The Catholic University of America

Basic Travel Rules

Students should

  • book personal travel so as not to with classes or class trips: travel is never a legitimate excuse for missing class;
  • always travel with their passport: passports are required throughout Europe for identification purposes and to check in to hotels and hostels;
  • inform the staff and host family of their travels: students who miss their planned means of return to Rome should find a way to contact the CUA Rome staff (text message, email) with their new plans;
  • limit their travel to Europe: destinations like north Africa may seem exciting, but bring many dangers; avoid all political hotspots; check the U.S. State Department for warnings;
  • not utilize tour packages: one of the great values of a semester abroad is learning to make one's own travel plans; under no circumstances should student travel tours like Bus-to-Alps or other tour packages be used;
  • be extra-cautious when travelling: all the resources that the staff can offer in Rome are beyond reach once outside Rome; if anything happens while travelling, students should find a way to let the CUA Rome staff know.

Travel Guidelines

  • Make Rome the first priority.
    • There is more to do in Rome than can possibly be done in the course of a year. Spend some time taking advantage of it.
    • It is the cheapest option.
  • Make Italy the second priority.
    • Every region of Italy has its own delights.
    • Train travel is usually very inexpensive.
    • One can practice and improve one's Italian.
  • Research the destination.
    • Before departure, read about the place to know something about its history, specialty foods, important sites, how the transportation system works.
    • If travelling out of Italy, learn a few words in the local language.

Tips to Make the Most of Time and Money

  • Spend time in the places, rather than running from town to town or country to country.
  • With low-cost airlines, make sure to take into account buses into the city, extra fees, and baggage restrictions.
  • Use trains rather than planes as much as possible.
    • For some destinations, like Vienna, an overnight train may be a better buy than a flight.

Resources

Trains

  • The Italian train site is www.trenitalia.com.
  • Fast trains (Frecciarossa, Frecciaargento) are, naturally, faster and more expensive. For some trips a slower train (Intercity or Regionale) may be a better buy.
  • Tickets on regional trains will need to be validated at the validation machines before boarding the train.
  • Know the station where you want to get off. Large towns have several stations.
  • Find the train by time and the train number. The boards at the train station will list the final destination of the train, which may not be the student's destination.
  • Tickets on fast trains and inter-city trains have assigned seats. The car and seat number will be on the ticket. Regional trains have no assigned seats or times on the ticket and therefore must be validated.

Planes

  • Rome has two airports: Leonardo da Vinci (Fiumicino) and Ciampino. Be sure to know which airport the flight will be leaving from.
  • Shuttle buses to the airports are run by

Automobiles

  • Taxis are readily available throughout the city at taxi stands, by hailing one on the street, or by calling them. Taxi information can be found here.
  • Students may not rent cars, motorcycles, or mopeds during the semester in Rome.

Beaches

  • Ostia: from Piramide Metro station, take local train from Stazione Ostia Lido, get off Stella Polare for the free beach. The trip is included in the Rome transportation pass.
  • Town of Santa Marinella. Trains directed to Civitavecchia from Stazione San Pietro. Get off at Santa Marinella (40 minute train ride). Purchase a ticket at the train station and validate it before boarding the train.
  • Town of Sperlonga. Train from Termini (an hour and 15 minutes) to Fondi and then a bus to Sperlonga. Purchase a ticket at the machines at Termini for the train and buy a bus ticket when boarding the bus or at the tabbacheria of the station in Fondi.
  • Island of Ponza. Ferries leave from Anzio. This is only practical with an overnight stay.