Don’t Take a Taxi at Rome’s Ciampino Airport. Here’s Why

Why you should never take a taxi from Ciampino to Rome

Never, ever take a taxi from the Rome airport of Ciampino.

Why? Because, it turns out, the taxi drivers at Ciampino have a racket going on—one revolving around (illegally) ripping off tourists.

Since I normally take the bus from Ciampino to the Rome center, I had no idea. But last week, after a 5-hour flight delay that meant I arrived to Ciampino exhausted (and harried), a friend and I decided to split a cab.

A taxi from Ciampino airport to Rome is €30. That’s the flat rate set by the city; it includes all passengers in the vehicle, all of their bags, and one stop in the center. For that, it’s illegal for drivers to charge more. (From the Fiumicino-Leonardo da Vinci airport, there’s also a set fee, €48). (Here, by the way, is the list of legal Rome taxi fares as published on the Comune di Roma’s own site; the second page of the PDF has it all in English).

So, bags in hand, we walked out to the official taxi queue. Repeat: the official taxi queue. Filled with registered, licensed, official taxis.

And, as is the case for all official taxis (to try to minimize the number of scams exactly like this one), each one had large lettering on the side saying that the flat rate, for Ciampino to Rome, is €30.

Here’s where it potentially gets tricky: The writing directly on the cab calls the “Rome center” anything within the Aurelian walls of the city.

Of course, as a tourist, you wouldn’t necessarily know what that means. But, as it’s delineated in the city’s laws, it includes the heart of Rome, plus Trastevere and the Vatican neighborhood. In other words, 99% of tourists coming into Ciampino (or Fiumicino) are staying within the walls, since it includes the area around the Spanish Steps, Termini train station, Piazza Navona, and St. Peter’s are all in the center.

My friend and I live right near the Colosseum. Which is also well within the walls.

Where the Aurelian walls are when taking a cab
The area in orange is what the city’s bylaws delineate as within the Aurelian walls, i.e. Rome’s “center.” (Click the photo to make the image bigger).

The old (and sweet-looking! and smiley!) old taxi driver at the head of the queue went to take our bags. In Italian, we asked if there was any way he could do two stops—a favor, we knew, even though we live only 3 minutes apart from each other.

Si, senza problema,” he said, putting our bags in his trunk. “I’ll do both stops for €50.”

“Oh, no, never mind,” I said. “Forget it. We’ll both just get dropped off at the same place, the Colosseum.”

“Okay,” he said. “I’ll do that for €40.”

Me: “What? It’s €30.”

Him: “No, it’s €40.”

Me (still in Italian): “Listen, I live in Rome. I know it’s €30. That’s the flat fare.”

Him (taking my arm and pointing to the side of his cab): “No, but see, it’s €30 to the walls of Rome. That’s not where the Colosseum is.”

Me (at this point, floored): “No, it’s €30 to within the walls. To the center.”

Him: “The Colosseum’s not in the center.”

(Um, we might have been wearing flip-flops, and I might have been speaking Italian with an American accent… but really? At this point, he was seriously insulting our intelligence).

Taking my bag back from him, I turned to the other drivers. All of whom were loitering next to their cabs in a group, watching the exchange silently.

“So…” I said, flustered. “Will anyone here take us for, you know, the €30 flat fare?”

Crickets.

As I angrily dragged my bag toward the bus stop, along with my friend, another man appeared in the parking lot. “What happened?” he asked. I explained, briefly. “Look,” he said, “I’m a taxi driver too, and I’ll take you. Yes, for €30. Wait down the road.”

As we headed a little bit down the street from the airport, I looked back. Sure enough, he’d gotten into another official, licensed taxi.

And the reason why he wanted to pick us up away from the others was clear: As he drove by them, they picked up on what he was doing and started—I kid you not—yelling at him and banging on his window.

All because… he was following the law.

Look, I should be used to stuff like this in Italy. But it’s been a while since I’ve seen that blatant a display of law-flouting and intimidation; remember, again, these were all official taxi drivers. And watching them try to scare another driver into not following the law was something I won’t forget for a while.

On top of that? How unfair to tourists! I had the good luck to know what the “center” and the “Aurelian walls” really mean. But not everyone does. And many visitors probably wonder how they wound up spending a ton of cash on what, in no traffic, can be as little as a 20-minute ride.

As the (legit) driver drove us home, he was apologetic for the others’ behavior. “Look,” he said, “they’ve been waiting out there for five hours without a single fare. That’s why.”

Right. And now, instead of getting a fare, they were going to sit and loiter in front of the airport for another few hours. Really smart, guys.

In sum: Don’t take a taxi from Ciampino airport. Unless, that is, these guys actually start paying attention to the flat fare. There are lots of other easy ways to get into the center, including the €5 buses (as soon as you exit the baggage area, you’ll see ticket desks for the buses); in retrospect, exhausted or not, that’s what we should have done.

Here’s more info on how else to get from Ciampino airport into the center of Rome.

If you liked this post, you’ll love The Revealed Rome Handbook: Tips and Tricks for Exploring the Eternal City, available for purchase on Amazon or through my site here! I’m also free for one-on-one consulting sessions to help plan your Italy trip.

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29 comments

  1. Thanks for the excellent post. I will post a link on my TravelTips page on my blog.

    May I say that you actually came out better than an Italian couple and myself one late midnight. Intimidating? We were so rattled we had to call the police. And all we did was turn away with a No Grazie! after they pulled the stunt. I was by myself but the (Italian) couple lagged behind to help me out after they were threatened. I might add…I *wanted* the meter (I live out of the walls) and couldn’t get that. After much scuffling, I wouldn’t get in a cab if *they* had paid *me*.

    We all need to copiously call the Carabinieri line and pull out the phones and photograph their medallion number. And then report it to the RomaCapitale line (not that they do much about it, but it is cathartic).
    The problem is…it will only make them angrier.

    Even if they say, yes, Flat Rate – they then tell unsuspecting tourists that extra people – extra bags – Sundays and every other sort of excuse ups it to 45 euro.

    So, heed the advice, everyone. And just don’t take a taxi at Ciampino.

    FMaggi, Author
    Burnt by the Tuscan Sun

  2. I live in Rome and when I fly to/from Ciampino I use to go to the Metro Station Anagnina (METRO A) then take a public bus (ATRAL company) for the Airport. The total cost is 1.50 euro for the metro (only A zone) and 1.20 for the bus ticket (just because Ciampino is in the B zone). Total 2.70 euro

    You can also take some private bus (search Terravision on google) and it would cost about 4/5 euro.

    Another way is by train but the train don’t bring you inside the airport of Ciampino but to the train station so then you’ve to take the bus for the airport (the same of the first point (ATRAL), see above)

    Hope this can help..

      1. I’m so sorry to hear that. I know it’s too late now, but for next time, you can always resist. (This is when it helps to have the right amount of cash in advance, so you don’t have to depend on a driver giving you the correct change). At the address, give him the amount he’s owed and if he argues, say that you’re happy for him to call the police. It’s an uncomfortable situation to be in, of course, and not everyone wants to start off their trip with that kind of confrontation. But it’s always an option.

  3. Thank’s for the excellent post.

    We have been to Rome twice, & both times used transfers (provided by the hotel) to get from Fiumicino to the Centre. Flat fee 50Euro included personalised pick up, and off the cuff tour – ideal for us as tourists.

  4. I recently had a similar experience at the Termini station… driver told me it’d be €25-30 for a fare that normally runs €10, and I refused. I tried to take a photo of his taxi but he and his friends started threatening me. Then I went to the nearest cops I could find and they got annoyed with ME for “making a big deal”, and refused to do anything about it. They simply told me to go to the nearest police station and file a report.

    Moral of the story: don’t take taxis at all in Rome if you can avoid it. Just because they’re white and “official” doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. In fact, you’re more likely to get ripped off by an official taxi than a gypsy cab.

  5. Great article. Me and my family are flying to Ciampino next week and staying in the centre of Rome, and probably WOULD have taken a taxi if they were honest and charged 30 Euros.

    But having read this we’ll probably get the bus.

    I’m sure these foolish taxi drivers are making a lot less money by trying to rip people off and ruining their reputations!

  6. great informations. Its scary to go to Rome then. Me and my family will fly to ciampino in next two weeks. We plan to rent a car. Does any of you have an experience with the car rental.

  7. I found this article while searching for a list of the flat rates from Ciampino. Thank you for the information. I usually take the bus from Ciampino, so haven’t encountered this problem. I did have the same problem in France and flat out refused to pay more than the flat rate. The taxi driver said nothing and did nothing when I paid him, as I was well within the law. That, of course, was France, not Rome.

    What do you think would happen if you were to take the cab to your apartment/hotel “within the Aurelian Walls,” saying nothing until you arrived and then gave the driver only 30 euros, refusing to pay more than 30 euros? I don’t think they would be able to do anything, and certainly would not call the police, as they are in the wrong.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Kathy! I agree with you in theory, assuming you have exactly 30 euros cash on you. But I wouldn’t underestimate how intimidating these guys can be: they could make like they won’t open the trunk to give you your suitcase, or even unlock the car to let you out, for example. Not that they’ll actually drive away with your suitcase — and you’re right that if you’re firm and if you said Well, shall we call the police, then? they’d back down immediately — but it can be a frightening and unpleasant situation. So whenever possible, I’d recommend another mode of transit from Ciampino.

      1. Hi Amanda, great article especially for someone making their first trip to Rome flying to the Ciampino airport. I was wondering if you could give me an insight on what would be the best way to get from the airport to the hotel we are staying in,that is if you can.We are staying in the Holiday Inn Rome – Eur Parco die Medici, Viale Castello Della Magliana 65. Do you know any ways of getting from the airport to there or is taxi our only choice?

        1. Hi David,
          Hmm! That’s a tough one. Because your hotel isn’t in the centro storico, the taxi would run the meter, rather than use the city rate, in any case — but obviously, I would not trust the Ciampino taxi drivers to even do that (there are different options when you run the meter, and they could still pick the incorrect and more expensive one). But your public transit options to where you’re staying aren’t great. What I’d suggest is that you book a private transfer. There are plenty of options if you just go for a Google — whatever company looks good, just make sure you cross-check them on Tripadvisor to make sure they’ve gotten good reviews recently. It’ll probably still be less than a taxi, and without any of that stress.

          Good luck and let me know how it goes!

      2. Hey Kathy

        I had a similar experience, saw the 30€ flat fare advertised, jumped into a cab with a driver who spoke no English and explained in my tourist Italian where I needed to go. Guy seemed friendly enough. Traffic was, well, like any city and when we got to the apartment I gave him 40€ and he refused to give me any change. He said the traffic had been bad, etc., etc. Luckily after arguing with him he gave me my 10€ change, but not after shouting at me in the street infront of my mum and brother and calling me miserable and telling me to take the bus next time! I guess you just have to stand your ground. I was pretty annoyed after the incident but after reading some of these stories I guess I got off pretty lightly!

        Check out my post on Rome https://theyearofitaly.com/2016/07/30/when-in-rome/

  8. Hi Amanda,

    Thank you for your blog, wish I’d read it before I booked the flights. I’m travelling with my teenage son & Mother, and have just discovered we’ll probably miss the last bus as we’re on a late flight. I’ve book a hotel opposite the train station in Ciampino for the night. Do you know how much a taxi from the airport to the train station should be please?

  9. I just pre-booked a taxi (for this weekend) using the “mytaxi” from Ciampino airport to Rome. The taxi driver’s details popped up and it is booked. After reading this site I decided to contact the tax driver directly (his mobile number was on the app) and he confirmed to me that the fare will be €30. Let’s hope he sticks to it otherwise I will be having a falling out with him!

  10. Arrived in Rome with 2 kids and 3 suitcases, had no option but to take taxi. Was tailed by a guy who said he could take us for 40€. Decided do go with official taxi as taxi driver agreed 30€ but when we arrived at the walls, he said here 30€ after wall use meter!!! What could I do but accept! He looked like the type who would drop me off in the middle of nowhere with kids! Final cost 39.50€! Taxis within Rome are honest except outside Vatican city! Promised 20€ for 2 drop-offs. At final stop said it was 28€! I think this will be my last trip to Rome.

  11. Arrived in Rome with 2 kids and 3 suitcases, had no option but to take taxi. Was tailed by a guy who said he could take us for 40€. Decided do go with official taxi as taxi driver agreed 30€ but when we arrived at the walls, he said here 30€ after wall use meter!!! What could I do but accept! He looked like the type who would drop me off in the middle of nowhere with kids! Final cost 39.50€! Taxis within Rome are generally more honest except outside Vatican city!

    Was promised 20€ for 2 drop-offs. At final stop said it was 28€! I said no you agreed 20! Hubby gave 50€. He was going to charge 28 regardless, so I said no and I gave 20 and he gave back the 50. When the taxi left, hubby checked his wallet and realised the taxi driver had given him 10€ back, not 50!!!!! He pocketed an extra 40€! I think this will be my last trip to Rome.

  12. Going over to Rome next week with the wife for our anniversary. We will be going from ciampino to Gregorio VII Luxury Suites

    Via Gregorio VII 407.
    Could anyone tell me if this is within the 30 euro fare or would it be easier getting a bus please.

    1. Alan,

      From the way I see it, you’d probably financially make out better taking the bus and then taking the metro once it drops you off at the termini. Would it be easier to take a taxi? Of course! But I have a feeling you’ll be part of this crowd ^

      I had to take a late flight to CIA a few days ago, and unfortunately missed the bus. However, I think I’m one of the rare cases, where I actually had a fantastic taxi driver, a Roman native of three generations, who actually did some extra driving to show me the Vatican at night and the best museum near my hostel. He also wrote his favorite (tourist-free) Italian restaurant on a slip of paper to give to me. Such a kind man and such a great introduction to the city.

      Alex

  13. Arrived at Campiano, didn’t negotiate a price. Gave the taxi driver 30 euros, no problems. Gave him a 5 euro tip on arrival. Not all horror stories!

  14. Unfortunatly horror stories continue. Husband and I flew into Ciampino yesterday. Being aware of some bad reviews we approached taxi stand/driver and confirmed €30 to Trastevere (inside walls). Taxi driver smiley, agreed, yes. However once we take off he tells us to “Metro”, being first time in Rome we were confused but long story short, he dumped us at the nearest Underground Railroad (Anagnina Merto station) and charged us €15 for the privledge. To top it off, in all the shock & confusion I got out of the taxi and left my carry on bag in the vehicle. A check with the airport confirmed the the driver didn’t hand it in to lost property (not that we really expected him to). Sorry for the honest taxi drivers serving Ciampino but my advise is AVOID TAXI’S. I’d suggest either booking a transfer (and take photos of taxi & driver details) or catch one of the express buses to central Rome Termini (such as Terravision for around €4). That said, I also think its only fair to say when we got off our train in city of Rome we again had to get a taxi. This driver spoke near no English but delivered us to our door without issue. Rome is amazing, don’t let the shady characters put you off.

  15. Going to Rome at the end of the month. Flying into caimpino airport and staying in the Vatican suite apartments. I need advice on transport into my apartment. Bus preferably and will it bring me to outside of apartment. How much will it cost and where do I get it.

  16. 90% of the taxi drivers are not italians. They are immigrants from the Middle East who has no other purpose in life than steal

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