vatican Museums first (rather than St. Peter’s Square), you probably do not want to ride the 64 bus. From Roma Termini. The metro Line A to either the Ottaviano or Cipro stops might be a better option. But, if you’re headed to St. Peter’s Square, this bus is second only to the 62 bus in getting closest to the security entrance of the Basilica.
In the top photo you can see the bus stops circled in red, the walls of the Vatican City, the roofline of the Pope Paul VI auditorium, and the dome of St. Peter’s. The second photo is the view as you get off the bus and turn right, looking back the way you just came. You see the tunnel you came through on the bus in the distance, and the big yellow arrow. This arrow marks the spot at the end of the wall you walk to and turn left to get to St. Peter’s Square. In the final photo you can will see this view as you turn left. The colonnade of St. Peter’s Square is just in front of you and you can see the corner of the wall on your left…. so follow the wall BACK from the bus stop and you’ll get this view!
Thus, you can “arrive” at St. Peter’s utilizing this bus stop… and you can also leave from here! From St. Peter’s Square you could walk 10-12 minutes uphill to the Roma San Pietro train station. If you’re a “cruiser” headed back to Civitavecchia and your ship, Roma San Pietro is the station you should use. Rather than walk up the hill, you could wait at this stop for the 64 bus and ride the bus two stops to the train station. So if you’re worn out after a day at the Vatican, and you still have your B.I.R.G. ticket, just jump on the next 64 bus at this stop and ride up the hill. It can save you some walking. < Click on the map above to go to the ATAC site and see the Cavalleggeri/S. Pietro bus stop. >
The last stop of this run is the Roma San Pietro train station, P.za Stazione S. Pietro. The 64 is the only bus that runs to this station. Once at this station, you can ride the FM5 train out to Civitavecchia. So this is a great stop for cruisers to connect with the 64 bus into the city… For cruisers, you might look at these posts to assist you in your one-day visit:
Again, with Roma Termini on one end and the Vatican and Civitavecchia on the other … you can see why this bus is such a target for pick-pocket artists. The 64 bus may have the highest ratio of tourist travelers when compared to any other bus in Rome! < Click on the map above to go to the ATAC site and see the P.za Stazione S. Pietro bus stop. >
The 64 bus is a great way to cross the city. It travels by many of Rome’s monuments and sites. It has multiple stops that offer great connections to other parts of the city by train, metro, tram, or other buses. In another post, we’ll cover the route from Roma San Pietro to the Roma Train station. But again, if you choose to ride this bus – BE CAREFUL. Tourists are definitely targeted on this bus.
All photos in this post, including the header – The 64 bus on Via Nazionale – have been reproduced from Google Maps Streetview
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