Leonardo Express

4.1 out of 5.0 stars

Best Transport Option To/From Rome Airport

The easiest and safest way to and from the city centre and Fiumicino Airport. The cost is not the cheapest at Euro 14 or the service the most direct to your destination, as it will only take you to Roma Termini (Rome’s railway terminus) and not to any other station in between.

Buses to Termini cost less, but there’s always the concern about being caught in traffic. There are other trains from Fiumicino which will do all stations in between except depart and arrive at Roma Termini. They are the Regionale trains and are best used if you’re staying close to the Trastevere, Ostiense, Tuscolana and Tiburtina stations or if you aren’t in a hurry and don’t mind changing trains at Trastevere or Ostiense to get to Termini. These trains cost Euro 8 for each trip.

There is also a Frecciargento (fast train) twice a day to and from Venice, with stops at Roma Termini, Roma Tiburtina, Firenze Santa Maria Novella, Bologna Centrale, Padova, Venezia Mestre and Venezia Santa Lucia. Perfect if anyone wants to be in Florence in about two hours.

I’ve heard people criticize the ticketing system or the occasional slowness of the train. The tickets are available in multiple ways, online, by ticket machine, at the sales counter or at newsagents and tobacconists (where you see the sign with the white capital T on a blue background). All tickets except those bought online MUST be validated in the Trenitalia (oval-shaped green and white, with a tinge of red) machines before boarding. If you find that the validating machine or machines do not work approach the conductor or guard asap. You cannot self-validate your ticket by writing the time and date on it. The Leonardo Express is classified as a regional train and thus requires ticket validation.

Some may think the system is silly, old-fashioned or fraudulent. It is not. To keep it simple, ticket validating has to be done on all trains except the Freccie (Frecciarossa, …argento and …bianca) where seats are allocated at booking time. Also ALWAYS check your ticket after validating to see whether it is readable.

As for the speed of the train, it can get up to 150kph (just under 100mph), if required, but as on all railways there are times when there are unexpected events or maintenance works. Be patient and leave a half hour earlier if you can. On the many occasions I’ve travelled on the Leonardo Express only twice it ran a few minutes late. One time on the way to Fiumicino they had announced there would be a 20-minute delay. Asked the conductor why, it was because thieves had stolen copper wire from the track. The other time it was for workers safety. They were cutting back trees and shrubs on the side of the tracks. A delay of only ten minutes perhaps. Both times no real issues as I gave myself plenty of time to check-in.

As for the train itself the carriages are virtually new (at the time of writing). The seats are comfortable and there’s ample space for luggage on the racks.

When arriving or departing Fiumicino Airport, directions are pretty straight forward. Just follow the signs with the train icon when arriving and the terminal designations when departing. Of course directions will differ depending the terminal you use. For Terminal 3 where most international flights arrive it’s a sharp right turn out of Customs (after the baggage carousels). Follow the signs overhead until you reach an escalator on the left hand side going down. You will go up again to reach the concourse and platforms where you’ll also find the ticket office, ticket machines, etc.

Departing from Terminal 3 is also straightforward. Go straight ahead from the train platforms onto the overhead walkway (you’ll see the service road beneath) until you reach the terminal building then down the escalators to the T3 entrance sliding doors. There’s also a lift. As of November 2016, when I was there last (at the time of writing), those wanting to go to Terminal 3 were being detoured in the direction of Terminal 1 and 2 along the long walkway. It’s an extra 5~10 minute walk because of the renovation works at Terminal 3. This long walkway is now permanent to access Terminal 3 as the walkway that went directly across has been removed so the facade of Terminal 3 could be returned to its original design of a full glass curtain wall.

The other terminals, 1 and 2, use this same walkway to and from the train platforms. If in doubt look up the Aeroporti di Roma/Fiumicino website and download the maps.

For more information on the Leonardo Express, timetable and tickets go to the Trenitalia website.

There’s an updated review see: Leonardo Express (October 2017)

Cleanliness 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
Comfort 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
Facilities 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
Service 5.0 out of 5.0 stars5.0
Staff 4.5 out of 5.0 stars
Value 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
WiFi 3.5 out of 5.0 stars

1 Response

  1. 21st October 2020

    […] can also check out my two reviews (6 December 2016 and 30 October […]

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