Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Rome Airport (FCO) - Car Rentals
Original article by Pauline Kenny; updated with photos and text from Andrew
Everything you need to know about picking up and dropping off your car rental at Rome Airport (FCO).
Read our page Rome Airport - layout and public transportation options for a description of the airport layout.
Slow Travel Google Map - Rome Airport (FCO): Airport terminals, parking garages, train station and the walking route from Terminal C (international arrivals) to the Car Rental offices.
Map of Parking Garages: Photo of the parking garage map at Rome Airport (FCO)
Getting to the Car Rental Desk
When you come out of customs with your luggage in the Rome airport you are on the International Arrivals level - ground floor. There are only a few signs for car rentals and they point you to escalators that take you to the top level of the airport.
The car rental office is in the parking garage, across a roadway from the airport. Do not attempt to get there from the ground level - use the walkway that goes to the 4th floor (otherwise you really get lost - we learned this first hand). From the airport upper level, you walk through a tube-like covered walkway to an intersection of walkways. The car rental office is in one of these intersections. There should be signs. If you take the elevators, the walkway from the elevator takes you directly to the car rental office.
This photo shows the office for several car rental companies - EuropCar, Avis, Hertz, Thrifty, Maggiore, National, etc.
If you have your luggage on a luggage cart you will want to find the elevators. To find the elevators: facing the street, go to your left and go to the end of the airport. The elevators are to the left of the Snack Bar. On the way to the elevators, you pass the standard airport things - stores, restaurants. Restrooms will be on your left before you get to the elevators. Take the elevator to level 2 of the airport and take the covered walkway over the road to towards the parking garage. The car rental desk is located at the first intersection you come to (I don't know how else to describe it - it is an intersection of covered walkways).
Getting to the Car Rental Parking Area
From the car rental desk, they send you to the area where they keep the cars. This is a section of level 4 in Parking Lot B. This is where you will return the car.
Note About Early Morning or Late Night Arrivals
February 2004 - Stephen from Naples writes:
Slow Travelers might like to note that if you arrive early in the morning or very late at night, a lot of the access doors are locked between the car park/station area and the terminal buildings.
If you need to pickup your rental car, my advice is first to try to access the walkway on the 4th floor, but if this is locked, then there is no alternative but to access the car park by walking across on ground level and then using the flights of steps that are internal to the car parks to reach either your car or the car rental desk or the station. Do NOT use the outside staircase in the car park because they take you up to the 4th floor where there is a locked door.
Note About Getting a Ticket to Exit the Airport Parking Lot
May 2005 - Verona posts on the message board:
When you pick up your car, make sure the rental agency gives you a ticket to get out of the airport parking lot. There are unmanned gates and you need to put your ticket into the slot to open the gates. We did not know this; the front gate would not open and then the gate closed behind us and we were locked in. No one around us spoke English. My husband had to walk back to the building with the rental cars while I stood behind the car so no one would line up behind us (there was more than one exit lane). After much distress, he found the rental booth where the woman said "Oh, didn't I give you a ticket?"
Leaving the Airport (for Tuscany and Umbria or north)
It takes about 2 to 2 1/2 hours to drive from the airport to the Chiusi exit on the A1 (autostrada from Rome to the north through Tuscany and Umbria).
When you leave the airport, follow the signs to Roma. Exit onto the Grande Raccondo Anulare (GRA), the ring road around Rome. You are heading north. On the GRA, follow signs for Firenze (Florence) and Autostrada del Sole (A1). Drive about 25 km on the GRA to exit number 10 (the exits 8, 9 and 10 are grouped together). Exit 10 takes you to the E35, connecting to the Autostrada A1 north in the direction Firenze.
When you arrive at the toll gates for the Autostrada go to an unmarked gate or one marked Biglietto or Ticket; do not go to the gates marked Telepass. Take a ticket from the automatic dispenser. You will need this ticket for paying when you leave the Autostrada.
The Autostrada A1 is a toll road with good service areas with restaurants, caffes and clean restrooms (leave a tip for the restroom attendant - 0.50 euro). Many of the service areas are our favorite Autogrill - good magazine selection, good maps, good coffee (pay at the cashier for what you want, then take your ticket to the counter).
From the Autostrada A1 you can easily get to all of Tuscany and Umbria.
Getting Your Last Tank of Gas at the Airport
You must return your rental car with a full tank of gas. There are gas stations at the airport (these are new) but there are none on the road that connects the Rome ring road with the airport.
Updated 2008: There are now four gas stations at the airport, making it easy and convenient to fill up before returning your rental car. When you enter the airport, follow the signs directing you towards Ostia and Fiumicino. Continue past the parking garages and Terminal 5 until you come to a round-about. Follow the sign to Ostia and shortly find Q8, Shell, Total, and Agip stations. On exiting the station, look for a paved crossing to the other side of the grassy median strip. From here it is just a two-minute drive back to the parking garage to turn in your car.
Getting Your Last Tank of Gas on the Rome Ring Road
From the North on A12: If you are coming down the coast from the north on the Autostrada A12, the last gas station before the airport is at Arrone Ovest, just past the toll booth and 10 km before the intersection where you get on the road to the airport. (This is just after the second toll booth after Civitavecchia.) There are toll booths at the start and end of the A12 and each require a 1,80 toll (tickets are not used on this stretch).
From the North on A1: If you are coming from Tuscany or Umbria on the A1 autostrada, the last two gas stations are on the Rome ring road: the second last one is between exits 3 and 2 (Autogrill - Selva Candida - two gas stations with full service); the last one is between exits 33 and 32 (also two gas stations).
From the South on A1: B. Wood wrote this about coming from the south: When you're driving up the autostrada from the south, the last available service area is at Frascati, just before the toll booth where you exit the autostrada and get on the GRA. If you're buying gas, have cash on hand, since they did not accept credit cards. There are no gas stations on the GRA between the A1 entrance and the airport exit.
Finding the Car Rental Return at the Airport
From the Grande Raccondo Anulare (GRA), the ring road around Rome, take exit 30 for the airport. Coming from the north, exits 30 and 31 are together. This puts you on a good 3 lane highway that goes to the airport (Leonardo da Vinci airport). As you enter the airport, follow the signs to the ABC Terminals and to the covered parking (a sign with P and a hat over it).
It is very important to keep in the left lane. The car rental return is in the B and C covered parking garage. (Do not take the long term parking exit.) There are signs for this, but not many and they can be missed (we missed them our first time - that is why I have these directions written down). You will see the Hilton Hotel on your right. Always keep to the left. EuropCar and Avis car return are in the B parking garage, 4th floor. You enter B and C at the same place, with an immediate left turn for EuropCar in B. A small sign at that turnoff tells you which parking garage each car rental agency is in. Hertz car return is C parking garage, 4th floor.
Enter the parking garage, taking a ticket from the automatic dispenser (just like an American garage). Keep the ticket - you need it later. You enter at the ground level and need to go up to the 4th floor. You will see signs pointing you to the higher levels. You have to go up a narrow ramp that is steep and has very tight turns. Keep going around and around on this until you get to the 4th floor where you will see the EuropCar signs. To get into their section, you need to put the ticket that you got when you entered the garage into the machine that then raises the gate so you can drive in.
Once you are there, the check in is somewhat confusing but really easy. Sometimes they don't even want to look at your car.
Finding a Luggage Cart
Look around the lot for abandoned luggage carts. If you cannot find any, follow someone with a cart who is picking up their rental car and get the cart from them when they are done.
Getting to the Airport
Departures on U.S. carriers and El Al are from the new Terminal 5. Details on Terminal 5 can be found at http://www.adr.it/content.asp?Subc=3024&L=3&idMen=450. Taxis and car services can go directly there; if returning a rental car, you need to take a shuttle bus (reportedly not well-equipped for going with luggage) from the front of Terminal C.
Departing from Terminal 5
When departing from Terminal 5, you can easily walk there from Terminal C, so long as the weather is not bad and you have rolling luggage. It's only a half-mile (800m), and you can avoid a sometimes long line at the shuttle stop and whatever problems there might be with luggage on the shuttle. There is no single path; you have to wend your way at first, but keep going and a sidewalk will eventually appear. Start with your back to Terminal C and go to the right.
Facing the door of the small car rental office in the lot, take the very first left (just past the lot office) to a covered walkway. Do not take the elevators - they just take you down to the lower level of the parking garage. In the covered walkway, take a right (left goes to the Hilton Hotel, straight to lot C, and right to the Car Rental desk and then to the airport). A moving walkway takes you to airport terminals A, B, C. You will see monitors showing departing flights. Figure out what terminal you need to go to and then follow the signs to that terminal. Do not take an elevator until you have walked over the road (on the covered walkway) and are in the airport.
When you arrive in the airport, you are on level 2. Check in is on level 1, arrivals are on the ground level. If you are taking a taxi into Rome, go to the ground level and walk outside to the taxi stand.
Negotiating the Check In
The Check In level of the airport is very confusing. You need to locate the monitors which tell you which check in desks (they are numbered) to use for your flight. It is usually a two step check in where the first stop is security inspection and then you go to the check in clerk.
A good place to pickup and dropoff in Rome if you booked with AutoEurope is one of the locations near the Borghese Gardens or the location at Termini, the main train station. Read more on our page about Car Rental Locations in Rome.
This page has been updated with photos and text from Andrew.
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