Rome's Fiumicino airport Leonardo da Vinci

Fiumicino airport, Rome, Italy (Photo by Ra Boe)

Rome's main airport, Fiumicino (FCO), about 29km (18 miles) W of the city, is where most Transatlantic (and many other) flights land

Most international flights land at Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, usually called Fiumicino Airport, 29km (18 miles) west of the city.

Most flights—national and international—land or take off from the interconnected Terminals 1, 2, or 3.

Gelato alert!
If you're lucky enough to be in Terminal A for an extended period of time, find your way past the McDonald's at the upstairs food court for the airport branch of ★★★ San Crispino, one of Rome's best ice cream chains (tel. +39-06-6501-9911; ilgelatodisancrispino.com; Open daily 7am–10pm).
However, all flights out of Rome to the U.S. leave from the separate Terminal 5 ("T5"), which is located, roughly, in Timbuktu.

Terminal 5—a former cargo terminal that is used exclusively for flights to the U.S. and Israel—is a 15 minute ride away from everything else on a shuttle that passes by only every 20–30 minutes or so. (And yes, it's pretty much impossible to walk to it, since most of the journey is on a sidewalk-less elevated ramp.)

This is not Italy's fault. It has to do with the asinine extra security protocols of the TSA (and of Israel).

How to get from Rome's Fiumicino airport into downtown Rome

  • By express train (32 min.; €14 ($17)): To get to downtown Rome from Fiumicino airport, follow the treni signs for nonstop "Leonardo Express" trains to the main rail station, Stazione Termini. 
  • By local train (27–47 min.; €8 ($9)): From the same airport station, there's also a local train every 15 minutes (every 30 minutes on Sunday) that stops at the Roma-Trastevere station (27 min.), Roma-Ostiense (32 min.), Roma-Tuscolana (41 min.) and finally ends at Roma-Tiburtina station (47 min.). If you are on this and wish to get to Termini instead, get off at Ostiense and walk to the Piramide Metro stop to catch the B line to Termini.
     
  • By shuttle bus (55 min.; €5 ($6)–€8 ($9)): There are several competing shuttle bus services between Roma Fiumicino airport and the Roma Termini rail station area. They tend to run every 30–50 minutes; the ride takes just under an hour (traffic willing). You will notice a price range for some. That it because tickets are cheapest if bought ahead of time (either online or at a tabbachi, newstand, or other local vendor). We'll start with the cheapest (if you book ahead online):
    • Cotral bus (Cotralspa.it; €5 ($6)–€7 ($8)) - Downtown Rome stop: Piazza dei Cinquecento, in front of the Museo Nazionale Romano-Palazzo Massimo alle Terme (in the southwest corner of the square in front of Termini train station). Tickets €5 ($6) at tabbachi, newstands, or the Autogrill inside the airport; €7 ($8) on board.
    • Terravision bus (Terravision.eu; €5.80 ($7)–€7.80 ($9)) - Downtown Rome stop: Via Marsala 29A (the Terracafè), by the northwest corner of Termini train station. Tickets bought on board are €7.80 ($9), but if you book online ahead of time they are €5.80 ($7).
    • Tam bus (Tambus.it; €6 ($7)) - Downtown Rome stop: Via Giolitti 10, next to the Coin department store that occupies the south flank of Termini train station (around the right side as you're facing the station), just SE of the corner with Via Gioberti.
    • SIT bus (Sitbusshuttle.com; €6 ($7)) - Downtown Rome stop: Via Marsala 5, just on the other side of the building flanking the northern edge of Piazza dei Cinquencento, the large square in front of Termini.
    • Rome Airport Bus (Romeairportbus.com; €6.90 ($8)) - Downtown Rome stop: Via Giolitti 10, along the south flank of Termini train station (around the right side as you're facing the station), near the corner with Via Gioberti. Buy tickets online ahead of time, or at their machine in the airport (Terminal T3), or from the staff at the Termini stop.
       
  • By taxi (45–60 min.; €48 ($57)): A taxi from of to Leonardo da Vinci - Fiumicino airport to downtown Rome costs a flat fee of €48 ($57), including luggage, for up to four people.
     
  • By private car (45–60 min.; €15 ($18)–€64 ($76)): A private transfer from Fiumicino/Leonardo da Vinci airport direct to your city center hotel costs just €15 ($18)–€32 ($38) per person, depending on how many are traveling—€15 ($18) per person for eight people, €32 ($38) per person for two, €64 ($76) for just one person.

The train from Rome's Termini train station to the Rome airport is at the hidden Track 25 (a.k.a: Where the !@#$ is the airport train?)

The train from Termini station to the airport is called the Leonardo Express.

It leaves every half-hour on the xx:23 and xx:53 (every 15 minutes at peak hours), and the ride takes 32 minutes.Tickets cost €14 ($17), and are available at a booth alongside Track 24.

So far, so good.

The problem is that the tracks for the airport shuttle train are—in another display of sheer idiocy—located on Track 25.

The problem with this is that Track 25 is separate from the rest of the tracks, and you can get to it only by walking a quarter mile up track 24. Insane!

There's a map to the right showing you where it is (note that I spun this map so that north is to the left because this is the orientation of someone entering the tracks from the main ticketing hall), but here is a description of how to find the airport train in the Rome train station.

Track 25's location causes millions of tourists undue stress and confusion because, when you arrive at Termini and walk all the way (to the right) to the station's southern wall, you'll see that the last track appears to be Track 24. 

This is where most people panic. Don't. left left and start walking up alongside Track 24 for, oh, about 300 yards until suddenly the wall on the right opens up and you see four more tracks before you: including Track 25. 

Yes, hiding this important train down here and forcing folks laden with luggage and late for their flight to sprint an extra 1/3 mile is not only astoundingly stupid planning, it's downright cruel, but there you have it.

(You don't actually have to walk the whole way; there is a series of moving sidewalks. However, these are unfortunately located one level below the tracks, so you have to lug your luggage down one of the staricases you'll see as you start up the loooong walk, then use the series of moving sidewalks, then climb another staricase back up to the track level at the end. This is also an idiotic design flaw, but it might help.)

Getting between Rome's Fiumicino and Ciampino airports

In the off-chance you find yourself having to transfer directly between Rome's Ciampino and the Fiumicino-Leonardo da Vinci airports, you could take any of the methods of transporation described above into Rome and then back out to the other airport, but it is far easier and less stressful just to take a taxi directly,

The fixed fee for a taxi betwen the Rome airports is €50 ($59).

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  • , Fiumicino airport, Italy (Photo by Ra Boe)
  • , Fiumicino airport, Italy (Photo by Ra Boe)
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Useful Italian phrases

Useful Italian for air travel

English (inglese) Italian  (italiano)   Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is... Dov'é doh-VAY
the airport l'aeroporto LAHW-ro-port-oh
the airplane l'aereo LAIR-reh-oh
terminal terminal TEAR-me-nahl
flight volo VOH-lo
gate uscita d'imbarco oo-SHEE-tah deem-BARK-oh
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
keep going straight sempre diritto SEM-pray dee-REE-toh
departures partenze par-TEN-zay
arrivals arrivi ah-REE-vee
delayed in ritardo een ree-TAR-doh
on time in orario een oh-RAH-ree-yo
early in avanti een ah-VAHN-tee
boarding imbarco eem-BARK-o
connecting flight la coincidenza la ko-een-chee-DEN-za
check-in accettazione ah-chet-ta-zee-YO-nee
immigration controllo passaporti cone-TRO-lo pah-sa-POR-tee
security check controllo di sicurezza kohn-TRO-lo dee see-kur-AY-tzah
customs dogana do-GA-na
shuttle la navetta lah na-VET-tah
boarding pass carta d'imbarco kart-ta deem-BARK-o
baggage claim ritiro bagagli ree-TEER-oh bah-GA-lyee
carry-on luggage bagaglio à mano bah-GA-lyo ah MA_no
checked luggage bagalio bah-GA-lyo

Basic phrases in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) pro-nun-see-YAY-shun
thank you grazie GRAT-tzee-yay
please per favore pair fa-VOHR-ray
yes si see
no no no
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? PAR-la een-GLAY-zay
I don't understand Non capisco non ka-PEESK-koh
I'm sorry Mi dispiace mee dees-pee-YAT-chay
How much is it? Quanto costa? KWAN-toh COST-ah
That's too much É troppo ay TROH-po
     
Good day Buon giorno bwohn JOUR-noh
Good evening Buona sera BWOH-nah SAIR-rah
Good night Buona notte BWOH-nah NOTE-tay
Goodbye Arrivederci ah-ree-vah-DAIR-chee
Excuse me (to get attention) Scusi SKOO-zee
Excuse me (to get past someone) Permesso pair-MEH-so
     
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...the bathroom il bagno eel BHAN-yoh
...train station la ferroviaria lah fair-o-vee-YAR-ree-yah
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
information informazione in-for-ma-tzee-OH-nay

Days, months, and other calendar items in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
At what time... a che ora a kay O-rah
     
Yesterday ieri ee-YAIR-ee
Today oggi OH-jee
Tomorrow domani doh-MAHN-nee
Day after tomorrow dopo domani DOH-poh doh-MAHN-nee
     
a day un giorno oon je-YOR-no
Monday Lunedí loo-nay-DEE
Tuesday Martedí mar-tay-DEE
Wednesday Mercoledí mair-coh-lay-DEE
Thursday Giovedí jo-vay-DEE
Friday Venerdí ven-nair-DEE
Saturday Sabato SAH-baa-toh
Sunday Domenica doh-MEN-nee-ka
     
Mon-Sat Feriali fair-ee-YAHL-ee
Sun & holidays Festivi feh-STEE-vee
Daily Giornaliere joor-nahl-ee-YAIR-eh
     
a month una mese oon-ah MAY-zay
January gennaio jen-NAI-yo
February febbraio feh-BRI-yo
March marzo MAR-tzoh
April aprile ah-PREEL-ay
May maggio MAH-jee-oh
June giugno JEW-nyoh
July luglio LOO-lyoh
August agosto ah-GO-sto
September settembre set-TEM-bray
October ottobre oh-TOE-bray
November novembre no-VEM-bray
December dicembre de-CHEM-bray

Numbers in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
1 uno OO-no
2 due DOO-way
3 tre tray
4 quattro KWAH-troh
5 cinque CHEEN-kway
6 sei say
7 sette SET-tay
8 otto OH-toh
9 nove NO-vay
10 dieci dee-YAY-chee
11 undici OON-dee-chee
12 dodici DOH-dee-chee
13 tredici TRAY-dee-chee
14 quattordici kwa-TOR-dee-chee
15 quindici KWEEN-dee-chee
16 sedici SAY-dee-chee
17 diciasette dee-chee-ya-SET-tay
18 diciotto dee-CHO-toh
19 diciannove dee-chee-ya-NO-vay
20 venti VENT-tee
21* vent'uno* vent-OO-no
22* venti due* VENT-tee DOO-way
23* venti tre* VENT-tee TRAY
30 trenta TRAYN-tah
40 quaranta kwa-RAHN-tah
50 cinquanta cheen-KWAN-tah
60 sessanta say-SAHN-tah
70 settanta seh-TAHN-tah
80 ottanta oh-TAHN-tah
90 novanta no-VAHN-tah
100 cento CHEN-toh
1,000 mille MEEL-lay
5,000 cinque milla CHEEN-kway MEEL-lah
10,000 dieci milla dee-YAY-chee MEEL-lah


* You can use this formula for all Italian ten-place numbers—so 31 is trent'uno, 32 is trenta due, 33 is trenta tre, etc. Note that—like uno (one), otto (eight) also starts with a vowel—all "-8" numbers are also abbreviated (vent'otto, trent'otto, etc.).

 

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