Visitors to Rome should take note that the airport is located quite some distance from the city center. This distance, while it might seem costly or prohibitive, really is not. Taxi fares from Rome’s airports are now a fixed cost set by the government, but you can find cheaper methods of transportation — read on!
- You can always drive!
I personally do not like to drive in Rome, for many reasons. If you get into the car, make sure your life insurance is up to date, say 100 Hail Mary’s before you strap yourself, and pray (a lot!). I’m being a bit overly dramatic, but driving in Rome can be stressful!
First, the traffic is horrendous to say the least. Unless you are tough and aggressive driver, I would suggest that you avoid driving within the city itself. Once you’re off the highway, lanes and lines in the road tend to vanish, and it becomes a free-for-all.
Second, parking is a nightmare. Some hotels may offer parking so it is best to check with them before you decide to rent a car. Parking will be expensive.
Third, having a car is just another thing to worry about. Nothing like a car accident, theft or damage to put a damper on your trip.
Fourth, the price of gasoline/petrol in Italy is expensive and could add an extra expense that may be better spent on other things. If you think gasoline is expensive in the US, it’s more so in Europe. Remember, 1 gallon of gas (as gas is priced in the US) is equal to just under 4 litres. Take the price of gas in Italy per litre and multiply that by 4, and that’s how much it would cost you in the states.
Unless you need a car or plan to visit cities and towns that are not accessible by public transport, I would suggest relying on other means of transportation to get to your hotel.
- Take a taxi
With a new law just recently passed, Rome taxi drivers cannot fleece travelers anymore. Customers wanting a ride from the airport to their hotel within the Aurelian walls pay a fixed amount of 40 euro. From Ciampino, it’s 30 euro. Outside the walls, the regular fares apply. Also, the fix price should include your luggage as I have read nothing online that says otherwise. If your hotel is outside of the walls, you’ll pay normal fare plus any surcharges for any luggage you may have.
A taxi is a good choice if you have a lot of luggage and children or getting around for you is not easy.
Expect to pay extra for your luggage. Think of your luggage as if it were an “extra passenger”. The cost of luggage is typically about 1 euro and some change for each bag over a specific set of dimensions. Most travel luggage will exceed these small dimensions unless you’re traveling with a small satchel or briefcase.
Before you leave, write down the name, address and phone number of your hotel on a small index card and keep it with you. If you can’t write clearly, then type it out. Your cab driver might speak some English, but he might not be able to understand you through your accent. The card will help you avoid headaches of getting to Rome only be dropped off at the wrong place or overcharged because your cab driver got lost.
Roma Turismo has the breakdown of how fares are charged. I find the whole taxi charges to be a bit confusing and overly complicated, but if you’re super curious, then you can read all th details here. My opinion is that if you plan to get into the cab, be prepared to pay for the service and convenience.
- Airport Shuttles
Check with your hotel to see if they have a shuttle or are willing to collect you from the airport. Expect to pay for this service. Many hotels employ a car and driver to collect and drop off passengers at the airport. The price is generally fixed, but they tend to charge more than the taxis. This may be included in your stay.
- Car Services
These are plentiful in Rome, and you can probably find a decent one with modest prices online by doing a search on Google or other search engine. Car hires of this nature tend to have fixed pricing, and you could even hire them for day execursions outside the city – such as trips to Naples, Pompeii, etc. Car hires can be used to collect you and your family from the airport and drop you at your hotel. This might be a more cost effective method if your hotel is on the opposite side of Rome outside the Aurelian walls.
- The train
The train, Leonardo Express, runs from the airport to Termini station every 30 minutes starting at 5:52 AM all the way to 11:35 PM. The trip is short and the price is easy on the wallet. This is my recommendation for getting into the city. Once you are at Termini, you can walk to your hotel, take a cab from within the city, or use the bus, metro or trams. Rome’s public transport is inexpensive and easy to use.
Starting December 10, the train will arrive on platform 24 which is convenient and close to the taxis, metro and other transportation services.
In my opinion, the train is your best bet to get into the city. It’s cheap (only 9.50 euro one way), it’s fast (approximately 31 minutes) and there are usually no surprises. The train is meant to be guaranteed to run even during transport strikes and may be your only choice since taxis and other modes of transport sometimes strike together in sympathy.
Visit the train’s web site (in English) to learn more about time tables