Flying time to Rome is 7½–8½ hours from New York, 9–10 hours from Chicago, 11–12 hours from Los Angeles, and 2½ hours from London.
The principal airport for flights to Rome is Leonardo da Vinci Airport, more commonly known as Fiumicino (FCO). It's 30 km (19 miles) southwest of the city. There is a direct train link with Rome’s Termini station on the Leonardo Express train, and a local train to Trastevere and Ostiense stations. Rome's other airport is Ciampino (CIA), on Via Appia Nuova, 15 km (9 miles) south of downtown. Ciampino is a national and international hub for many low-cost airlines. There are no trains linking the Ciampino airport to downtown Rome, but there are a number of shuttle buses running daily.
Transfers Between Fiumicino and Downtown
If you're driving into the city, follow the signs for Rome and the GRA (the ring road that circles Rome). The direction you take on the GRA depends on where your lodging is located. If you’re staying in the centro storico (historic center), follow indications for Roma Centro. Get a map and directions from the car-rental service, and if you aren’t using one on your phone, considering renting a GPS as well.
A law implemented by the Comune di Roma requires all Rome taxi drivers to charge a fixed fare of €48 (including four passengers and luggage handling) if your destination is within the Aurelian walls (this covers the centro storico, most of Trastevere, most of the Vatican area, and parts of San Giovanni). To make sure your hotel falls within the Aurelian walls, ask when you book your room. If your hotel is outside of the walls, the cab ride can run you about €60 plus supplementi (extra charges) for luggage. (Of course, this also depends on traffic.) The ride from the airport to the city center takes about 30–45 minutes. Private limousines can be booked at booths in the Arrivals hall; they charge more than taxis but can carry more passengers. The Comune di Roma now has a representative in place outside the International Arrivals hall (Terminal 2), where the taxi stand is located, to help tourists get into a taxi cab. Use only licensed white taxis. When in doubt, always ask for a receipt and write the cab company and taxi's license number down (it's written on a metal plate on the inside of the passenger door). Avoid unauthorized drivers who may approach you in the Arrivals hall; they charge exorbitant, unmetered rates.
Airport Connection charges €22 for one passenger, €28 for two, and minimal fees for each additional passenger. Booking ahead is required. Airport Shuttle Express offers a daily service from/to FCO. The shuttles stop at all major hotels in the center of Rome. It costs €20 one-way for one passenger, €30 for two, and €10 for each additional passenger. (The rate includes two bags per person.) Airport Shuttle provides door-to-door shuttle service, at a cost of €25 for one person and €6 for each additional passenger (up to eight). Advance booking is recommended.
Two trains link downtown Rome with Fiumicino—a nonstop express and a local. Inquire at the APT tourist information counter in the International Arrivals hall (Terminal 2) or train information counter near the tracks to determine which takes you closest to your destination in Rome. The 32-minute nonstop Airport–Termini express (called the Leonardo Express) goes directly to Tracks 23 or 24 at Termini station, which is well served by taxis and is a hub of Metro and bus lines. Departures to Termini station run every half hour beginning at 6:23 am from the airport, with a final departure at 11:23 pm. Trains depart Termini station from Tracks 23 and 24 to the airport starting at 5:35 am and the last train leaves at 10:35 pm. Tickets cost €14.
Trenitalia's FL1, the commuter rail, leaves from the same tracks and runs to Rome and beyond. The main stops in Rome are at Trastevere (26 minutes), Ostiense (31 minutes), and Tiburtina (48 minutes); at each you can find taxis and public transport connections to other areas of Rome. FL1 regional trains run from Fiumicino between 5:57 am and 11:27 pm, with departures every 30 minutes; the schedule is similar going to the airport. Tickets cost €8. For either train, you can buy your ticket at a vending machine or at ticket counters at the airport and at some stations (Termini, Trastevere, Tiburtina). At the airport, stamp the ticket at the gate. Remember when using the train at other stations to stamp the ticket in the little yellow or red machine near the track before you board. If you fail to stamp your ticket before you board, you could receive a hefty fine, as much as €100 on top of the ticket price.
At night, take COTRAL buses from the airport to Tiburtina station or Termini station in Rome (50 minutes) and vice versa. Timetables are subject to last-minute changes so be sure to check before traveling. Tickets either way cost €5 (€7 if purchased on board).
Transfers Between Ciampino and Downtown
By car, go north on the Via Appia Nuova into downtown Rome. The taxi fare law implemented by the Comune di Roma that affects Fiumicino applies to this airport, too. All taxi drivers are supposed to charge a fixed fare of €30 (including luggage handling) if your destination is within the Aurelian walls. If your hotel is outside the walls, the cab ride can run you about €60, plus supplementi for luggage. The ride takes about 30 minutes. Take only official white cabs with the "taxi" sign on top; unofficial cabs often overcharge disoriented travelers.
Airport Connection Services has shuttles that cost €22 for the first passenger and €28 for two. Airport Shuttle charges €25 for the first person, and €6 for each additional passenger. The ATRAL bus connects Ciampino airport with Termini station. Buses depart from in front of the airport terminal around 20 times a day 4 am–10:50 pm. The fare is €4.50, and tickets can be bought on the bus. Travel time is approximately 40 minutes.
Transfers Between Airports
It's not easy to move from one airport to another in Rome—the airports aren't connected by a railway system or by the Metro. The only way to make the transfer is by car, taxi, or a combination of bus, Metro, and train. The latter option is not advisable because it would take you at least two to three hours to get from one airport to the other. A taxi ride from Fiumicino Leonardo Da Vinci Airport to Ciampino Airport will take approximately 45 minutes and could cost roughly €50.