The Easiest Way To Fly Into Italy From The US

Planning a trip to Italy can be overwhelming, but when you're flying from the U.S., choosing a gateway airport is a good place to start. Even if you're bound for other parts of the country, the best destination for an arrival may be Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport near Rome. This is the country's busiest airport, but that works to your advantage here since it means there are more nonstop flights from America.

The airport's code is FCO, and you may see its name rearranged in various ways, with "Rome" sometimes included. Even its official website, Aeroporti di Roma, refers to it differently depending on the page. If the internet and world at large could agree on one name, it might make it less confusing for first-time visitors, but c'est la vie. For the sake of consistency and clarity here, we'll go with the Google Maps gods and call it Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport.

Per Skyscanner, the airport is the cheapest one in Italy to fly into from the U.S. Technically, it's located about 20 miles outside Rome proper, in the town of Fiumicino, which is part of the same metropolitan area. Since Italy uses the metric system (like most places outside the states), it may be helpful to convert that distance to 32 kilometers so you can start getting used to local measurements. Here, we'll measure its convenience in terms of nonstop flight options — which could come in handy even if you need to connect to another U.S. airport first.

Fly nonstop to Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport

Domestic airlines like Delta, United, and American Airlines all offer nonstop flights from major U.S. cities to Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport. If you want to fly Italian, the state-owned carrier, ITA Airways (formerly Alitalia), also uses this airport as its main hub. JFK International in New York has two or three daily nonstop flights each from ITA, Delta, and American Airlines. Contrast this with Italy's second-busiest airport, Milano Malpensa. In 2024, ITA stopped offering flights from there to New York, where American Airlines offers just one nonstop flight per day. There are only two nonstop flights daily — from Delta alone — going from New York to Venice.

You'll also find more nonstop flights from Chicago to Rome than Milan. What this means is that you simply have more flexibility and more options at your disposal when choosing a flight to Rome than other cities in Italy. If you go directly from Chicago to Milan, you'll be locked into one option from United, whereas Chicago to Rome unlocks a few more options from it and other airlines.

Since you may already be connecting from another U.S. airport to a major hub like New York or Chicago, it helps to have one less layover when you get on the plane to Rome. ITA also has nonstop return flights to Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Flying long-haul from one nation's capital to another — Washington, D.C. to Rome — takes about 8 hours and 45 minutes.

Use Rome as your gateway to Italy

Let's say you have your heart set on the canals of Venice, even though this popular Italian city may start charging you a fee to visit. Just because you fly into Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport doesn't mean you need to spend all your time in Rome. It just means the Eternal City will be the launchpad for the rest of your vacation. You can use it as your entry point and then move outward from there to other cities via high-speed rail. That's when you can ride to Venice — and be there in about 3 hours and 45 minutes on the fastest trains.

Along the way, however, you may want to stop off somewhere like Italy's food capital, Bologna. By train, Milan is also doable as a day trip from Rome, as is Pisa (even if you skip the leaning tower). Layering your itinerary with destinations like these will help break up the trip so it doesn't feel like you're spending all your time on trains and planes.

Italy is arguably where you want to do your long layovers between cities, not the U.S. beforehand. After you've experienced the best of Rome in one day or more, it has a second airport, Ciampino, which could be budget-friendly for connecting to other Italian cities. Whether you use Rome as your base of operations or just a springboard for other adventures, flying nonstop into Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport provides convenient access to all of Italy.