By plane: If you are arriving on an inter-continental flight, or on a European flight with a major airline, you will land at Leonardo da Vinci Airport at Fiumicino which is, slightly confusingly, known both as “Leonardo da Vinci” and “Fiumicino”. Don’t worry, they are the same place!
Getting into town from Fiumicino by train: The Leonardo Express is a direct service from the airport to Termini (the central railway station). Tickets are €11, and the journey into Rome takes approximately 35 minutes. Trains run every 30 minutes from 6.23am to 11.23pm (from Termini to Fiumicino 5.5am to 10.52pm). The Leonardo Express platforms at Termini are usually numbers 27-28; as you enter Termini with the tracks ahead of you and the concourse behind you go down the right-hand side some 500 metres to reach the “Air Terminal”. On the basement level there is also a conveyor belt which will save you some leg work, follow the aeroplane symbol.
Alternatively the FM1 regular rail service runs from the airport to either Fara Sabina or Orte, making central stops at Trastevere, Ostiense, Tuscolana, and Tiburtina stations. Tickets cost €5.50, and the journey takes between 35 and 45 minutes. Trains run approximately every 15 minutes (less often on Sundays and public holidays).
Tickets for both services can be bought from either the ticket desk or machines on the station concourse. Tickets need to be stamped in the yellow machines at the end of the platform before getting on the train.
Taking a taxi: Always use official taxis, from the taxi stand. In a bid to combat the relentless fleecing of visitors the minute they stepped of the plane, the former mayor introduced a Fixed taxi fare of €40 to and from the city centre (within the Aurelian walls) and Fiumicino airport. Regardless of how many of you there are, how many bags you have or anything else. Check your taxi has the red and gold shield of the city of Rome (bearing the letters SPQR); Fiumicino is out of the city, and taxis registered there have a different rate. When you arrive make clear that you have no intention of paying more than the fixed rate, if he protests (and you are staying at and medium or smart hotel) involve the doorman. There is no need to tip a taxi driver if you are unhappy with the service.
Arriving at Ciampino: If you arrive on a European budget airline, you will probably land at the city’s smaller airport, GB Pastine, at Ciampino, universally known as “Ciampino”. There is no direct rail service to and from the airport, but there are a number of bus services between the airport and Termini station. The journey takes about 45 minutes, depending on traffic. Services are run by Terravision (www.terravision.eu) and depart from the coach park on your left as you leave Arrivals at Ciampino, from Termini the service leaves on Via Marsala, outside the Terracafè at 29 F/G. Tickets cost €4 each way, and can be bought at the bus stop, or in the arrivals hall. Buses run roughly twice an hour, less frequently at night, and take into account flight depature and arrival times.
Buses are also run by Bus Shuttle (www.sitbusshuttle.it) and cost €6. They depart from Termini, also on Via Marsala, just down from the corner with Piazza del Cinquecento at number 5. Bus Shuttle also makes a stop at Piazza Cavour, near the Vatican, useful if you are staying either around the Vatican or directly across the river.
The cheapest way to get into town from Ciampino is to take the local Cotral bus (from the stop opposite Arrivals) to the end of its route at Anagnina bus station (c.15 mins, tickets cost €1 and are bought from the driver). The bus station is connected to Anagnina metro station (Line A), and another €1 ticket will take you into town.
Taking a taxi: Always use official taxis, from the taxi stand. In a bid to combat the relentless fleecing of visitors the minute they step off the plane, the city authorities introduced a fixed taxi fare of €30 to and from the city centre (within the Aurelian walls) and Ciampino airport. Regardless of how many of you there are, how many bags you have or anything else. When you arrive make clear that you have no intention of paying more than the fixed rate, if he protests (and you are staying at and medium or smart hotel) involve the doorman. There is no need to tip a taxi driver if you are unhappy with the service.
Arriving by train: Most trains arrive at Termini, the central station. Night trains arrive and depart from Tiburtina or Ostiense, both just out of the city centre. Tiburtina especially is a horrible, squalid place. Although attempts are underway to improve it, if arriving there don’t wander around looking for buses; DO get an official taxi from the taxi stand and go somewhere else as quickly as possible.
Driving into Rome: Our first advice would be, “don’t”; although driving into Rome has been made easier since the advent of satellite navigation systems, unless you are familiar with the city’s outskirts (and even then) it can be a frustrating and very slow process. Byzantine one-way systems mean that although all roads may lead to Rome, you can’t always go in the right direction. Once you do make it into the city centre the ZTL (Zona a Traffico Limitato) doesn’t allow non-resident cars into the centro storico from 8am to 6pm Monday-Friday, and 8am-2pm on Saturdays. Keep an eye out for the cameras and ZTL signs which mark the boundary of the restricted area, make a mistake and there’s a fairly hefty fine. After all that you’ll need to find somewhere to park…
Parking: Finding a legal and convenient parking space in Rome is the stuff of legend, in the centre a good bet is along the Lungotevere, the wide roads which run along the banks of the river. Legal spaces are delineated either with white or blue lines. The white ones, mostly found outside the centro storico mean you can park for free, the blue lines delineate pay-and-display parking spaces. Parking tickets are bought at the machines on the pavement and cost about €1 per hour, parking is free from either 8pm or 11pm until 8am depending on the area, check the machine. The major public car park in the centre, with convenient pedestrian access to piazza di Spagna, is the ParkSì under Villa Borghese, entrance on the via del Muro Torto (outside the ZTL), but if you’re leaving the car for more than a few hours it gets very costly. Many hotels advertise car parking facilities, they are almost without exception eye-wateringly expensive.
Car Rental: If you want to hire a car in Rome to continue your trip in Italy we suggest the easiest, most painless way is to pick the car up either at Fiumicino Airport (for Tuscany and the North), or Ciampino Airport (for destinations south and east of Rome) and to get out of the city on the airport transport listed above.
However you get to Rome, chances are your first stop will be Termini. Why not drop into the Enjoy Rome office to pick up a map and get your bearings? We are at Via Marghera 8a – with the trains behind you walk onto the station concourse, take the exit on your right and you are on Via Marghera (the one with Caffe Trombetta on the corner). Walk down two blocks and we are on your left, in the small garden with the green gate.
If you are visiting Rome on a cruise, your ship will dock at the, less than picturesque, port of Civitavecchia, 50 miles north-west of the city. If you want to make it into Rome under your own steam, there are two rail services to Rome from Civitavecchia Station, one stops at Stazione San Pietro (convenient for the Vatican), the other at Roma Termini. Services usually run twice an hour, and take c. 1 hour. The trains from Civitavecchia to Termini arrive at, and leave from, platforms 25-27, 500 metres further down the tracks from the majority of the platforms on the Via Giolitti side (the right-hand side if you have the station concourse behind you and the trains in front of you).
For information, a map, to book a tour, or just some ideas on what to do next, drop into the Enjoy Rome office at Via Marghera 8a. We’re open from 8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri, 8.30am-2pm Sat. Around town, try Rome City Council Tourist Information Points (Punti Informazione Turistico, or PIT):
PIT Castel S. Angelo, Lungotevere Vaticano (Piazza Pia). 9.30am - 7.00pm
PIT Ciampino, Aeroporto G.B.Pastine – International Arrivals, baggage claim zone. 9.30am - 6.30pm
PIT Cinque Lune, Piazza delle Cinque Lune (Piazza Navona). 9.30am - 7.00pm
PIT Fiumicino, Aeroporto Leonardo Da Vinci - International Arrivals (Terminal 3). 9.00am - 6.30pm
PIT Minghetti, Via Marco Minghetti (corner with Via del Corso). 9.30am - 7.00pm
PIT Nazionale, Via Nazionale (Palazzo delle Esposizioni). 9.30am - 7.00pm
PIT S. Maria Maggiore, Via dell'Olmata. 9.30am - 7.00pm
PIT Termini, Termini Station - Via Giovanni Giolitti, 34. 8.00am - 8.00pm
PIT Trastevere, Piazza Sidney Sonnino. 9.30am - 7.00pm
PIT Ostia, Lungomare Paolo Toscanelli, corner with Piazza Anco Marzio. 9.30am - 7.00pm
Don’t be paranoid, but do be careful. Despite the horror stories you might hear of “gypsies” throwing their babies at tourists before relieving them of their wallets, the pickpocket situation in Rome is much improved although unfortunately not eradicated. However it is not any worse than any other major city. As you would in London, Paris, Barcelona or New York, always make sure you know where your wallet/phone/camera is, and keep your bag in front of you in busy places and on crowded public transport (when using the Metro it’s usually best to walk along the platform and get on at the carriages towards the ends of the train; the ones in the middle are usually a scrum and where the unscrupulous target their victims). Remember also that despite what you might hear, not all pickpockets are “gypsies”.
Rome is one of the world’s safest capital cities, and the city centre is a safe place. There are no real “no go” areas, although some areas around the station can be a little unpleasant at night. In the centro storico the police you see all over the place are guarding government buildings, embassies, and the Prime Minister’s house. They are more an exercise in over-kill, than indicative of an imminent uprising.
You CAN drink the water (and very good it is too). Drinking fountains run constantly and abound throughout the city, which can save you a fair amount of cash, especially in the heat of summer. Romans tend to drink mineral water because they believe it has digestive properties and/or they like the bubbles, and while restaurants don’t serve tap water, mineral water is usually cheap at about €2 a litre. However the tap water is good, cold, and FREE. Roman aqueducts have been bringing spring water from the hills around the city for over 2000 years, the city’s tap water today mostly comes from the natural reservoirs of the Appenine mountain range.
Crossing the road. There are apocryphal tales of visitors to the city coming and leaving having only seen everything on one side of Piazza Venezia, such is the daunting prospect of crossing the vast mass of traffic. Follow these simple rules and you won’t be one of them.
1/ Stand on the kerb, looking in the correct direction of oncoming traffic. When there is a decent break (i.e. enough for whoever’s coming to brake),
2/ Make sure they have seen you.
3/Step out decisively and, maintaining a constant and regular pace, walk across. As if by magic the cars and scooters will weave around you.
DON’T stop midway, go backwards, or run across screaming, that confuses everybody, and don’t wait in ever-growing frustration for everyone to stop, it’s never going to happen.