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Things to see and do during a layover or stopover in Rome Leonardo Da Vinci Airport

Last Updated: April 2019.

Connecting in the Rome Leonardo De Vinci airport in the city of Fiumicino, near Rome? This short guide has everything you need for a pleasant short or long layover in the Fiumicino airport (Code=FCO).

Up to 5-6 hours layover – staying in the airport

If you have 5-6 hours or less, i would recommend that you stay in the airport and don’t travel to Rome.

If your layover is shorter than 2 hours, rush to your gate. Your main concern should be to make it to on time to your connecting flight. Previous experience showed that you’ll need more than 75-90 minutes to make it on time to domestic or international connecting flights in FCO. This includes queuing for passport controls, clearing customs (as needed) and going through security. Fellow travelers reported that terminal signs are not always very clear, so pay special attention when you roam through the terminal concourses.

Factor in additional 15 minutes to move between different Terminals. Note that Alitalia (and most of other SkyTeam companies) international flights typically land in Terminal 3, and domestic/short-haul typically depart from  Terminal 1.

Free WIFI is readily available in FCO so you can catch up on your email and surf the web. Overall WIFI quality is pretty good.

Note that smoking is only allowed in designated cabins at the gate concourses.

You could also consider accessing one of the VIP Lounges available at the terminals.

What to do in a Rome layover?

If your connection lasts 6 hours or more and provided weather permits, you could definitely have a nice side trip into Rome.

If you carry some luggage, i would suggest to store it for 6 Euro in the left baggage storage room located at International Arrivals hall in Terminal 3.

This would be a good time to withdraw some Euros from an ATM so you can pay for food or taxi in cash if needed.

Do you need a visa to leave the airport?

European citizens and several other nationalities (including Americans, Australians, Canadians) are able to enter Italy for 90 days for tourism purposes without issuing a Visa. That said, you should carefully assess your Visa requirements  before your trip using the Italian ministry of foreign affairs website.

Should i go to the city and the Vatican?

From FCO, you can reach Rome in several ways:

  • Express Train: The most convenient way to go from FCO to Rome is using the Leonardo Da Vinci express train to the Termini Central station. Journey time is around 32 minutes and train departures every half an hour or less starting 06:23 until 23:23 (every 15 minutes between 7:08 and 21:08). Be aware that the Termini area can be a bit rough, and therefore i don’t recommend hanging around alone in that area during the night.
  • Bus: Several companies operate buses from FCO to the Termini (or the nearby Piazza Cinquecento. One Way/Return prices starting are typically 5-7/ 8-11 Euros. Depending on traffic, journey can take up to one hour. Be aware that the Termini area can be a bit rough, and therefore i don’t recommend hanging around alone in the area at night.
  • Taxis: For roughly 50 Euro you can get a Taxi from FCO to anywhere in central Rome. So if you are a party of 3 or 4 people this could potentially be the more convenient way to access Rome.

DIY Essential Rome City Center tour

NOTE: Rome offers a huge amount of things to do so you could potentially spend a couple of weeks in the city and still not even scratch its surface. That said, here are a few essential attractions which you could cover in 3-4 hours:

  • Start at the Spanish steps (Metro:Spagna)
  • Stroll Via del Corso and make a left at Via Dei Sabini towards the magnificent Fontana Di Trevi (Trevi Fountain) – which is amazing anytime but especially at nights.
  • Go back to Via Del Corso and take a left, then make a right at Via Dei Pietra, towards Piazza De La Rotonda and the Pantheon. Once done, enjoy an italian icecream in one of the Gelaterias.
  • Follow Via D’Eustachio and Via Dei Staderari to the oval Piazza Navona.
  • This would be a great time for sipping italian espresso or a meal before heading over to the airport.

NOTE: Make sure to arrive back to the airport least 2 hours before the departure of your connecting flight.

Additional activities to consider if you have more time:

  • Visit the Coliseum and the Roman Forum (will require additional 3-4 hours)

Long layover in Rome

If you are for an overnight stopover, then you should be adding the Vatican to your itinerary. So what should you do?

  • Get the essentials tour done.
  • Go to the Vatican to visit St Peter’s basilica and probably the Sistine chapel.
  • At night, get a glimpse of Rome’s nightlife at Trastevere neighborhood or Campo Di Fiori

Any recommendations for a Roma layover? Feel free to let us know by leaving a comment.

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