You’ve just been told you have six hours to kill at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport (FCO). What are you going to do? First, thank the stars that it is the 21st century because FCO has finally stopped putting the . . . er. . . in International. Second, head back to the Eternal City!
With 45 minutes and 15 euro, you can take the Leonardo Express from FCO to Rome’s Termini station. Park your bags at the Deposito Bagaglio (bag deposit) and you’re ready to go. Rome has the very easy ATAC metro/bus system and the major monuments are in the approximate same area so make sure to purchase a few 1 euro tickets. From Termini, take the Linea B two stops to the Colosseum to awe colossal awesomeness. If quantity is what you are after, hop on the ubiquitous red double decker bus #110. 15 euro and two hours guarantees a ride around Rome to 11 famous sites including Colosseum, Bocca della Verita for a little Roman Holiday, Trevi Fountain and St. Peter’s Square.
If heading into the city is too daunting, stay local and grab a cab to the city of Fiumicino for that very necessary last supper. Via della Torre Clementina has Rome’s best fish restaurants sandwiched together along the canal but head to the end and camp out at the seaside terrace of Bastianelli al Molo for a last minute Mediterranean sun bathe, and toast your delay with a piquant Falanghina and alici marinate.
Lounge lizards will revel in the quaint size and quality of Italy’s largest airport. And as we know, size doesn’t matter. FCO has three terminals, and if you are flying out of Schengen territories (i.e. to USA, Africa, Asia), you will most likely be stranded at the recently redone Terminal 3. You are still in Italy so shopping the terminal has a cornucopia of Italian favorites such as Dolce & Gabbana, Prada and Moncler or the duty free shopping at Good Buy Roma. There’s not much to amuse the kiddies, so try a ride on the almost soundless navetta that transports passengers between satellite and main gates. Foodies may want to enjoy their last cappuccino at the ever popular Autogrill (yes, Italy’s famous highway pitstop) or have that last sip of Ornellaia at dei Frescobaldi enoteca, whose wines and oysters are the best part of delay at FCO.
Though FCO may not yet be Changi with its slide or the Aviodrome at Lelystad Airport, from this airport hanger-on’s point of view, FCO’s Terminals 1/2 is the best place to waste time and money. From the 50s futuristic design of the Frescobaldi cafe to the kaleidoscopic shopping where shops include local favorites like Brics, Fabriano, Gallo and Intimissi and via dei Condotti divas Bulgari, Hermes, Boggi and Loro Piana, Terminal 1/2 is worth the delay. *Parents, there is an Imaginarium which will amuse your children if Autogrill and Bulgari don’t.