Most people flying to Italy will arrive in Rome, since Fiumicino is the country’s busiest airport. Like most major metropolitan areas, Rome itself is quite a distance from its airport – which means your first order of business is getting from Rome’s airport into central Rome.
Fiumicino Airport (FCO) is more than 20 miles away from the city center of Rome. Before you jump in a taxi, though, take a look at the other transportation options. You could save time as well as a whole bunch of money.
Also, keep in mind that all the information below works equally well if your final stop in Italy is Rome and you have to get from your central hotel to the airport in order to fly home. The fares are the same, as are the transit times.
There’s a dedicated airport-to-city train that connects Rome with Fiumicino, and it’s called the Leonardo Express. At €14 per person, it’s not the cheapest method of getting into the city, but it’s the ideal combination of efficient, straightforward, and inexpensive.
The Leonardo Express departs from Fiumicino Airport every 30 minutes (that’s increased to every 15 minutes during periods of higher passenger traffic) and the station is right inside the airport. Service is available every day (guaranteed even during strikes) starting just after 06:00 (the last train leaves the airport at 23:23).
The trip from Fiumicino to Termini on the Leonardo Express takes about 30 minutes, and tickets cost €14 per person (children under age 4 are free, and from age 4-12 one child travels for free per paying adult). You can buy tickets at the airport train station’s ticket windows and self-service ticket machines, as well as at many newsstands and tobacco shops inside the airport. Remember to validate your ticket before you board the train, and hang onto it for the duration of your trip. You may need it to get through exit turnstiles.
If you’re taking the Leonardo Express from Rome, trains leave from Termini Station, platforms 23 and 24.
You can read more about the Leonardo Express here.
In addition to the Leonardo Express, there’s also a local train that serves central Rome, too. It’s the FL1 Regional Train, which leaves from the airport just as frequently and costs less than the Leonardo Express – but I’d still choose the Leonardo Express.
The FL1 Regional Train departs from Fiumicino Airport every 15 minutes (that slows to every 30 minutes on holidays) from the station inside the airport, but it doesn’t serve Rome’s central Termini Station. Instead, you’ll need to get off at either Trastevere, Ostiense, Tuscolana, or Tiburtina. You can connect to Rome’s Metro lines A and B at Ostiense and Tiburtina. If your lodging is closer to one of the four aforementioned stations, then the FL1 may be worth considering. Just know that because it’s a regional train – not specifically an airport train – it stops at many stations along the way – Trastevere is the 7th stop from the airport – so you can’t just relax into a jetlag stupor and get off the train when it stops moving.
The trip from Fiumicino to Trastevere on the FL1 takes roughly a half-hour, and to Tiburtina it’s about 50 minutes. Tickets cost €8 per person to any of the four stations listed earlier (children under age 4 are free, and from age 4-12 one child travels for free per paying adult). You can buy tickets at the airport train station’s ticket windows and self-service ticket machines, as well as at many newsstands and tobacco shops inside the airport. Remember to validate your ticket before you board the train, and hang onto it for the duration of your trip. You may need it to get through exit turnstiles.
You can see a list of all the stations served by the FL1 here, in case one of them is closer to your actual destination.
I prefer trains to get around Italy, including from airport to city center, partly because trains don’t get stuck in traffic. There are lots of coach bus services from Fiumicino into Rome, however, and they’re cheaper than the Leonardo Express. You can typically buy tickets right on the bus as you board (cash only), and in some cases you can buy them online in advance if you know exactly what time you’ll be getting on the bus at the airport.
Italian taxi drivers – especially in cities like Rome and Naples – have long had a reputation for ripping passengers off. Things are getting better, but you should still educate yourself before you hop into a taxi at Fiumicino Airport.
There is an official fixed taxi fare for various distances from the airport into Rome. As of this writing, the fixed fare from Fiumicino to points “within the Aurelian Walls” is €48, including up to four passengers and including luggage. Chances are good that if you’re staying in the city center you’re within the walls – but if you’re not sure, find out from your accommodation before you leave home. You can also consult the city of Rome’s map, with the Aurelian Walls area highlighted in yellow.
If you’re arriving in Rome and headed straight to Civitavecchia to take a cruise, the fixed taxi fare from Fiumicino Airport to the Civitavecchia Harbor is €120.
There are taxi queues at Terminals 1, 2, 3, and 5 at Fiumicino, but there are also cars that aren’t official taxis around, too. Be absolutely sure you’re taking an official Rome taxi – otherwise you won’t get the fixed fare, and you may get ripped off in other ways. Official Rome taxis are white cars and have a sign that says TAXI on the roof. There are license numbers on the doors, on the back of the car, and inside. And official taxis all have meters. Even if you’re getting the fixed fare, be sure the car you get into has a working meter.
You can read my friend Shelley’s post called “How to Take a Taxi in Rome and Not Get Ripped Off” for more information about taking taxis in the capital.
As a quick aside, most visitors will fly into Fiumicino from overseas because it’s the bigger airport – but if you end up landing at Ciampino, Rome’s smaller airport, follow my friend Amanda’s advice and do not take a taxi into Rome from there.
Here’s my Rome travel guide, with some basic (and essential) information about Italy’s busy capital city.
Here are my tips on what to do in Rome.
Find out how to navigate the city with my article on how to get around in Rome on public transportation.