First stop, Roma! Ahh, Rome…the food, the passion, the zippy Vespas carrying the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen. Rome is an intense, gritty, beautiful city. I had, and continue to have, an intense love affair with this city. It was my first city I ever visited abroad, my first solo adventure. I’ll never forget Rome.
For most of us on the East Coast, the cheapest and most direct flight into Italy is to Rome (FCO). I’m not going to lie to you, this airport is quite the spectacle–big, crowded, and not really the introduction to beautiful Italia that you imagined. Did I ever tell the tale of locking my travel folder in the bathroom at the airport with all my essential documents and begging custodians, in broken Italian and tears, mind you, to open the door for me after 20 minutes of waiting outside of the bathroom thinking someone was inside?
Anyway, fear not! With this easy guide you will navigate it like a pro.
My favorite resource for navigating FCO and getting to Termini Train Station (in Rome city center) is Ron in Rome. He snapped photos to go with the instructions and let me tell you, I wouldn’t have made it without him!
For US visitors flying directly to Italy, you’ll most likely arrive at Terminal 3. This post explains how to:
- Clear passport control
- Get your luggage (though I recommend a carry-on if you can swing it)
- Clear customs
- Exit to find the train station …at which time you need to be en guard! You’re no longer in the safety of the airport, but in a mob of individuals waiting for family members or trying to get you into their “cheaper taxi”. But you’re a smart cookie! You know that if you want to find a taxi you’re going to keep walking to the official stand OR you’re going to head on over to the train station.
I followed these directions to a “T” and had a really easy time getting to the city via the Leonardo Express train. I never use cabs when I’m traveling alone so this was a no brainer… but if you have 4+ people in your party, it may be cheaper.
Basically, you will follow the little blue train signs and continue until you get to the TRENITALIA ticket booth. Note: You’ll pass the Commune di Rome desk and you can buy your Roma Pass here (more on this later but it’s the BEST deal in Rome).
Once at the booth, you’ll get your biglietto and find your way to the yellow ticket stamping machine
Just stick your ticket in, it will stamp it with date and time, and continue on your way WITH your ticket. Note: you MUST do this or risk a fine.
Your train to Termini will be departing from the center track (double check va al Termini? to a train staff person, or something like that…my Italian is rusty :) ). Get on, stow your luggage where you can see it, relax and enjoy the trip to Roma (about 1 hr)!