So you’ve arrived in an airport in Rome and are ready to start your holiday of a lifetime in the Eternal City. But you’re not in Rome just yet: both airports in Rome are located several miles out of the city. If you’re lucky, your hotel may offer a courtesy pick-up service. If not, there are several options to choose from to make your way from the airport to Rome’s historic centre (the boundaries of which are considered to be the old Aurelian Walls).
You need to consider your budget, tiredness and ability to manage an extra leg of your journey. Here are the options from the easy and expensive, to the cheaper and slightly more difficult, with the pros and cons of each.
From Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO)
Most long-haul international flights will arrive at Rome’s busiest and biggest airport, which is well connected to Rome by train and bus.
Taxis are the easiest, most stress-free, but also most expensive, option for getting into the city from one of the Rome airports.
But do not fall prey to any of the touts waiting outside or in the arrivals hall. Walk smartly past and get into the queue on the street running right in front of the airport building for the official taxis licensed by the city of Rome. City taxis are white with “Taxi” written on the roof and with the SPQR Comune di Roma crest on the door. Currently, the charge is €48 for any address in the city centre. Some taxis also have the set charges signed on the door. If your hotel is outside the centre, ask for the meter to be switched on.
Trains at Fiumicino
Trains run at least every half hour from inside the airport building. Allow for a ten-minute walk from the arrivals hall.
The Leonardo Express is a non-stop train service that takes you to the main Termini Station in the centre of Rome. From here you can access train, metro, bus and taxis to the rest of the city. There is plenty of space for luggage and it is a quick (30 minutes) and comfortable way of getting into the centre. At €14 it’s more expensive than the other bus and train options, and if there are a few of you, you may find that a taxi is cheaper.
You can buy the tickets at the kiosk next to the platform, but if there’s a queue, you should be able to buy a ticket at the newsagents next door. Remember to validate your ticket at the machines by the platforms before your board to avoid a hefty fine. Check the platform carefully as there is also a regional train (see below. The first express train leaves the airport at 06.36 and runs until 23.36. For the return journey to the airport, trains leave Termini on platform 25 running from 5.52 until 22.52
The regional train will take you to Trastevere, Ostiense or Saint Peters stations, which may be closer to your hotel. This train stops more frequently, and is cheaper (€8) but still only takes approximately 30–40 minutes. However, you will need to watch carefully for your stop as they are not always announced and not immediately obvious! Click here for the route.
Buses are the cheapest option, but take longer. There are several buses that leave Fiumicino and take approximately 50 minutes each to reach the centre, depending on traffic. The buses are found outside Terminal 3, only a five-minute walk from arrivals.
My preferred company is the Sit Buses because they stop at Piazza Cavour, very close to my home and the Vatican. Leaving the airport every half hour, it first stops by the Vatican then at Termini Station. Tickets cost €6 one-way or €11 return and can be bought online or from a waiting attendant at the bus stop. Buses leave the airport from 08.30–00:30. The return bus to the airport leaves Termini from Piazza Indipendenza, with a stop at Via Crescenzio, 2 near the Vatican from 05.00 until 20.30.
Terravision is the most well known of the bus companies and offers non-stop service from the airport to Termini Station. Pay online for a €4 ticket, otherwise you can buy tickets for €6 from a kiosk opposite arrivals as you exit. Buses run every half hour, leaving the airport from 05.30–22.55. The return trip runs from Termini Station, at the back entrance on Via Marsala from 04.40–21.50.
From Ciampino Airport (CIA)
Transport options are more limited from the smallest of Rome’s airports, Ciampino, which predominately serves the low-cost airlines of Europe like Ryan Air and Easy Jet.
Follow the advice above and take an official taxi, which are found outside the airport’s main entrance on the right. The set fare for taxis to the centre is €30. Tell the driver your address and agree on the fare before you get in (even though the fare is set, it’s still a good idea to let your driver know you know this).
The buses are just outside the main terminal entrance to the left. The Terravision bus will take you directly to Termini Station and costs €4 online, or €6 at the ticket office or if you buy on board the bus. Officially the website says the journey is 40 minutes, but I’ve known the drive to take an hour depending on traffic conditions. Buses leave every half hour from 08.15–00.15. Return buses can be found at Termini on Via Marsala.
From Ciampino, the Sit Buses go directly to the main Termini Station, leaving the airport approximately every 40 minutes from 07.45–23.30. Tickets are €4 online and €8 with return. Return buses to the airport leave Termini Station—from Piazza Indipendenza—from 04.30 until 21.30 and start from €6.