Although I have a preference overall for flying directly into Venice whenever possible, the fact is that most overseas visitors to Italy use Rome as their entry point. Why? For one thing, it’s a bigger airport and so has more international flights. But the main reason is an off-shoot of having more flight options – the prices are often lower.
Just getting to Fiumicino Airport is only half the battle, however. From there, you’ve got to get out of the maze and into the city itself. I’ve gotten a few questions about how to get from the Fiumicino Airport in Rome into Rome’s city center, and while I’ve answered them in bits and pieces here and there, I thought it made sense to gather the information here in one post.
Getting from Rome Fiumicino Airport to Rome
The Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Rome, most commonly known as Fiumicino (few|mee|CHEE|noh), lies more than 30km away from the city center. It’s a huge airport – the largest in Italy – and as such has lots of transportation options. Unless you’re planning to fly into Rome and head immediately for the countryside, however, your itinerary is likely to take you into the city of Rome – and that, if you ask me, limits your transportation options down to only a couple that are reasonable.
What I mean by that is this – almost no one who travels to Italy should drive in Rome. Period.
Rome has lots of lovely paved roads, and there are cars everywhere, so it’s not like I’m telling you not to drive in a place that isn’t car-friendly. Instead, I’m telling you to avoid driving into Rome for your own sanity (not to mention safety). Again, unless you’re flying into Rome and plan on driving into the countryside, bypassing the city completely, don’t bother renting a car at Fiumicino.
So, how do you get from Fiumicino Airport into Rome without renting a car? Let me count the ways…
Taking the Train from Rome Fiumicino Airport to Rome
There’s a train that runs between Termini Station and Rome’s airport called, fittingly the “Leonardo Express.” The trip on the Leonardo Express takes about 30 minutes, and it departs every half-hour at 5 minutes past the hour and 35 minutes past the hour starting at 06:00 and going until 23:00. The trains run 7 days a week.
Tickets for the Leonardo Express are, as I write this, €14, and kids under the age of 12 travel free with a paying adult.
At Fiumicino, you can buy Leonardo Express tickets at the airport’s train station ticket office, at most of the newsstands in the airport, at most airport tobacco shops, and at strategically-located self-service machines. The train station ticket office and self-serve machines are in the main hall of the airport’s train station.
The Trenitalia website also claims you can buy your tickets online before you travel, and print out a PDF ticket to bring with you. Choosing this option would mean you’d need to have an idea of the time of the train you’d be taking, because your PDF ticket will already be validated. It’s good for 90 minutes starting at the departure time of your chosen train. And all of that would be really interesting, were it not for the fact that I cannot for the life of me find the actual part of the Trenitalia website where you can buy said PDF ticket. I’ve been looking (and shaking my fist at the computer), and it just doesn’t seem to be there. If someone out there can send me a link for this, I’d be much obliged.
Having said that, you can read more about the Leonardo Express on the Trenitalia website here.
Taking a Local Train from Rome Fiumicino Airport to Rome
While the Rome Metro may leave something to be desired in terms of the places you can actually reach easily in the city center (those pesky underground Roman ruins, always hampering construction of new Metro lines!), there is a local train line that connects the Rome airport with the city. It’s called the FR1 line, also known as Sabina-Fiumicino, and it stops at Rome’s Tiburtina, Tuscolana, Ostiense, and Trastevere stations, as well as several other stations of the Rome Metro (there’s a graphic showing all the stops of the Sabina-Fiumicino line here which is helpful, though the rest of the text is in Italian only). At the Tiburtina, Tuscolana, and Ostiense stations you can get off the FR1 and transfer to either Metro line A or Metro line B to get elsewhere in the city center.
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A ticket on the FR1 line from Fiumicino to Rome costs €8 as I write this. These local trains run every 15 minutes or so on a normal schedule, and every half-hour on holidays.
Taking the Bus from Rome Fiumicino Airport to Rome
There used to be more bus companies running between Fiumicino Airport to central Rome, but now it appears there’s only one. The trip itself may be a bit longer it’s also a bit cheaper than the Leonardo Express.
Cotral buses connect Fiumicino Airport with Rome’s Termini and Tiburtina stations eight times each day. The earliest bus from Fiumicino is at 01:15, and the earliest bus from Tiburtina is 00:30. Termini is the station just before or after Tiburtina (depending on which way you’re going).
The complete schedule showing on the Cotral website right now is:
Departures from Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci
01.15 – 2.15 – 3.30 – 5.00 – 10.55 – 12.00 – 15.30 – 19.00
Departures from Rome Tiburtina station
00.30 – 1.15 – 2.30 – 03.45 – 09.45 – 10.30 – 12.35 – 17.30
A ticket on the Cotral bus is listed at €4.50, and you can buy tickets directly on the bus.
You’ll find more details about the various bus options from Fiumicino Airport (as well as links to the bus companies themselves) on this page of the Fiumicino website.
Taking a Taxi from Rome Fiumicino Airport to Rome
While there are still taxi drivers in Rome who are going to try to rip off unsuspecting tourists with overpriced cab fares, travelers who have done their homework won’t be caught by the scam. See, the city of Rome instituted a fixed fare system for the trip between Fiumicino and the city center, so you know what you’ll be charged before you even get in the taxi.
The fixed taxi fare between Fiumicino and Rome is, as I write this, €40 one-way for “all destinations within the Aurelian Walls” in the central part of the city. That €40 fare is “inclusive of luggage” and is for a maximum of 4 people. And if you’re not sure exactly where the Aurelian Walls are in relation to where you’re going, there’s a nifty PDF map of the covered area here. (And if you’re flying into Rome’s smaller airport, Ciampino, there’s a fixed taxi fare there, too that’s a bit less than the Fiumicino fare.)
In order to get this fixed price fare, you need to make sure you’re hiring an official taxi. In other words, you’ve got to get in the specified spots where the taxis line up outside the airport. There are taxi areas near exits A, B, and C. But there are also some cars around these exits which aren’t official taxis, so city officials stress that sanctioned Rome taxis are the ones that are “white and have a “TAXI” sign on their roof, as well as an identifying number on their doors, on the rear, and inside the vehicle.” With anything other than an approved taxi, you might be taking your chances.
>> Be sure to read this excellent post about how to avoid getting ripped off by taxis in Rome
Hiring Rental Cars With Drivers from Rome Fiumicino Airport to Rome
This last option may sound a bit odd, but it’s actually essentially the same as a taxi. There are three companies at Fiumicino which offer this service, and you’ll know which ones they are because the sign on the cars says “NCC” – this stands for “noleggio con conducente,” or “rental with driver.” The cars are typically blue or grey, and unlike the taxis the rates aren’t fixed – they differ depending on exactly where you’re going, so you’ll want to work out the price before you agree to hop into a car.
These NCC cars are available in the same areas as the official taxis but can also be requested from kiosks you’ll find inside the airport (whereas the city advises you to ignore people who approach you inside the airport offering tranportation service). The names and phone numbers of the three NCC companies operating at Fiumicino are on the airport’s website here.
Now that you’re in Rome…
Before you start your Rome trip, check out my Rome travel guide with information about visiting the Eternal City – and links to most of the stuff I’ve written about traveling in Rome.
Is this your first time in Rome? Then you’ll want to peruse my first-time visitor’s Rome survival tips.
Pressed for time? Here are my top 10 things to do in Rome.
Rome’s a big city, so you’ll be well-served by using the Rome public transportation system.
Looking for a place to stay in Rome on a budget? I’ve written about Rome’s party hostels, hostels around the Colosseum, and hostels that aren’t right near Termini Station. I’ve also visited and reviewed several hostels in Rome, too.