Rome’s main airport is Roma Fiumicino (FCO), which you will also see referred to as ‘Aeroporto Leonardo Da Vinci’. Some low-cost carriers – principally Ryanair – fly into the city’s second airport, Roma Ciampino (CIA). Plans to develop a civil airport near Viterbo, north of the capital, are still on the drawing board.
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Rome’s main airport, and the only one to handle intercontinental flights, lies 32km (20 miles) south-west of the centre.
At the end of October 2009, the terminals at Fiumicino were renamed. Previously identified by letters, they now run from 1 to 5. Terminal 4 – a high-security terminal designed for ‘sensitive flights’ – is not yet operative. Factor in at least ten minutes between departure lounge and gate.
To/from Fiumicino by train
To Termini station: The ‘Leonardo Express’ runs every half hour from 6.36am until 11.36pm from the airport direct to Rome’s main train station, Stazione Termini. The journey takes just over 30 minutes; tickets cost 14 euros. On the return journey from Stazione Termini to the airport, the Leonardo Express leaves from platform 25, which is a good ten minutes’ walk down the right-hand side of the station as you face the tracks (the Via Giolitti side). If you want to save on the walk, bus line 70 has its terminus by the side entrance to the station, in front of platform 25.
To other Rome destinations: There is also a slower stopping service from Fiumicino airport, FM1, which is useful if you are headed for the city’s southern or eastern districts (served by the stations of Trastevere, Ostiense, Tuscolana and Tiburtina). This will be marked on the departures board by its final destination, Fara Sabina (sometimes also Poggio Mirteto or Orte – they all stop at the same city stations). The first train leaves Fiumicino at 5.57am, the last at 11.27pm. Frequency varies from every 15 minutes to every half hour; tickets cost 8 euros. Note that this train does not stop at Stazione Termini.
Website for both services: www.trenitalia.com
To/from Fiumicino by bus
The train is so much quicker that this is really only worth considering if you are heading for the Vatican or Prati area of Rome. SITBusShuttle (partnered with Easyjet) runs 24 daily services from Fiumicino airport to Via Marsala (at the side of Stazione Termini) from 8.30am to half-past midnight, with a stop at Piazza Cavour – just a ten-minute walk from St Peter’s. In the other direction, buses begin from Via Marsala at 5am and end at 8.30pm. Allow an hour to/from Piazza Cavour, 80 minutes to/from Via Marsala. Tickets cost 8 euros one way.
If you arrive very late at night or need to get to Fiumicino very early in the morning, when the train is not running, there’s a COTRAL bus that leaves from the airport at 1.15am, 2.15am, 3.30am and 5am for Stazione Termini and Stazione Tiburtina; in the other direction it leaves Tiburtina at 12.30am, 1.15am, 2.30am and 3.45am, stopping at Termini 5 minutes later. One-way tickets cost 4.50 euros (7 euros if bought on board); information at www.cotralspa.it.
To/from Fiumicino by taxi
These run into the centre for a fixed tariff of 45 euros for up to four people, including luggage. Some taxi drivers will try to extract more, but this is the official price. Only give a tip (5 euros maximum, usually less) if you feel you have had good service.
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The city’s secondary airport handles a number of low-cost routes – including all Ryanair flights into Rome. Unusually for a low-cost destination, it’s actually closer to the centre than the main airport (15km, 9.3 miles). However, it’s less well-connected by public transport, with no train service. There is currently only one terminal at Ciampino.
To/from Ciampino by bus
Buses are the only way of getting into central Rome without shelling out for a taxi. There are three rival operators. SITBusShuttle (www.sitbusshuttle.it) runs from the airport to Via Marsala (the side entrance of Stazione Termini) 21 times daily from 7.45am to 11.15pm (in the other direction from 4.30am to 9.30pm); the journey takes 30 minutes and one-way tickets cost 4 euros (it’s 6 euros one-way in the other direction, or 8 euros return). Terravision (www.terravision.eu) runs 29 times daily from the airport to Via Marsala (Stazione Termini) from 8.15am to 12.15am (in the other direction from 4.30am to 9.20pm). The journey takes 40 minutes and costs 4 euros one way, 8 euros return. The other service, run by COTRAL or its subsidiary ATRAL (www.cotralspa.it) is worthwhile only if you’re headed for Rome’s south-eastern suburbs: it runs in 20 minutes to Anagnina metro station (Linea A) for the knock-down price of 1.20 euros one way.
To/from Ciampino by taxi
Taxis run into the centre of Rome for a fixed tariff of 35 euros for up to four people, including luggage. Note that certain Ciampino taxi drivers have in the past been notorious for their rip-off tactics. The current fixed price was introduced partly in order to combat this; but you may still find the occasional driver who tries to convince you that this only applies between certain hours, on alternative Tuesdays, etc. As always, make sure that you agree on a price before you accept the ride.