Most nonstop flights between North America and Italy serve Rome and Milan, though the airports in Venice and Pisa also accommodate nonstop flights from the United States. Many travelers find it more convenient to connect via a European hub to Florence, Bologna, or another smaller Italian airport.
Flying time to Milan or Rome is approximately 8–8½ hours from New York, 10–11 hours from Chicago, and 11½ hours from Los Angeles.
Labor strikes are not as frequent in Italy as they were some years ago, but when they do occur they can affect not only air travel, but also local public transit that serves airports. Your airline will usually have details about strikes affecting its flight schedules.
A helpful website for information (location, phone numbers, local transportation, etc.) about all of the airports in Italy is www.italianairportguide.com.
Airline Security Issues
Transportation Security Administration. The agency has answers for almost every security question that might come up. 866/289--9673; www.tsa.gov.
The major gateways to Italy include Rome's Aeroporto Leonardo da Vinci (FCO), better known as Fiumicino, and Milan's Aeroporto Malpensa (MXP). Most flights to Venice, Florence, and Pisa make connections at Fiumicino and Malpensa or another European airport hub. You can take the Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) airport train or bus to Rome's Termini station or to Cadorna or Centrale in Milan; from the latter you can then catch a train to any other location in Italy. It'll take about 40 minutes to get from Fiumicino to Roma Termini, less than an hour to Milano Centrale.
Many carriers fly into the smaller airports. Milan also has Linate airport (LIN) and Rome has Ciampino (CIA). Venice is served by Aeroporto di Venezia Marco Polo (VCE), Naples by Aeroporto Internazionale di Napoli Capodichino (NAP), Palermo by Aeroporto di Palermo (PMO) and Cagliari by Aeroporto Elmas (CAG). Florence is serviced by Aeroporto di Firenze (FLR) and by Aeroporto di Pisa (PSA), which is about 2 km (1 mile) outside the center of Pisa and about one hour from Florence. Aeroporto de Bologna (BLQ) is a 20-minute direct Aerobus ride away from Bologna Centrale, which is 35 minutes from Florence by high-speed train.
Many Italian airports have undergone renovations in recent years and have been ramping up security measures, which include random baggage inspection and bomb-detection dogs. All airports have restaurants, snack bars, shopping, and Wi-Fi access. Each also has at least one nearby hotel. In the cases of Milan Linate, Florence, Pisa, Naples, and Bologna, the city centers are less than a 15-minute taxi or bus ride away—so if you encounter a long delay, spend it in town.
When you take a connecting flight from a European airline hub (Frankfurt or Paris, for example) to a local Italian airport (Florence or Venice), be aware that your luggage might not make it onto the second plane with you. The airlines' lost-luggage service is efficient, however, and your delayed luggage is usually delivered to your hotel or holiday rental within 12–24 hours.
Aeroporto di Bologna. 6 km (4 miles) northwest of Bologna, 051/6479615; www.bologna-airport.it.
Aeroporto di Caglari. 7 km (4½ miles) from Cagliari, Via dei Trasvolatori, Elmas, Cagliari, Sardinia. 070/211211; www.cagliari-airport.com.
Aeroporto di Firenze. 6 km (4 miles) northwest of Florence, 055/3061300; www.aeroporto.firenze.it.
Aeroporto di Milan Linate. 8 km (5 miles) southeast of Milan, 02/232323; www.milanolinate.eu.
Aeroporto di Palermo. 32 km (19 miles) northwest of Palermo, 091/7020111; 800/541880; www.gesap.it.
Aeroporto di Pisa. 2 km (1 mile) south of Pisa, 80 km (50 miles) west of Florence, 050/849300; www.pisa-airport.com.
Aeroporto di Roma Ciampino. 15 km (9 miles) southwest of Rome, 06/65951; www.adr.it.
Aeroporto di Venezia. 6 km (4 miles) north of Venice, 041/2609260; www.veniceairport.com.
Aeroporto Fiumicino. 35 km (20 miles) southwest of Rome, Latium. 06/65951; www.adr.it.
Aeroporto Internazionale di Napoli. 7 km (4 miles) northeast of Naples, 081/7896111; 848/888777; www.aeroportodinapoli.it.
Aeroporto Malpensa. 45 km (28 miles) north of Milan, Lombardy. 02/232323; www.airportmalpensa.com.
From the United States, Alitalia and Delta Air Lines serve Rome, Milan, Pisa, and Venice. The major international hubs in Italy (Milan and Rome) are also served by United Airlines and American Airlines; US Airways serves Rome as well. From June through October, the Italy-based Meridiana has nonstop flights from New York to Naples and Palermo.
Alitalia has direct flights from London to Milan and Rome, while British Airways and smaller budget carriers provide services between Great Britain and other locations in Italy. EasyJet connects London’s Gatwick and Stansted airports with 13 Italian destinations. Ryanair, departing from Stansted, flies to 18 airports. Meridiana has flights between Gatwick and Olbia on Sardinia in summer. For flights within Italy, check Alitalia and smaller airlines, such as blu-express and Meridiana. Since tickets are frequently sold at discounted prices, it’s wise to investigate the cost of flying—even one way—as an alternative to train travel.
Aer Lingus. 02/43458326; 516/6224222; www.aerlingus.com.
Alitalia. 800/223–5730; 892/010; 06/65640; www.alitalia.it.
American Airlines. 800/433–7300; 199/257300; www.aa.com.
British Airways. 800/247–9297; 02/69633602; www.britishairways.com.
Delta Air Lines. 888/750–3284; 02/38591451; www.delta.com.
EasyJet. +44330/3655454; 199/201840; 0330/3655000; www.easyjet.com.
Ryanair. 0871/2460000; 895/8958989; www.ryanair.com.
United Airlines. 800/864–8331; 02/69633256; www.united.com.
Volotea. 895/8954404; 0034/931220717; www.volotea.com.
blu-express. 06/98956666; www.blu-express.com.
Meridiana. 866/387–6359; 0789/52682; 0844/4822360; www.euroflyusa.com.
Transavia. 899/009901; www.transavia.com.