Why You Need To Know About Direct Flights To Bologna!

Do you find flying into Rome Fiumicino Airport a bit overwhelming? If you are looking for a low drama alternative to using Fiumicino or Milan Malpensa airports but still want to be taking a direct flight from the USA, American Airlines has a new flight route opening in June of 2019.

Disclaimer: I do not have any sponsorship or business relationship with American Airlines. I just fly them often. This post does contain affiliate links.

Starting this summer American Airlines will now be offering direct flights from Philadelphia to Bologna.

american airlines plane in the sky above the clouds

Bologna is a wonderful city in Emilia-Romagna, the food capital of Italy. It lies roughly midway between Rome and Milan (give or take) and gives you easy access to pretty much everywhere you want to go.

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central historical bologna
Beautiful Bologna

You will probably want to devote some days to experiencing Bologna and all it has to offer before heading out to see the rest of Italy.

bologna food streets
Bologna street market via Intrepid Travel
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Bologna is a hub for high speed trains traveling north-south. You are around an hour and a half from Venice, 35 minutes from Florence, 2 hours from Rome and 3 ½ hours from Naples.

A Single Stop for European Rail Travel

Bologna’s Marconi Airport is roughly 6km from the central train station, so 10 minutes by taxi or 20-30 minutes by shuttle bus. Shuttles run every 10-15 minutes.

Bologna Marconi airport Italy

The airport is small and very easy to navigate, making it an ideal choice to fly into. One advantage of using a small airport is that it is much quicker to clear customs and baggage claim as there aren’t multiple huge planes all arriving within minutes of one another.

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For now American is only offering the service from June through September but if it proves popular may end up making it permanent. I found discounted flights with American Airlines on Cheap O Air, (linked above. This is an affiliate link.)


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Shopping In Rome ~ Why You Need To Know About The Mercato Monti

If you are looking to do really fabulous, one of a kind, fashion shopping while in Rome I have the place for you.

The Most Stylish Market In Rome

Every weekend one of the hippest neighborhoods (or Rione) in Rome, the Monti, hosts the most chic, avant garde fashion markets you will find anywhere.

the fabulous Monti Markt in Rome

On Saturdays and Sundays the bottom floor of the 1970’s style Hotel Palatino becomes a showcase for Rome’s up and coming designers and artisans. Almost everything here is handmade and quite unique, making it a favorite of fashion stylists and sophisticated shoppers.

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There are some home goods available here as well as some sweet stuff for kids, but if you are a fashion shopper there are some incredible items to check out.

homegoods at the monti market in rome
Monti Market, Rome
Hey! No photos!
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You will find handmade Italian shoes from young local designers who are in that space between being unknown and having major presence in big stores.

designer handmade italian leather shoes at the Monti Market in Rome
stalls with handmade leather shoes line up next to stalls with chic designer sunglasses at the Monti Market in Rome

Cool designer sunglasses, also not yet in stores, which makes them even cooler. Last time I was there a movie costume designer/wardrobe stylist was picking out sunglasses for a film she was working on – this place is next level cool.

sunglasses designers at the monti market in rome

You will also find really fantastic leather handbags, different from the mass market merchandise you see everywhere in the street markets and in stores.

designer leather handbags at the monti market in rome
Leather handbags from local designers at the Monti Market in Rome
leather handbags in Rome's Monti market
not my photo, this is from www.likealocalguide.com

The clothing at the Monti Market is very one of a kind euro-chic with a slightly vintage vibe. These are pieces no one will have back home, with the cut, quality and fabric choices that make them items that will not only last forever but that you will love forever.

vintage fashion at Monti Market in Rome
tourists and locals at the Monti Market

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Along with the new designers you can also find some very cool vintage jewelry at Mercato Monti.

Italians take their fashion seriously. You will notice that everyone from rich to poor, looks put together. They have an innate sense of style, and never look sloppy or careless. They value having a few well chosen, good quality pieces over a closet full of cheap fast fashion. Which is why you will spot a very cosmopolitan crowds perusing the racks here.

This is a great place to spend some money, both because you can get some really special pieces here but also because you are helping out young, emerging Italian fashion designers. You get to chat with the designers – generally they are manning their stalls. The whole experience is very cool.

Be sure to check out their website www.mercatomonti.com and also their Facebook page, to see what’s on the agenda each month. (I go to the market if I’m in town on the weekends regardless of which designers are showing, but I check the Facebook page anyway!)

Also check the website if you are in Rome during June and July as they also have a presence on Isola Tiburtina after 7 pm.

the Monti district or Rione Monti in Rome is full of pretty little streets and incredible eateries. It is also home to the fabulous Monti Market
Wandering the streets in the Monti neighborhood in Rome

Plan your trip to the Mercato Monti / Monti Market around meal time – the Monti district is one of the big foodie areas in Rome with endless fabulous little eateries everywhere. Also allow time to just wander the neighborhood, it is full of darling little streets you will want to take a thousand photos in!

My new book Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things To Do In Rome has a chapter on the best markets in Rome. Whether you want to know where to find the best flea markets, really cool food markets, art markets or where to score a fantastic Fendi handbag, it’s all in the book! Order your copy on Amazon.com from April 21st 2019

Bonus Info

Do you find the idea of shopping in Italy a little unnerving? Does the language barrier have you confused or worried about how to ask for your size or what something costs? No worries my friend – I have made a PDF for you with all the main things you want to ask or say in Italian and how to pronounce them.

Download it to your phone or print it out and take it with you. If you feel uncomfortable trying to say the words, no problem! Just point to them and show the sales person. Get your free How To Shop In Italian! PDF here

How To Get From Rome Airport To The City Stress Free

Are you traveling to Rome anytime soon? One of the questions I get asked all the time about traveling to Rome (and other parts of Italy) is how to get from Rome Fiumicino airport into the city.

Al Italia Planes at Rome Fiumicino airport
Al Italia planes at Rome Fiumicino airport

It can be nerve racking trying to figure it out by yourself if you haven’t been there before. But don’t worry – not only is it super easy, you have several options at a variety of price points. Assuming you will be overnighting in Rome, let’s check out some options:

1. Your Landlord or Hotel

The first thing to do is check if your vacation rental or hotel has a car or shuttle service. Most don’t have shuttles but in general they have drivers they work with and refer to their clientele.

The cost for a private driver to be waiting at the airport to greet you and bring you into the city is 50 euros. This is a standard rate, don’t pay more than 50.

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2. Private Car Service

If your accommodation can’t provide someone, check online for car service companies. I always, always double check them on Trip Advisor. They should have tons of great reviews across a decent stretch of time. Make sure you actually read the reviews, and check for details such as is there repetitive language (if English is not the primary language scammers will make the same grammatical mistakes over and over).

Two of the well know private car companies are Welcome Pickups and Kiwi Taxi. I haven’t used either as I have my own drivers from my tours, but both have a great reputation. Just make sure you read reviews before booking.

In Italy vendors take Trip Advisor very seriously. They proudly post stickers on their businesses and many will ask you to write a review for them. Honestly it makes everything so much easier!

Car service/private drivers are often (but not always) minivans. If there are several of you make sure you check at the time of booking. The standard rate door to door is 50 euro.

Don’t ever go with someone who solicits you at the airport. The legit companies, both private drivers and taxis, don’t have people approach people at the airport. Ever. Anyone who approaches you offering car service or taxi service is up to no good.

3. Taxis

Taxis at Fiumicino airport are regulated. Rome’s taxis are white with a taxi sign on the roof and the city taxi insignia Commune di Roma, and numbers on the doors and the back, as well as inside the car.

You pick up your taxi from the taxi rank outside the terminal. They are single file, and all look the same so you won’t make a mistake.

There is a flat fare from the airport to the city, 48 euros. This includes luggage.

taxis at Rome Fiumicino Airport
Taxis at Rome Fiumicino Airport

If you are not going inside the city walls then your fare will be metered and there will be a fee per bag, but 99% of the time you will be staying inside the walls. You need to make sure you are being charged the flat rate before you get in the taxi.

I here lots of stories about people getting scammed by taxi drivers, but as much as I use cabs in Rome I have never ever had a problem.

One thing to bear in mind with taxis is that most of them are small. If there are several of you, you will either need to take multiple taxis or use a car service.

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4. Uber

Unlike Paris where there are Ubers everywhere, in Rome they are fewer and further in between. I sometimes hear they are being outlawed but as far as I know they still exist. They don’t offer regular uber service though, and the fare from the airport into town is around 65 euros, making it the most expensive option.

5. The Leonardo Express

If I don’t use a private driver/car service I use a train + taxi combination.

From Fiumicino there is an express train inside the terminal that brings you into Rome to the main train station, Termini Station. The Leonardo Express departs every 15 minutes throughout the day and then every 30 minutes during the early morning and late evening. It takes 32 minutes and costs 14 euro.

Leonardo Express train at Rome Fiumicino airport

Once you arrive at Termini the main taxi stand is at Piazza Cinquecento, straight through the main doors of the station.

Another option is to turn right as you leave the platform area and walk through that entrance (which is what I do) and you will see a taxi stand on your left.

Again you will be approached by people offering car service and taxis. The legit taxi drivers can’t do that. They pull into the taxi ranks in the marked areas, in official Rome taxis.

One word of warning, last summer my flight was delayed and I arrived into Termini late at night. There were no taxis at the train station. I was on my way to Florence and missed the last train, so had to get a hotel for the night (thank God for the Hotels.com app) I was able to walk down the street to the hotel, but it could have been problematic had I been going further.

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6. Trains

When I fly into Rome but am heading to another city I take the Leonardo Express to termini and then pick up my next train. It is super simple and efficient.

New Train Service

In December 2018 a new train service started, taking you in one step from Fiumicino airport to Florence and Venice. I haven’t used it yet and haven’t spoken to anyone who has, so can’t review it. (yet!)

You can find it on the Trenitalia website. At the time of writing this post there were few direct trains per day, most of the options use the Leonardo Express and Termini station, but keep an eye on it – I am sure they will add more trains as the service gains popularity.

Local Trains

There are local trains that will bring you into the city very inexpensively (around 8 euro) but they stop at multiple stations and you will probably need to catch a taxi from the station. Also the small stations don’t always have elevators, so you may end up dragging suitcases up and down stairs.

7. Buses

There are bus companies that bring you into the city but again I haven’t used them. Once you are in the city you will still need to get a taxi to your hotel/apartment, so I’m not sure there is any good reason to use them. They take longer than other transport to bring you into the city, but at only 5 euros per person are the cheapest way in. The bus stops at two places, Piazza Cavour and Termini. Terravision is a well know bus/coach company that does the airport to city run. The coaches are nice and modern and store your luggage underneath.

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Recommended

You need to remember that chances are you will arrive to Fiumicino airport exhausted from your international flight, so you want to make your arrival as easy as possible. It can be well worth your while to book a private car service to take you door to door, especially if there are more than one of you. The cost of the Leonardo Express for 2 people is already 28 euros, add a taxi at the other end and you will have spent more than 50 euros anyway.

Even though I have traveled in and out of Rome more times than I can even remember and know the city pretty well, if I were arriving at night I would have a driver meeting me at the airport.

My new book Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things To Do In Rome comes out soon! Join my Private Members Newsletter to get updates and discount options. You definitely want to read this book before traveling to Rome!

Are you planning a trip to Rome? Download my free PDF of The Best Rooftop Bars in Rome HERE


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