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This past summer my wife and I were able to spend an entire month in Europe. We landed in Nice, France, spending several nights along the French Riviera before continuing on to Italy for a couple weeks by train. Rome was our final Italian destination, and we were headed to Ireland from there for another 8 days before heading back home to California. We were flying budget carrier RyanAir, departing from Ciampino, Rome’s smaller airport, so I had to do a little legwork to figure out how to get us from Rome city center to Ciampino airport.
Uber from Rome city center to Ciampino Airport?
I considered using Uber, but the fare estimate was between 45€ and 60€ from our hotel to the airport, which I consider really steep. I held this in the back of my mind as a last-resort option, but I really wanted to find something else. After seeing how expensive Uber is, I didn’t even price out a taxi. Plus, I can’t stand taxis.
Train from Rome city center to Ciampino airport?
Next I looked for train options. If you need to travel between Fuimicino Airport (Rome’s larger airport) and Rome city center, the train is probably the way to go (SEE: The best ways from Rome Airport to the city center). For Ciampino airport, however, you’re out of luck. There is a Ciampino stop, but it is on the other side of the runway and completely separated from the airport. We would have to get a taxi or Uber from the train station to the airport, and this just sounded like extra time, money, and headache.
Best option: Bus from Rome city center to Ciampino Airport
There are a few bus companies that run between Rome city center and Ciampino Airport, but the one we ended up using was Terravision. The cost is a very reasonable 4€ per person one-way, or 8€ for a return. Children 0-4 years old are free.
Since we had arrived by train, we only needed one-way tickets. You can purchase tickets online, and this was the route we chose. The process was easy, and there are no additional booking fees. Just a flat 8€
You have to choose the date and time of service when booking, but tickets are modifiable through the day before departure. Terravision emails you a link to your ticket just minutes after purchase. Make sure you click through the confirmation email and either download or print the actual ticket with a QR code.
There are plenty of daily departures from Rome city center to Ciampino airport, and Terravision buses run roughly every half hour most of the day. In the event you miss your bus, Terravision will put you on the next bus, including one the following day if you miss the last departure of the day.
The departure point is on the southwest side of the Roma Termini train station (Rome’s main train station), not too far from the Radisson Blu Roma. It is along via Giovanni Giolitti, stop number 38. It was fairly easy to find the bus.
My wife and I took a bus from our hotel to Roma Termini. We had one transfer, which we barely caught at Piazza Venezia. I managed to dodge some cars and hold the bus while my wife waited for an opening in the crazy Rome traffic. We made it to the bus stop at Termini with about 5 minutes to our departure time, outside the 15 minute window recommended by Terravision.
There was a fully loaded bus at the stop when we arrived, and I quickly loaded our bags, only to find that they didn’t have seats for us. They had it boarded to capacity. There was even a line formed for the next one. It was certainly our departure time. Either Terravision is lax lax in what bus they sent you on, or they gave our seats away since we didn’t arrive 15 minutes prior to departure. The staff assured us that we would have seats on the next bus. It arrived about 15 minutes later, and we were quickly on our way to Ciampino
But you may not want to use Ciampino Airport
Although Ciampino airport is a bit closer to Rome than Fuimicino, you may not want to use it. The airline options are far more limited (pretty much all budget) and the airport is downright terrible. I can honestly say it is the worst airport I’ve ever been through.
Check-in and security were easy enough, but once my wife and I were through passport control, we realized we were stuck in a tiny area with tons of people. There were 8 gates crammed into a space that maybe should contain 3. Food and beverage options included a grand total of 3 vending machines. Our flight was somewhat delayed, so we spent nearly two hours sitting and/or lined up this area with all the other unhappy souls. I could argue that the price of the RyanAir tickets made up for it, but it was still was pretty miserable.
I found the Terravision bus to be the most cost effective way to get from Rome city center to Ciampino airport. It meant a little hassle since we had to take public transportation to get to Termini station and then hop on our bus, but it probably saved us 40€. I would gladly choose that option again.