Since so many people ask, and so many visit each year, I think it’s high time I write a post on spotting at Rome’s Fiumicino (Leonardo da Vinci) airport.
I’ve covered this in my Airport Spotting Guides Europe book, but for those doing web research, here’s an overview of the main locations when spotting in Rome.
1. Terminal B Gallery
Inside Terminal B, head upstairs above the check-in areas to the Terrazza Roma Gallerie. Here you’ll find a cafe with large windows looking out over the action. This is the best view you’ll get from the terminal areas, although a few windows near the cafe do have some views. You’ll be able to see action on two of the runways, and will see most of the aircraft at some stage in their visit. Beware – police patrol here, and you will also be expected to purchase food/drink in the cafe.
2. Runway 16L/34R
A road runs from the terminal area along the entire length of this runway. If you have a car, head in the direction of Fiumicino village. It may be a little far to walk along here. The road has a few pull-in points where you can stop to log movements. At the northerly end, you’ll find an area to the side of the road where you can pull over and photograph arrivals if they’re from the north.
3. Between Runways
Following the road from location 2, turn right at the first T-junction you come to. This track will eventually lead to an area with some views back towards the terminal area (parts you can’t see from the cafe), and also of aircraft on the 07/25 runway. This is a residential area, so be careful.
To order Airport Spotting Guides Europe, go to this link.
There is a farm, just at the threshold of runway 25, where you can get close to an emergency access gate. Its great. Leave the car by the far, walk 200m. Expect to be stopped by the police driving in regular cars or armed personnel carrier to check you out, take your id card with you.
Terminal B has changed completely, there is now no opportunity to sit by a window with any kind of view until you are airside, and then it is very limited. This is due to a large amount of building work and renovation inside the terminal.