I love Italy, the people, the culture, the food, the coffee, it’s my very favorite country. One thing I will fault Italy for though, is the Rome airport, this airport is not user friendly and nobody is in a hurry to move things along quickly or efficiently. There is no point in getting upset, read this before traveling, and take it for what it is. When you land in Rome Fiumicino Airport, you’re not getting out quickly and easily. Here is the order of what you will encounter upon arrival:
- Passport control / Immigration
- Baggage Claim
- SIM Card
- Transit to Rome
Passport Control / Immigration
If you are arriving from an EU country, this should be pretty simple and go smoothly- Congratulations! You’ll simply follow the signage that is in both English and Italian to baggage claim and you can skip ahead to the next step! Bravo!
If you are arriving from the United States, you arrive in a different terminal and must wait for shuttles to retrieve you and bring you to the main terminal.
Once you arrive at passport control, it’s time to get comfortable. Unless you have an EU passport, it’s likely going to be a long wait. Rome Fiumicino airport is often understaffed, and passport control can take upwards of an hour. It is what it is, there isn’t anything to be done about it.
Once you finally clear Passport control, the very next room is baggage claim. Look for arrival boards that will indicate which belt your flight is at. If you waited an eternity at passport control, theres a good chance that your bags are already waiting for you. You can grab a luggage cart for €1.00 to help haul your bags if you need.
You can only buy SIM cards in the Rome Airport in Terminal 3. After customs, there is only Vodafone and TIM shop, check both out before deciding on which to go with. Vodafone is more expensive, but also more comprehensive.
From what I was able to find online (which I’m sure changes regularly), here is what Vodafone offers:
€65 (€50 + €15 service costs)
- Free social media: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, WhatsApp
- 1600 minutes calling to Europe, USA, UK, India, China, etc.
- 16 GB data
- 30 days valid
And here is what I found for TIM:
- 200 minutes to Europe, USA, UK, Japan, India, Australia
- 9GB data Italy only
- 6GB data all over Europe
- 30 days valid
OK, so you just flew all the way to Italy, stood in the longest passport control line (queue) in the universe, got your luggage (hopefully), and got a SIM card. You’re beat, you NEED COFFEE. It’s finally time, you deserve it. As soon as you get your luggage, you are funneled out of sliding glass doors to a welcome committee of people awaiting their loved ones, look past the chaos of all the people, there are multiple coffee shops right behind them. Go on, order yourself your first sip of Italian coffee.
Transit to Rome
You might be surprised to learn that the Rome airport is actually a ways a way from Rome. It’s in a city called Fiumicino, which is 35 kilometers, about 20 miles from Rome. There are a few ways to get into Rome easily, though.
- Take the Leonardo Express Train
- The Leonardo Express is the quickest way to get from Fiumicino Airport to central Rome. Trains run at 15- to 30-minute intervals from early morning until late at night, taking just 32 minutes to bring you into Rome’s Termini Station
- Take a Taxi
- As you are walking our of baggage claim, you will be hounded by people asking if you need a taxi. The fixed fare for a Rome taxi is €48 between FCO and central Rome (within the Aurelian walls) for up to four people and their luggage. The trip takes approximately 45 minutes.
- Rent a Car
- Driving in Rome is chaotic. Even if you speak Italian and can read the signs, I can’t recommend trying to rent a car to be in Rome. There are ZTL (limited traffic zones) where you will be fined unless you have a special sticker, which you don’t have. Lanes mean nothing, turn signals mean nothing, stop signs mean nothing, intersections mean nothing, and there are scooters zipping around all over the place.
- Book a private transfer
- This is something you can do before you leave your home. Google private transfers in Rome, ask your hotel for recommendations, or ask us! Get the transfer confirmed before leaving home, and your ride will be waiting for you at arrival (before the coffee step).
CDV Guests at Rome Fiumicino Airport
If you’re traveling with us, we will be waiting for you at a specified coffee shop right after baggage claim. We sit and drink coffee together while we wait for everyone to arrive, and then we transfer you to Soriano in our luxury bus. Check out our Cooking and Wine Vacations in Soriano, located just 45 min outside of Rome. Many of our guests visit Rome just before or after our Soriano Vacation week.