There will be many more questions.
March 19, 2012 12:31 PM   Subscribe

Ciao Roma! I have two questions about traveling TO and THROUGH Rome this summer.

The lovely lady and I are taking a honeymoon to Rome and Sardinia this summer, and we have two questions.

How much time should we leave between an international arrival and a domestic connection at Fiumicino? Our flight from the US arrives at about 7:00 a.m. on a Tuesday (July 3). We want to fly from Fiumicino to Algerho’s Firtilia airport that day. There’s a flight that leaves about 9:10 a.m.—but we’d have to get our bags, go through immigration and pass through security in that two-hour window. This seems like cutting it close to me, and leaves no time for flight delays. Any thoughts? There is another flight at 1 or so (and some later), and that feels more comfortable. Am I a being a ninny?

Where to stay in Rome? After a few days in Sardinia, we’ll fly back to Rome. Where should we stay? We’ve been considering the Lord Byron, which is just north of the Villa Borghese. It looks lovely, and we like the idea of being away from tourist central, but we’d still like to have restaurants/bars/cafes nearby for a nice stroll. An analogy, if you know Amsterdam: we were there last year and stayed at the NH Caransa in Rembrandtplein, and it was ghastly; we would have much preferred staying in Den Jordaan or De Pijp. We’re wide open here on price, style, location. The Lord Byron would be the fanciest hotel I’ve ever stayed at in my life; we’re just doing a little pensione in Sardinia. Fun and hip would be a plus, but I’m not averse to luxuriating, either. Happy to have recommendations for either specific hotels or neighborhoods.

We’ve both been to Rome before, but it was a few years ago. We’ll surely see some of the big sites again, but we’ll probably spend more time at smaller attractions. Proximity to the major sites is probably not of prime concern (but we won't have a car, and don't want to be far out anywhere).

Mille grazie!
posted by Admiral Haddock to Travel & Transportation around Rome, Italy (7 answers total)
Are you booking the US-Rome-Alghero flights on one ticket, or two tickets (US-Rome, and then Rome-Alghero)?

If the latter, I think it's always prudent to allot more time than you think you need because if you miss the second flight due to mishaps with the first flight, you're out of luck, whereas generally if you're on on one ticket the airline is responsible for getting you to your final destination. YMMV with budget airlines a la Ryanair or easyJet though.
posted by andrewesque at 12:48 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Excellent point. It's two carriers; Delta to Rome, and then we have to switch to Alitalia to get to Alghero.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:56 PM on March 19, 2012

Fiumicino can get incredibly backed up at times, particularly in the summer. I think a 2 hr window could be possible. There are always those days, though, when it would be impossible.

Check out Il Cuovo It's a great neighborhood, nice folks and reasonable prices. It's an interesting alternative to most hotels.
posted by txmon at 1:24 PM on March 19, 2012

Two hours is cutting it too fine IMO. There can be a multitude of reasons for delay and even without that, it's not long. Air Asia does separate leg flights (as in, same airline but no resp taken) and I think their rule is 3-4? If the next flight was at 9pm or something... But 1 is not so bad. On the other hand, if the second flight is a cheapie then I guess is doesn't matter so much. Still, imagine the stress of hoping you'll make it- and you have no control over that... Ugh. Hang around and get a coffee instead, I reckon.
posted by jojobobo at 1:34 PM on March 19, 2012

Is it one ticket, though, Admiral Haddock? Because Delta and Alitalia are partners. If you booked everything together, they should be OK at talking to each other. If you bought a ticket to Rome on Delta, and then separately bought a ticket on Alitalia from Rome to Sardinia, that may be a different story.

Something else to keep in mind is that Fiumicino has two separate wings, the Domestic Terminal and the International Terminal. If memory serves, they're not terribly far apart or anything, but we're definitely talking about two different sections of the airport rather than a quick jump from Gate 24 to Gate 29, or what have you. Regardless of how your tickets were booked. You'll have to walk clear across the airport even if you don't have to get luggage, go through customs, and check back in.
posted by Sara C. at 7:38 PM on March 19, 2012

Fiumicino has 3 Terminals (well 3 for arrivals, 4 for departures)
  • Terminal 1 - Schengen flights with Alitalia, Air France, Air Italy, KLM and a few others
  • Terminal 2 - Schengen flights with everyone else (ie budget airlines)
  • Terminal 3 - Non-Schengen flights
  • Terminal 5* - departures only for the US and Israel. It's a outlying concrete box reached via shuttle where they've chucked those flights needing the extra special security checks. Once you're through, they bus you back to your airplane waiting in the vicinity of Terminal 3.
There is passport control between Terminal 3 and the rest of the airport. You might also hit the normal xray security checks for carry-on stuff between terminals.

If your flight is a Delta/Alitalia codeshare US city->Rome->Alghero, then your bags in all likelyhood will be checked through to your final destination; you'll hit passport control upon landing in Rome and security xray between terminals, but you won't have to bother with retrieving/rechecking your luggage. If it's a US city->EU city->Rome->Alghero codeshare, then ditto on the luggage, but you'll hit passport control in the EU city and land in the Schengen areas in Rome, maybe hitting a security xray point if you have to change terminals.

In both the above cases, 2 hours is doable depending on your willingness to risk getting FUBARed should an unexpected delay crop up. YMMV.

If instead you are booking two completely separate flights, then you will have to do the whole passport/claim bags/pass customs/recheck/go back through security rigmarole and I would recommend just taking the later flight.

*Terminal 4 IIRC is reserved for future expansion...
posted by romakimmy at 7:05 AM on March 20, 2012

Response by poster: Is it one ticket, though, Admiral Haddock? Because Delta and Alitalia are partners

I found out that it would actually all be Alitalia, but we're flying partially on Delta vouchers and had to book on the Delta site. Unfortunately, the Delta site can't handle the domestic Alitalia booking, so we have to book it separately. My SO is calling them today, and will confirm whether they view it as one itinerary. We ended up going with the later connection. It gave me hives just to think about missing the earlier flight.

On preview: Romakimmy, thanks for the detailed explanation!

Anyone have any other thoughts on hotels/neighborhoods in Rome?

Thanks again, everyone!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:07 AM on March 20, 2012

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