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Flying in and out of Rome Airport (FCO)

Pauline Kenny

When flying in and out of Rome Airport, you will need to stay close by. There are many options. This page discusses the options you can consider. Check our resources at the bottom of the page for links to hotel reviews.

Arriving at Rome Airport

If you are arriving from overseas and have had a long flight, you might want to arrive at Rome Airport and then spend your first night or two close by. If you are arriving from within Europe, you won't be jet lagged; you can comfortably pick up your rental car or take the train to your first destination.

Spend your first nights in Rome

You had a long and uncomfortable flight from the US or Canada (or Australia!) to Italy. The flights usually arrive first thing in the morning, so factoring in the 6 - 9 hour time change from the US means you have missed a night of sleep. You will most likely be exhausted. Make it easy on yourself and plan to spend your first nights in Rome. Or fly from Rome to another Italian city and spend your first nights there.

You could plan to have your first apartment stay in Rome. Or book a hotel for a few nights. From the airport, you can either take a taxi into Rome or arrange for a car service to meet you.

Steve and I always plan for three nights in the city where we arrive in Europe. We have tried many variations on this, but have decided that we should always stay in the city where we arrive or take one more flight within Europe and stay there. For example, fly to Paris, then onto Florence. Two nights is our minimum, but three nights is better; it gives you the time you need to rest up, get used to the time change, and mentally adjust to being in Europe.

On our Fall 2001 trip we flew into Rome, changed planes for Naples, and had a car service take us from Naples airport to our apartment in Sorrento. By the time we were checking into our apartment, meeting the people from the agency, handing over a huge pile of cash for final payment, and meeting the villa owner, we were exhausted and barely able to remain standing. Never again! Instead of having the car service take us from Naples airport to Sorrento, we should have taken a taxi into Naples and spent a few nights. Then we would have been able to see more of Naples too! Another good alternative would have been to spend a couple of nights in Rome, then take the train from there to Sorrento.

Spend the night in Orvieto

Orvieto is about a one and half hour drive from Rome airport, an easy drive mostly on Autostrada. Orvieto is a lively, interesting town with many hotels and restaurants within walking distance, a nice place to get over jet lag. You can also take a train from Rome Airport to Orvieto.

Drive to your Tuscany/Umbria/Lazio vacation rental

If you book your first week in Lazio, southern Umbria, or southern Tuscany, you could pick up a rental car at the airport and drive straight to your first rental. Or arrange for a car service to drive you to a town close to your rental where you can get your rental car and do a short drive.

Spend the night in a town in Lazio

Book a hotel at a town in Lazio for your first couple of nights or spend your first vacation rental week in Lazio. You can get to most places in Lazio in an hour from the airport.

Do not plan a long drive on the day you arrive. You will be jet lagged and the driving will not be easy to do. It is about an hour's drive to Viterbo in Lazio, two hours to Todi, two and a half hours to the Pienza area.

Departing from Rome Airport

You have a morning flight back to the US, usually leaving around noon, and you have to be at the airport 2 to 3 hours ahead of your flight. What are your planning options?

Spend your last night(s) in Rome

It is wonderful to spend your last few nights in Rome. A good plan is to fly into one city, spending a few nights there to recuperate from the flight and adjust to the time change and fly home from a different city, spending your last few nights there (with, of course, some fun travel in between!). One possibility is to arrive in Florence and leave from Rome. Hotels in Rome are expensive, so this is a more costly option, but think of all the money you saved staying in vacation rentals on your trip! If you spend some time in Rome each time you fly home from Italy, you will eventually see a lot of Rome.

On the day of your flight, you can have breakfast at your hotel, even go for a walk in the morning, then take a taxi to the airport (or have the hotel arrange for a car to pick you up). Allow an hour to get to the airport, even though it only takes about 30 - 40 minutes in "normal" traffic conditions. Some hotels in Rome have an Airport Shuttle service.

On a few recent trips we have driven from our last vacation rental to the Rome airport, returned the rental car, and then taken a taxi to a hotel in Rome. We return the rental car at the airport to avoid driving into Rome. The taxi costs under $50. You could also return your car at a Rome location. Dropping off your car in Rome adds an element of driving excitement and still involves a (shorter) taxi ride to your hotel, but can be get you to your hotel more quickly than the airport route. If you do this, be sure you are prepared with good driving directions; driving in Rome can be difficult.

Some areas of Rome are closer to the airport than others. If you stay in the Aventine Hill district, your ride to the airport is even shorter than from the historic center, but you are still close to the center of Rome so you can enjoy your last night in Italy.

Stay in a town near the Airport

Lido di Ostia is a small beach town, very near the airport. There are three reasons to stay in Lido di Ostia: it is a 10 minute ride to the airport, hotels are less expensive than Rome, and you can visit the Roman ruins at Ostia Antica. You can drop your car off at the airport the night before and then taxi back and forth. You can take a train from Lido di Ostia into Rome (about 45 minutes).

We drove through this area for the first time in September 2002 to visit Ostia Antica (well worth the visit). I did not like the town of Lido di Ostia. It was packed with traffic. It appeared (from the car) to be an uninteresting town full of apartment buildings, not a fun place to stay. Driving along the coast south from there was even worse - dreary. I say spend your last night in Rome or at a more interesting nearby location.

Stay at an Airport hotel

Personally, this would be my last choice, but I have heard from many people who spent a last night in one of the hotels at the airport and were happy with it. The Airport Hilton is right at the airport, connected by walkways to the terminals. You can arrive here in the late afternoon, drop off your luggage, then return your car at the airport, and take a train into Rome for the evening. Or you can have dinner in one of the nearby beach towns.

Drive from your last vacation rental to the Airport

Arrange your trip so that your last vacation rental is in southern Tuscany, southern Umbria or Lazio. From Lazio you can get to the Rome airport in under 2 hours. From southern Tuscany or Umbria, it takes 2 to 3 hours.

Or fly home from Florence and arrange your last vacation rental to be in the Chianti region or somewhere close to Florence.

We have flown back to the US from the Rome airport many times. On one trip, we got up early and drove from a vacation rental in southern Tuscany to the airport. We were a 15 minute drive from the Fabro entrance to the A1 Autostrada. Our flight was at 12:30pm and we had to return the rental car. We planned to be at the airport by 10:30am at the latest. It is about a 2 hour drive from the Fabro entrance to the airport (with good weather and no traffic). Since we were leaving on a Monday morning and the weather had not been good, we left our cottage at 7:30am, allowing a generous 3 hours for the drive to the airport.

We did have heavy fog for half the drive and we did run into thick, slow moving traffic on the GRA (the ring road that goes around Rome). We got to the airport at 10:00am. It took 2 1/4 hours from the Fabro entrance to the airport.

The only downside for doing this, was that it made for a very long travel day. The upside is that you get to spend your last night in Tuscany and you don't have to haul your luggage into Rome.

Resources

Slow Travel Italy - Instructions - Driving: Picking up and dropping off rental cars at Rome Airport (FCO)

Slow Travel Italy - Hotel Reviews for Lazio: Hotel reviews for hotels near Rome airport (Fiumicino - FCO) and in Lazio, the region that Rome and the airport are in.

Slow Travel Italy - Hotel Reviews for Rome: Hotel reviews for Rome.

www.worldairportguide.co.uk: World Airport Guide

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