Arriving in Rome – Fiumicino (FCO)!

The first step of a vacation in Rome is just getting there! Sometimes that can prove to be quite a task, especially if you’ve never traveled to Europe. If you’re flying from the US, you’re most likely to arrive at Leonardo Da Vinci Airport, more commonly known as Fiumicino (FCO).

The Airport is about 16 miles southwest of the city of Rome… and can be a challenge to get to the airport. You can reach the airport by car, train, bus, taxi, or private shuttle. We’ll explore each of these options. Currently, the airport consists of Terminal 1, Terminal 2, Terminal 3, and Terminal 5.

You can find links with maps of each of these terminals at this section of the FCO website. Fiumicino is not the prettiest airport and perhaps not the cleanest in Italy. Most of the time – unless folks go on strike – it does get the job done!


What most folks do not realize it just how close Rome, and the airport, is to the Tyrrhenian Sea. Looking over the wing of this departing plane, you can see the runaways in the top right corner of this picture.The airport is within half a mile of the sea!

The airport has undergone some renovations and more are ongoing. Terminal 5, the new departures terminal for all US flagged carriers, opened in May 2008. If you are traveling on Delta, United, American, Continental, US Airways, any other US flagged carrier, or EL AL then you will DEPART from this terminal. Note this is for departures only. This terminal was built to isolate US carriers so higher levels of security could be enforced in the post 911 era. Once you check in here you are bused to a Satellite Departure gate – Gate G on the map below – from which all US carrier flights depart!

Above, a map of the Terminal layouts; an overhead view of the G Gates Area.

All arriving passengers from the USA (and other NON-Schengen countries) are being processed through the Terminal 3 Arrivals Area. In most cases, if you are on an American flagged plane you will arrive at a G Gate, a Satellite Terminal Arrivals Area. After exiting the plane you will ride a “Sky-Train” from the Satellite Gate into the Arrivals area of Terminal 3. There you will go through Passport Control (Make sure to go to the NON-EU citizen lines if you’re carrying a US passport) and then head for your luggage carousel.


When you enter the Baggage Claim area the first luggage belt is Number 4. The belts are numbered sequentially throughout the Terminal 3 Arrivals area, until you get to the Arrivals area exit doors – which are closest to belt number Number 10. Most US carriers’ luggage is loaded on Numbers 4-8. Waiting for your checked luggage to be off-loaded will probably be the LONGEST part of your exit from the airport. The baggage folks at FCO are, well…. laid back. Plan on at least 30 minutes. We have waited as long as an hour for my luggage to show, buoyed only by the fact that no one else on my flight had theirs yet! Priority luggage tags are hit and miss at FCO – Welcome to Italy! As we say here, “piano, piano.” This means – slowly, slowly. After all, you’re in Italy now and things move at a different pace!

After you get your luggage you’ll walk past the customs officials as you head toward the frosted glass doors that mark the exit into the Terminal 3 Arrivals area. Don’t stop to talk to them unless you have something to declare (You Don’t!). Just head through those doors and into the Terminal 3 Arrivals Public Access Area. For more info on arriving in the T3 area, see Terminal 3 Arrivals at Fiumicino Airport.

You’ll find you are on the lower level of the terminal. Dragging your luggage, staggering from the load and the impact of jet lag, you’re now faced with the challenge of how to get to your hotel which is probably about 20 miles away.

Now we’ll talk transportation!

If you booked a private shuttle on line – or by phone – this is where they will meet you. Once you come out the frosted, sliding glass doors into the terminal be prepared to SEARCH for your name. Many of the shuttle drivers tend to hang out together and talk while waiting on … YOU! So they probably WILL NOT be right up from where you can see them. For more info, see our post on Where to Meet at FCO. More than likely they are about 25-40 feet from the door so don’t panic if you do not see them right away! Once you find them, they’ll escort you to their vehicle and of you go! There are many shuttle companies in Rome. On the travel boards the most suggested are Rome Cabs and Roma Shuttles. Both are quite reputable and do a good job. There are MANY, MANY others. The ride into town will cost from €45-85 depending on which service you select, number of folks, and where you’re hotel is. I’ve used many shuttle services for two persons at less than €45. For first-timer’s to Rome, a shuttle service may be the best option as you will be taken directly to your accommodations by the driver.

BEWARE the taxi and shuttle “gatherers!” These folks will greet you as you enter into the Arrivals Area. They will be wearing “official” badges and ask you, in good English, “Do you need a Taxi?” Avoid them at all costs… just say no and head for the Official Taxi Stand! These folks are working for unlicensed and unmetered can drivers and your bill will be whatever they think they can get from you!


A taxi is a viable way to get into the city. If you are staying inside the Aurelian walls (or the downtown, Centro area) then the cabs have a set fee. If the taxi drivers have their way, the fixed-rate fee will increase to €45 for up to four passengers – but that hasn’t happened yet. “Large luggage” will cost you €1 each. If you have more passengers, a tremendous amount of luggage, or you are NOT traveling downtown, be prepared to pay more – perhaps LOT’S MORE. If you are staying downtown, WHEN YOU GET INTO THE CAB, and before it departs, CONFIRM the €40 rate with the driver. Once this is done, you can sit back and relax. Often it is a good idea to have the name of your hotel, address, and phone number written down on paper. Your Italian might have sounded good back in the States, but here they may not have a clue where you’re trying to go. If you can get the hotel name and address written in Italian, all the better!

Should you tip your taxi or shuttle driver? Most folks who use these services say yes. In Italy tips are “different.” Certainly 10% is considered a GREAT tip and anything over that would be excessive unless deserving. Many Europeans do not tip, so it’s your call. Most drivers, when dealing with Americans (as they do every day), expect some form of tip.

IMG 3575
An “Official” Rome Taxi Cab

VERY IMPORTANT – The official taxi stand you will probably use at Fiumicino Airport is just outside Terminal 3 Arrivals. To get there from your arrival point, exit the frosted, sliding glass doors in Terminal 3 Arrivals and head slightly to the right and straight out onto the sidewalk outside the terminal. You will start to see taxis lined up. Walk to the front of the queue and there you can get into your cab. ONLY USE an official Rome cab! Above is the picture of an official Roman Taxi!


There are two trains you can take from the Airport into town. The most commonly used is the The Leonardo Express. This is a nonstop train from the Airport to the Roma Termini train station in downtown Rome. Roma Termini is the center of the public transportation system. There, the two metro lines (A and B) meet. It is the largest train station in the city. It also is a major bus station and has three official taxi stands. So if you journey in from the Airport on the Leonardo Express you have many transport options.

Currently, the Leonardo Express costs €14 (Price change eff. 4/2010). From the Airport, the Leonardo Express is scheduled to depart at 05 and 35 minutes past the hour. The trip takes about 31 minutes and the trains currently arrive at Track #24 in Termini. Children under 12 can ride this train free when accompanying an adult. If there is a train strike, busses will replace trains to get you into town. If you have a large party you can buy the “carnet” (booklet) of 10 vouchers at the special price of €85 (with an overall saving of €25).

The second train from the Airport is a regional train, the FR1 Metropolitan. It DOES NOT stop at Roma Termini Station, but has many stops coming into Rome including Roma Trastevere, Roma Ostiense, and Roma Tiburtina. You can connect to a Tram outside Roma Trastevere train station to head into the Center of Rome or Trastevere. At Ostiense you can change to the Metro, hopping on the B Line at Piramide. This train is currently priced at €8.00 (price change eff. 4/2010).

IMPORTANT – before getting on either train you MUST validate your ticket in one of the yellow boxes along the tracks. You’ll see a series of these just before the tracks start. Insert your ticket(s) into the boxes until you hear an audible click. Then, MAKE SURE your ticket has been time stamped by the machine. Both these trains are “open seating” so you sit where you like. But because of this the ticket would be valid on the next train, or the next. So the validation ties you to THIS train. Failure to do so will result in fines, paid on the spot to the conductor, and starting at €50. This is not the way to start your vacation. Be sure to VALIDATE!

Make sure you validate before getting on the train!

The train station at Fiumicino is located near the Terminal 3 Arrivals area. To get there from Terminals 1, 2, or 3, exit into the Arrivals area and TURN RIGHT. From Terminal 3 arrivals, exit through the frosted, sliding glass doors, go right about 150 yards. You’ll see plenty of signage! As you head right, look for an escalator DOWN. This is the walk way under the road and to the train station. Take this down, go under the road, then two levels of escalators up… head RIGHT at the top and you’re in the train station. Here you can purchase your Leonardo Express and FM1 tickets. Through agents on duty you can also purchase other train tickets if you want to continue from Roma Termini. You can even get metro tickets at the Tabacchi shop here on the platform.


Another into town would be the bus. There are a few services available but their times are more limited. The largest group, COTRAL, focuses on late evening – early morning trips. With the traffic issues in Rome, this would be the last resort. Even without traffic these buses take a minimum of 70 minutes according to their schedules. Take the train! Here are a few websites for buses:

SitBus Shuttle

This video, put together by Rome Walks, can give you some insight into getting into Rome from FCO. The video is a few years old, and some of the prices and signage have changed (like Terminal B-C is now terminal 3). Yet the video will give you more insight into FCO and hopefully ease your “arrival” concerns:

Hopefully this post will give you some idea of what to expect at Fiumicino. After a long flight “over the pond” Fiumicino may not be the prettiest, cleanest, or most efficient airport in Europe… but it does work, in its own kind of quirky way. Living here, we just adapt to FCO.

Header: FCO – Photo by micmol


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28 Responses to Arriving in Rome – Fiumicino (FCO)!

  1. JB says:

    I never came back to the site to thank you for your advice and this amazing site you’ve made. We had a great trip back in April and the reliability of the info on this site was confirmed everywhere we went in Rome! I’ve recommended this site to about 6 people since returning to the US and can’t wait to get back to Rome.

    Keep up the great work!

    Thanks Ron

  2. Ron in Rome says:

    If you’re coming from the USA, and arriving at 07:35, by the time you get out of the Arrivals area and over to the FCO train station, it will be well after 8 AM – perhaps even 9 AM. If you haven’t already purchased your Eurail Pass, don’t …. as point-to-point tickets, especially with the MINI fares, can be far cheaper – and no seat reservations to add on. But if you already have purchased the pass, the FCO Trenitalia booth will certainly be open far before you arrive at the station. If you’re limited on the number of days in your pass (depends on which type you bought), you could always just pay the €8 fare for the trip to Roma Trastevere rather than using one of your available days.

  3. JB says:

    Thanks for the remarkable work! It’s been ten years since my last trip to Rome and your site has updated me on all the changes since. I’m travelling with family on this trip and have purchased a eurail pass here in the US. From what I’ve read here and elsewhere I’ve decided to not book the train reservations until we arrive in Italy (we’ll be going from Rome-Florence-Venice-Rome). I was wondering what time the Trenitalia ticket booth opens at FCO? Our flight will arive Friday morning at 7:35am and we will be taking the FM1 to stazione Trastevere. grazie mille

  4. Ron in Rome says:

    About 10-15 minutes from the FCO train station to Terminal 2

  5. adrian Pepler says:

    A very informative site and a great help! I have a quick question for which i have not found the answer:
    How long would it take to walk from the train station at the airport to check in at Terminal 2?

  6. Ron in Rome says:

    Really nothing to scenic out near the FCO Airport. You could possibly go to Ostia Antica. I’d recommend a taxi both ways it’s also far out from the city – and the airport. If you can’t get to Pompeii, this is a great substitute.

  7. Suzi says:

    Ron, my entire family – 14 in all – will be making a trip to Italy this April, and arriving at FCO. Can you give me recommendations of what option would be best for a group of this size. We are staying approximately 4 blocks from the Termini station. Thanks…great information on your website!

  8. adinda says:

    Hi Ron,
    Its me again.. on my last day in Rome, i will arrive in Fiumicino around 4 PM (from Barcelona). But my flight home is scheduled to departure in 10.40 PM… so i have like 6 hours to do nothing but wait. Any suggestion about what to do inside the airport or maybe if there’s a nice exciting nearby places i can visit by bus or walking distance? maybe an art gallery, a great landscape, a landmark or a building with tasteful interior design? (we are interior designer travelling for excursions). Appreciate very much if you’re willing to give tips. Thank you!

  9. Ron in Rome says:

    George, you’ll arrive in the G gates and it sounds like you need to get to the B gates (domestic Alitalia flights primarily leave from here). If your flights are code-shared and your luggage will be transferred it’s quite easy. You would do passport control, then walk the transit route behind security. Tha ealk is perhaps 15-18 minutes.

    If you have to wait on luggage, or if you’re buying “separate” tickets, than it gets more complicated. Regardless, you must first go through Immigration (Passport Control). Depending on how many other Non-Schengen planes have arrive ahead of you, this could take 3 minutes or 30+ minutes. Next,if you have to do luggage, it can take from 20 minutes to 1+ hours to get your luggage. FCO is notoriously slow with luggage. Then, you’ll have to recheck your luggage, which means exiting out of security, and walking 10-12 minutes to T1. There you would wait in line, check your baggage, go back through security and head for your gate…

    Without having to re-check luggage or go through security, you could easily make a 60 minute connection. But you’re counting on your first flight being on time. If you have to do two separate tickets and re-check luggage, 2-2.5+ hours easily on a busy day at FCO. Just too many variables to give you a more accurate time.

  10. George says:

    Very useful information, Ron. We will be arriving from US (T3) and heading to Palermo the same day directly from FCO (T1). How long is the walk from T3 to T1? How much time should we allow for baggage retrieval, passport control, walking, etc.? Thanks.

  11. Ruban Das says:

    Dear Ron,
    Thank you for being such a help! Your website has helped us with so many trivia. We will be in Rome in about 2 weeks and your tips will come handy.

    Best Regards, Ruban

  12. Ron in Rome says:

    Thanks Kyli for your comments. The cheapest method might be to take the Leonardo Express to Roma Termini Station. Then take a train from Roma Termini to Naploli Centrale. There, switch to the Circumvesuviana train from Naples to Sorrento, and finally , jump on the SITA bus from Sorrento to Positano. The Positano bus starts from just outside the Circumvesuviana station in Sorrento, and you can buy your bus tickets from the Tabacchi stands at the station entrance.

    You could ALSO upon arrival in Naples hire a hired & car with driver to take you from the Naples train station to your hotel in Positano. There is a bus that runs from Rome to Sorrento ( – all in Italian), but I think I’d rather be on the trains as the bus schedule is limited. I know the first route appears intimidating with 3 changes but they are fairly easy.

    You certainly are covering a lot of ground… From Rome to Postiano, up to Venice and back down. Appears you’ll be spending SOME time in transit!

  13. Kyli Perez says:

    Ron, your site is a life saver. I wish I had stumbled across it months ago, but I did find you just in time as my daughter and I leave for 14 days in Italy on October 7! We’re so excited. I do have a question for you that I didn’t find readily on your site, although it’s possible I just didn’t search thoroughly enough. I designed our itinerary myself, with zero travel experience in Italy, and have planned that we will depart immediately by train from Rome when we arrive on the 8th, headed to Positano (I’ve left Rome for the last 4 days of our trip since we’re flying out of Rome anyway and have to be back there on the 21st to leave). Could you please provide some guidance on getting from Fiumicino to Positano by train? It’s all a bit confusing with the different trains and the fact that we will apparently have to change trains in Naples.
    Also, as an aside, since I have found an expert, I’d like to share our itinerary with you so that you can tell me if any of it is inefficient, or if we’re backtracking on any leg of the trip. Please bear in mind that I only have a month left so can make some changes without paying hotel cancellation fees if I do so right away.

    Oct 7…Leave Houston
    Oct 8…Arrive in Rome (Fiumicino) around noon, depart immediately by train (but which? And where) for Positano
    October 8, 9 & 10 (check out on 11th) Positano
    October 11, 12 (check out on 13th) Sorrento
    October 13 & 14 (check out on 15th) Siena
    October 15 &16 (check out on 17th ) Venice
    October 17-20 Rome
    Depart Rome Fiumicino early morning on October 21

    Thanks again for the incredible service you’re providing for travelers here!

  14. Ron in Rome says:

    Arik – There’s a SmartPhone store just outside the Arrivals Area in the T3 terminal. See this link, Where to Meet at FCO, for details and a picture.

  15. Arik says:

    Hi Ron, Please advise me where in the FCO Terminal 3 (arrival on Lufthansa) I can buy a calling card to call to my host.

  16. Ron in Rome says:

    Matt, depending on the number of people in your group and where you are headed, you can save money by booking a shutttle. 4 people to Roma Termini on the Leonardo Express train costs €56. A taxi can get four of you there for €40 (currently) and a shuttle will be around the €55 mark depending on the vendor.

  17. iAmMatt says:

    Hi Ron, thanks for posting this very valuable information on how to travel in Rome. Can we save more money if we don’t book a shuttle service or it will be just too much of a hassle not to get one?

    Matt Springfield

  18. Nancy says:

    This will be my first and most likely only trip to Europe with Rome, Tuscany and Venice a major portion of our time. My family gave me this trip as a gift and I will be traveling with my daughter. I have tried to research as much as I can so as not to have too many surprises. Your information goes a long way toward making our arrival in Italy fairly straightforward and I thank you so much for that. I may have more questions that you would have some feed back on. Nancy

  19. Nancy says:

    What a wonderful gesture. Your information and video are extremely helpful. Thank you

  20. RDL says:

    Ron……great site and info! Thanks for creating it!
    If you have any similar tips (or know of good sites) for getting oriented while “departing” from Paris CDG back to US that would be helpful!

    Thanks again,

  21. Kerri says:

    Fantastic info, thanks so much!

  22. Rebecca Watson says:

    My husband and I are going to be in Rome October 15th through the 17th, leaving on the 18th for Citavecchia and a cruise. We will be celebrating 30 years of marriage and retirement for both of us. I was very excited to find your blog and plan to read it all before we go. I know that three days (including jet lag arrival day) is not much time to see Rome. We plan to stay in Rome and save excursions outside Rome for another trip. Thanks for all the great information–I know we will be able to use it.

  23. Kay says:

    This is a wonderful posting. I wish we had something like this for every major airport! Thank you.

  24. NJ Hersch says:

    Great website. I’ve been to Italy several times and this site is very informative for first time travelers as well as those that have already been there.

  25. EEC says:

    Every time i come here I am not disappointed, nice post!

    Greetings from Tim. :)

  26. Pradeep says:

    Thanks Ron!! This was very helpful for our upcomming trip in September. We will be traveling from the U.S and are scheduled for a cruise via R.C.

  27. guy says:

    hey ron,

    thank you for this site.
    I sm from israel and i’m planning to visit rome next mounth. i am sure that the information you post here will help me alot in my trip.


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