In this post, I bring to you the Metro Project in Rome. My sister Alka and I were in transit in Rome while we were on our way to Budapest. While I indulged in the Metro Project in a more comprehensive way at Budapest, I had a short tryst with it in Rome too! I document my tales with #themetroproject on various social media platforms.
Our Metro story of Rome is intertwined with the Colosseum and the Leonardo Express. As we were transit passengers we took the Leonardo Express to Termini, the City Center. Colosseum is close so by we wanted to go there by hopping on to Line B at Termini. But there were a few twists in this straight forward story.
When we arrived in Rome, we were tired as we were flying thorough the night. Even though our Alitalia flight was comfortable I always look crumpled and tired after a night flight!
Yet the excitement of being in a new city wins every time, bleary eyed, we marched ahead in Rome. All went well till we reached Termini. Our original plan was to buy metro tickets on Line B to Colosseum. But the queues at Termini for the metro tickets defeated us. At the automatic machine there was a long wait. At the ticket counter there was a token system and another long line.
Feeling clueless for a while, we simply decided to take a walk near Termini. That is when I encountered the tram! I regret I did not had a day pass, or I would board it for fun.
While going to Budapest, we settled to eat pasta near Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. We went inside the Basilica too. Then we turned back to the airport to catch our flight to Budapest.
On our return we had a night and half a day in Rome. We initially thought we would go to the Sistine Chapel but after doing all the calculations we realized we didn’t had enough time. So this time we were determine to reach the Colosseum.
Reaching Termini was not a problem at all. As the mobile data I bought in Budapest was still working in Rome, I happily switched on the walk directions of Google Maps. We reached Colosseum without any problem.
It is no fun to explore a monument when at the back of the mind you have to worry about a flight. At Colosseum we thought we would not go in as it would take time to walk to Termini.
Then we spotted it, the Colosseo Metro Station! The next challenge was to buy the ticket to Termini. We entered the station, looked at the automatic machine and hey presto a gentleman appeared and asked us if he could help us with buying the tickets. Thanks to him we had the metrotickets to Termini within no time.
Now as we didn’t need to walk back, we could go inside and explore the Colosseum for an hour. We bought the tickets to the Colessum from a third party at the Metro Station itself. That is what happens when you are in a hurry.
It was a hurried walk inside the Colosseum for us but it was better than not going in at all. And our date with Sistine Chapel still remains!
After a short tour of Colosseum we headed to the Colosseo Metro stop. Termini is two hops from there. Our metro ride to Termini was unadventurous. But it was because of this metro ride we were able to spend time inside the grand historical monument!
So, this is my short tryst with the metro in Rome. I hope we will go back one day and explore Rome for days on end!
We used the Leonardo Express Train from the Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport in Rome to reach the city center in Rome, Termini. My sister and I were taking a vacation Budapest and our transit was in Rome. The good bit with Schengen Visa is that the immigration happens at the first point of entry and last point of departure, so we were free to explore a bit of Rome too along with Budapest.
Fiumicino or Leonardo da Vinci Airport? It is Actually Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport
While I was researching I was thoroughly confused about the name of the Rome International Airport. Some called it Fiumicino and some Leonardo da Vinci? Are these two airports or is it one? Well ladies and gentleman, the international airport at Rome is Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport, it is one airport. To confuse first time tourists to Rome, like me, they call it by two different names, sometimes Leonardo da Vinci and sometimes Fiumicino Airport. Now I know they are one and the same.
Looking for Immigration
I told my sister confidently that immigration will happen at Rome, and as we had time, we can go out in the city! Once we came out of the flight we kept walking. Then we came to the sign ‘connecting flights’. I was confused, for me immigration should have happened at Rome. We were waved through the security for our connecting flight with no sign of any immigration.
We then decided to walk to our connecting flight and lo and behold, we found immigration! After immigration, we connected to free airport WiFI and dropped messages home. I did the customary Facebook update too! We used the washroom and then we ate the parathas I was carrying. Then it was time to find the train to the city center, the Leonardo Express!
The Leonardo Express
When we did not find any signs to the train, we asked around. We were told to go one level down and sure enough we found the signs to the train! You can buy the ticket from the train counter or the nearby vendors, they both sell it at the same price. It is 14 Euro per adult one way or 28 return. I am not sure if the prices vary during the high season, so please check. We were there in November 2017.
Validating the Tickets or Not?
There is a lot of talk online about validating your tickets on the vending machines. We were truly scared of getting a penalty of 50 Euros in case we missed. On our way to Budapest; we managed to get the tickets stamped both ways. While coming back from Budapest we got the tickets stamped while going to Termini but not while coming back! The train there, it was about to depart and we had the flight to catch. We boarded the train and forgot all about validating the ticket.
To confuse us further on the return trip there was an announcement not to board the first class if you had an ordinary ticket. We had no clue if were in the first class! We anyway shifted a few seats.
When the train started moving, I was waiting for the ticket collector wondering what would happen to us?
He simply punched a hole in our tickets and moved on. So I am not sure what is the fuss about validating the tickets?
Back to the Leonardo Express
The train is comfortable, in November we always found empty seats. Though I am not sure how will crowded it would get in the peak tourist season?
Termini is a busy place with a lot of activity. There are many trains to different destinations and it can get a bit confusing. Leonardo Express generally departs from platforms 23 to 25 from Termini! The exact platform you can check from the display boards.
We bought our tickets both the times at the Rome Airport as it was less crowded. It anyway made sense to buy both the tickets together! From the airport the train generally departs from platform 2.
Connections at Termini
Metro Lines A and B can be boarded at Termini but during the day buying a metro ticket is a task even in November. You can buy it from an automatic machine, or take a token and buy it from counters. Both were incredibly crowded while we were going to Budapest! We gave up on the idea and just walked out of Termini to Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore whch is nearby. Colosseum is not far from Termini but we didn’t had time, so we left it for the return leg of our journey!
I had read that there are other trains to Termini which cost less. There are cheaper trains to other stations in Rome. But to me all that sounded so confusing that in the end I decided to stick to Leonardo Express both the times.
It has a good frequency, about 15-20 minutes part and takes 30 to 35 minutes between the airport and Termini!
The Leonardo Express gets you from the Rome Airport to the city center at Termini in comfort!
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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