Travel, Teach, Live in Europe and Middle East
The biggest airport in Rome, Fiumicino (also called Leonardo da Vinci), is not actually in Rome. It stands about 20 miles away, near an otherwise rural town called Fiumicino. Once you land at the airport, you still have a rather long journey to make. Cabs are costly, the direct train less so. The cheapest way to get from Fiumicino to Rome is via local trains and the Metro. Taking the Metro into Rome is a good way to go if your destination is near a Metro stop, and if you do not take with you more luggage than you can carry on your own.
Enter the airport arrivals area and go to the Fiumicino Airport train station. After you've cleared customs and gathered your bags, enter the concourse. Signs will direct you to the trains (treni). If you've come in through Terminal C (the most common arrival point for large international flights), the escalator to the trains will be just to your left. From the other terminals, follow the signs to the elevated walkway that leads to the train station.
Buy tickets for a local train and the Metro. The next part of your trip takes you on a local train with a number of stops. The final destination on this route is either Fara Sabina or Orte, both well outside the city itself. The stop you will want to make is at a station adjacent to the Rome Metro. Ask at the counter for a ticket to Ostiense or Tiburtina for stations immediately next to a Metro stop on the blue line. Tuscolana station is a five-minute walk to a station on the red line, Ponte Lungo. Choose the one of these three stops that gets you closest to your destination. While you are at the ticket counter, buy your Metro ticket also. Keep it in a safe place until you need it. (If you should lose it, you can buy Metro tickets at the tobacco shops or the machines at the Metro station when you get there.)
Validate your train ticket. On the station platform are yellow machines for validating train tickets. Slide your ticket into the narrow rectangle, and the machine will punch the time on it. Conductors check for validated tickets regularly aboard Italian trains. The penalty for traveling on a train without a validated ticket is a large fine. Sometimes, but not always, conductors take grudging pity on tourists who are clearly unfamiliar with Italian train travel and get caught holding invalidated tickets. In that case, the penalty is being terribly embarrassed in public, a fate almost as bad as the fine.
Stop at the station and board the Metro. Disembark at the station you've chosen. Signs bearing a large white capital "M" on a red background will indicate the direction of the Rome Metro. Validate your Metro ticket at the turnstiles and walk down to the platforms. There, you will find two passageways, each leading to Metro trains running in different directions on the same line. You'll want to pass through the side that heads for the final destination in your direction. A map posted on the wall will help you with this. Trains arrive every three minutes.
Take the Metro to your destination. If you have to switch lines (from Linea A to Linea B or vice versa), you must do so at the Rome Termini Metro station. If your stop is on the same line, simply ride until you get there. Announcements will inform you as you approach, and the station names are painted on the walls near the platforms.