Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Italy >
Jan 12, 2010 03:58 AM

Airport Layover, I would like to get a good meal.

My husband and I have a five hour layover from 17h00 to 22h00 on a Friday night at Rome Fiumicino. We would love to have a nice dinner somewhere outside of the airport. Do we have enough time for this? And if so where should we go? And how should we get there. If it matters we are coming in on a flight from France and headed to Egypt. Thanks,

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. What time do you absolutely have to be back at the airport? You want to take a taxi to and from the town of Fiumicino, where there are many fish restaurants (best is Pascucci), but they are unlikely to open before 8 pm, maybe 7.30.

    1. the security clearance process took a LONG time in endless lines when we returned from Rome last fall. If you leave the transit area, you will need to factor in an hour or safer even longer to be reprocessed. Its not something to be relaxed about.

      2 Replies
      1. re: jen kalb

        +1 on it taking a long, long time to get through security at FCO.

        1. re: Hungry Celeste

          our last two trips throught italian airports, FCO and Malpensa) we wound up literally being RUN through the airport to the gate by staff to get to our gates in time - no time for any relaxation, checking out shops etc. those personnl are in good shape.

      2. Not only are you fighting the fact that no restaurant is going to serve you until 19:50 at best (and good luck getting your check promptly!), but Egypt strikes me as just the sort of destination where security is going to be quite laborious and time-consuming these days.

        If you didn't care if you missed your flight (you know, some people don't!) I wonder if the train ride from FCO into Rome proper allows you to duck into a great Roman deli, load up, and head right back to the airport. Maybe Maureen knows a stellar place within a stone's throw of one of the train stops that service FCO.

        But I wouldn't do it -- because my experience of getting from A to B in Italy is that surprises and delays are the norm. And I guess I'd be afraid if I missed my flight to Egypt, my luggage would be off-loaded and blown up.

        5 Replies
        1. re: summerUWS2008

          You are right about surprises, of course. But your suggestion is not bad. The regular train (marked to Fara Sabina), not the Leonardo Express, leaves every 20 minutes from FCO. They could get off at Ostiense and walk (10 min) or even take a quick taxi to Volpetti, 57. There is also a bus, 719, but they would have to buy tickets, not insurmountable. The stop would be the first on via Galvani, right after the fire house. The Volpetti tavola calda around the corner might also be open. They could take a taxi from there back to the airport or return to the station to take the train. There should be plenty of time to do this kind of expedition. If money is no object, an idea would be to have a car and driver meet them at FCO, drive them around (e.g., Volpetti, Divinare wine bar a couple of blocks away), and return in time for the flight. Obviously, it's an extravagance, but on the scale of things, it might not be prohibitive.

          The alternative is to just go to Fiumicino, have a walk by the canal, and see what's around. It won't be a nice dinner, however.

          1. re: mbfant

            On other thing to consider: A good deal of the food and probably all the wine would have to be consumed *before* going back through security. Liquids wouldn't be allowed through, and cheese might not make it either.

            So, working it backwards, for a 22:00 flight, I think you need to be at the security gate for a flight to Egypt by 20:30. On a Friday night, I would budget an hour from Rome to the airport -- so get back in the taxi or on the train by 19:30. I don't think you can be in Rome any sooner than 18:00 if your flight lands at 17:00. (Didn't Monty Python do this routine using train schedules for Strafordshire?)

            Anyway, I think you are looking at 90 minutes to both shop and eat, unless your driver lets you eat in the cab, and I wouldn't want to try to eat in the back seat of a Roman taxi.

            I would think another alternative is a bus or taxi to Ostia Antica -- not to see the scavi but to see the atmospheric borgo. It's big enough to have a panificio and other food vendors, and if nothing else there's a bar there for typical bar snacks. (My favorite restaurant, Il Monumento, serving Emilia-Romagna cuisine, probably wouldn't serve until the dinner hour). But it's a fascinating spot with a triangular castle-fort and legendary small church.

            1. re: mbfant

              Maureen, I noticed you mentioned Divinare a couple of times implying they serve food. All the listings I see for the Testaccio location describe it as a shop. Also, there's another place called Divinare on the Via dei Balestrari. Comments?

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Divinare is a wine shop and bar, where you can certainly have food.

            2. Warning: taxi drivers DO NOT want to take you from the airport into Fiumicino. We had to stay over near the airport last year and the cab driver was positively livid when we got into the cab and weren't going all the way to Rome. I think he charged us as much anyway.

              1. Thanks for all of your suggestions. Maybe we could head to Fiumicino, either find a bar with apertivo? Or perhaps pizza places would be open a bit earlier. Given what everyone has said we need to be back at the airport around 8pm to be on the safe side.

                3 Replies
                1. re: spacesasha

                  that sounds appropriately unambitious - if you do some online research you should be able to find a local bus that would take you to Fiumicino or Lido di Ostia for this purpose. for example
                  ps - even tho I sympathize with getting onto actual italian soil, you may also want to look into what facilities there are in the airport itself- there would certainly be a place for a drink, an autogrill or other place where you could have a meal. Here is a link to some of the places on site. I cant believe it but there is actually a bona fide San Crispino gelato outlet there.

                  good luck!

                  1. re: spacesasha

                    Exactly a pizza place won't be opening earlier than other places, as they rely on the wood burning pizza oven to get to the right temperature. I really don't think venturing out will bring you anything positive - it will be hassle, it will cost, it will be iffy if you manage to get back ontime and you won't be getting any decent food at that time....

                    1. re: spacesasha

                      I think you have to accept the fact that dining well in Rome is not a 24/7 thing; it's basically 1 to 3, 8 to 11. If you have no choice but to eat between 5 and 8, you can get a meal at the open-all-the-time places at the airport. It's as or more likely to be decent than the panino you go to great trouble and expense to get in the town of Fiumicino. (I rather doubt that there's a bar in Fiumicino that offers an aperitivo spread, and as noted, no pizzeria will be fired up that early.)

                      Or, if you are prepared to pay their prices, the various restaurants at the Airport Hilton are open all day long.