Rome has two airports: Fiumicino and Ciampino. Fiumicino, also sometimes known as Leonardo Da Vinci Airport, is the main international airport and is much busier compared to smaller Ciampino Airport. Ciampino Airport in Rome is not a glamorous flying experience (it is usually used only by low-cost carriers) but its compact size can have its advantages. From how to get there, what to eat, and what to expect, here’s everything you need to know about traveling through Rome’s Ciampino Airport.
Ciampino Airport (CIA) is the smaller of the two airports that serve Rome, Italy. It is also officially named Aeroporto G.B. Pastine but is only referred to as Ciampino when booking tickets. The airport is located 7.5 miles (12 km) southeast of the Rome city center, making it the closer of the two airports to the downtown area. Ciampino is a former military airport that now welcomes low-cost carriers with civilian flights.
Ciampino airport consists of 16 gates, a majority of which are located after Duty-Free once you pass through security. Four gates are located after passport control, which is really just a glassed off area of the same main terminal building. You will have to go through passport control if you are traveling outside of the Schengen visa zone (for example, to the UK or Ireland). Keep in mind, there are no eateries or shops once you go through to this area. There are vending machines and bathrooms, but you should essentially be ready to board when you enter the non-Schengen gates.
How to Get There
Ciampino Airport is located close to the city of Rome but can be the more difficult of the two Rome airports to reach. The easiest way to reach CIA is by car or taxi.Taxis from Rome to Ciampino (or vice versa) have a set price of €30. Taxis can be booked in advance, or found at official taxi ranks. The meter will not be used unless you are traveling to Ciampino from outside the designated center of Rome. The drive takes around 35 minutes, depending on traffic.
The Ciampino train station is not located directly at the airport, so there is no train link between the airport and the city. For public transportation from Ciampino, plan to take the 720 bus to EUR to catch Metro line B. If you prefer to take Metro line A, board the Atral bus to Anagnina station and switch there. Bus tickets must be purchased in advance.
One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to reach the center of Rome is to take a private coach bus. Terravision provides regular transfers between Ciampino and Rome Termini station for about €5 each way. They provide luggage storage and Wi-Fi onboard.
Check-in and Security
Once you have entered the doors of Ciampino Airport, you are immediately inside the check-in area. There are only a few check-in desks for the various airlines, with RyanAir taking up a majority of the space. The check-in process can be slow, so this is what you need to budget the most time for. It is a good idea to have your boarding passes printed out (there can be extra charges for checking in in person for some airlines). If you are from a non-EU country, you will likely need to wait in line for a visa check, even if you don’t have any bags to drop off. Expect this line to take around 30 minutes.
The start of the security area is located about 30 feet from the check-in counters. You will scan your boarding pass to enter the line. This is standard airport security but it tends to move very quickly. You are not required to remove your shoes unless you are wearing boots. Security at Ciampino takes less than 5 minutes on average.
Eating and Shopping
Ciampino is so small that there are limited eating and shopping options inside the airport. However, you can find enough food to tide you over before your flight. One of the most comfortable eating areas is BEFORE security. Instead of passing through the security gates, turn right and you will find a small cafeteria at the end of the hall. Here you can order primi, secondi and contorni (Italian first and second courses, plus side dishes). The menu changes daily but always features pasta, meat dishes, and vegetable options. Drinks, including beer and wine, are also for sale.
Just before you reach the food hall, you will also find a WHS store for newspapers and snacks, as well as a small pharmacy for last-minute personal items and over the counter medicine you may have forgotten.
Once you pass through the security line, there are a few options for food and drinks. The first you will encounter is a newspaper stand which sells snacks and drinks. Across from the newspaper stand is a Duty-Free store for gifts. Walking through the Duty-Free will bring you to a modest coffee bar and the largest seating area in the airport.
Rather than going towards the Duty Free, you can also walk straight towards passport control. Here you will find a small gelateria, a busy coffee bar with sandwiches and breakfast pastries (as well as a variety of bottled drinks to take away), and finally a Rosso Pomodoro. The Rosso Pomodoro serves pizza by the slice and this is the closest thing you will find to hot, cooked food once you are inside Ciampino Airport.
All the food in the airport can be ordered to take away and carried onto your flight or eaten in the waiting area before boarding. There are no tables to sit down and enjoy a meal once you have passed through security.
Lounges and Wi-Fi
I need to reiterate here that Ciampino Airport is very busy. This is the main base for low-cost carriers such as RyanAir in Rome, so you will not find very impressive amenities. There are no lounges or showers, or really many comfortable seats. However, there is free Wi-Fi and you will be able to find plenty of outlets and mobile charging stations if you need to pass the time on your phone before your flight.
Ciampino Airport is open from 4:30 am to 12 am (midnight). This means that the airport officially closes for a few hours after midnight and it is not possible to spend the night here. If you are looking for somewhere to sleep nearby, there are lots of affordable B&B style options in the town of Ciampino, which I have listed in my guide on Rome airport hotels.