The only times it is easy to find a parking spot in Rome is on Sundays and holidays and during the summer months of July and, especially August, when the Romans themselves leave town in order to seek a repose from the city heat in the mountains or at the beach.
Parking in Rome
There are four different kinds of parking spots in Rome. These are divided by the colors white, blue, yellow and pink. White spots are free, blue ones you have to pay for, yellow ones are forbidden and pink ones are for pregnant women. If the white spots are near a main hospital or within an area with mostly blue spots you can park for a maximum of three hours.
White, Blue, Yellow and Pink
The white spots are free. There are however not very many of these in the centre of the city. If you want to park for free it is therefore better to choose your accommodation near a metro stop outside of the centre. Alternatively, you park your car near a metro stop outside of the centre and leave it there for the duration of your stay in Rome.
The blue spots are the ones you have to pay for, except on Sundays and public holidays. The tariff is 1,00 Euro per hour outside the so-called ZTL and 1,20 Euros per hour inside this area. In most areas you only need to pay from 08.00 till 19.00 (sometimes till 20.00). In nightlife areas this can be till 23.00 or even till 03.00. At night parking is free on the blue spots. If you park for less than 15 minutes, the tariff is only 0,20 Euros, but can only be paid at the parking meters. If you stay for 8 consecutive hours, the rate is 4 Euros. There is also a monthly rate of 70 Euros. This monthly rate starts on the first day of each month.
The yellow spots are reserved for handicapped people, while the pink spots are for pregnant women or women who just had a baby.
How to pay
The parking meters take the following coins: 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, plus 1 and 2 Euros.
You can get prepaid cards at supermarkets, bars, tobacco shops etc. The amounts are 1 Euro, 1,20 Euro, 4 Euros and 70 Euros. On these scratch cards you have to indicate the year, month, day and hour, which can be a time-consuming job if you need to park for several hours.
If you use a smartphone you have two advantage. Firstly, you will only be paying for the time you are actually parked and secondly, you can prolong the stay whenever you wish. There are nine different Apps you can use:
If you wish to park your vehicle in the street it is recommended to arrive on a Sunday and not use your car anymore until the day of your departure from Rome. Do not leave anything in the car (especially cars with non-Italian license plates are liable to be burgled).
If you prefer parking for free, you can try to find a free parking spot outside the center of Rome, but near a metro stop. Take your luggage to your hotel first and ask the receptionist for recommendations. A good area is the area near the La Sapienza University, an area with many government buildings which is relatively quiet in the evening and at night.