Travel Tip: Getting to Rome

The train ride from Roma Fuimincino Airport has been bad for decades, but it's gotten worse recently, and now ranks among the worst things to be experienced by the sensual animal. Everything grates: it's filthy as a port-a-john, there's plastic everywhere and graffiti on that; all alert systems are red since it feels both crowded and dangerous. What's more, the A/C is broken, and has been on all five of my trips to Rome, and, somehow, psychotically, they've bolted all the windows shut. The temperature inside hovers around 100 and one thinks she can imagine the smell, but is still surprised experiencing it. And it's slow. And takes you through the worst part of town. And it's expensive: between 8 and 25 euro depending on which line you get in and whether the man working the desk thinks you look like prey. And th ensigns directing you to the "station" are held up with tape. You get the idea. Half of the visitors' Roman dreams are dashed in sweaty Satanic reality before one even crosses the Flaminian gate.

Hence, this tip. When you arrive at FCO, don't follow the signs that say "In Centro," or "Rome," or "Metro" or "All Trains," or anything else that suggests "You Should Come this Way." That is the broad way that leads to death (Matt 7:13). Instead, go out to the curb where the cabs come, then get to Terminal 1. It's an easy walk from 2 or 3, and a free tram ride from anywhere else (also picking up on the curb). Once there, stand on said curb, enjoying the fresh air, and go to the small sign that says airport shuttle. There are many that operate--one by AiItalia and another that just says 7 Euro" on the side. They're all 7 euro, and clean, modern buses, that stow your luggage, are air-conditioned, and drive straight to Termini (no stops between) via what looks like a tour bus route: you'll see EUR, Colosseum, Forum, St. Giovanni in Laterno, and many other landmarks, just on your way into the city, where you arrive refreshed, relaxed, dry, and excited to begin your pilgrimage.