Italian Transports: The Airports
You have already been in Italy so you might know your way around, but do you really know the best Italian Transport and the best Airport? Here we will try to help you in the choice so that when it will be time for your next “Repitaly” experience you can use our guide.
A bit of numbers………
You would have read about it a lot, as those information are well established out there so this is the list of the most important Italian airports (by number of passenger):
• Leonardo Da Vinci Airport – Fiumicino – Rome (FCO) – with almost 43m passengers
• Malpensa Airport – Milan (MXP) – with more than 24m passengers
• Orio Al Serio Airport – Bergamo (BGY) – with about 13m passengers
• Marco Polo Airport – Venice (VCE) – with over 11m passengers
As you well know, here at Repitaly we focus our attention to the real more authentic part of the country with far less traffic of tourist but with a lot more of authentic experience and real Italian people.
Following this the airports that we are going to talk about in this article will be the following:
• Vincenzo Bellini Airport – Catania, Sicily (CTA) – with almost 10m passengers
• Guglielmo Marconi Airport – Bologna, Emilia Romagna (BLQ) – with 8.5m passengers
• Falcone Borsellino Airport – Palermo, Sicily (PMO) – with more than 6.6 passengers
• Galileo Galilei Airport – Pisa, Tuscany (PSA) – with more than 5m passengers
• Karol Wojtyla Airport – Bari, Apulia (BRI) – with 5m passengers per year
• Elmas Airport – Cagliari, Sardinia (CAG) – with more than 4m passengers
• Turin Caselle Airport – Turin, Piedmont (TRI) – with 4m passengers
• Valerio Catullo Airport – Verona, Veneto (VRN) – with 3.5 passengers
• Costa Smeralda Airport – Olbia, Sardinia (OLB) – with almost 3m passengers
• Sant ’Eufemia Airport – Lamezia Terme, Calabria (SUF) – with more than 2.5m passengers
• Ronchi Dei Legionari Airport – Trieste, Friuli Venezia Giulia (TRS), less than 800k passengers
• Pescara Airport – Pescara, Abruzzo (PSR), also with less than 700k passengers
• Marche Airport – Ancona, Marche (AOI), with less than 500k passengers.
• San Francesco D’Assisi Airport – Perugia, Umbria (PEG) – less than 300k passengers
Where to land……..
Rather than going by volume of traffic we rather wanted to talk about the regions, the route, what to see and so we will go with the region airports and by using our suggestion you will make an informed choice on where to land for your next Repitaly trip.
…….and where to go!!!
We are approaching the summer so what best point to start our trip into Italian mean of transport by starting from the sunny and welcoming Sicily?
This also happen to coincide with the volume of traffic. In fact, if you add the volume of Catania, Palermo, Trapani and Comiso (the last two were not mentioned as far smaller) you will have a total of more than 17.5 million passenger and this mean that, collectively, we are talking about the third Italian airport for traffic. Remarkable, right? And why that would be?
We think that this is due to a mixture of factor. One could be the extension of the island. Sicily in fact, being an island, is “isolated” from the main land so it has to be reached independently. We will see later on that some airports are only used to be the landing point while instead the flow of passengers will end up going and visit other region, Pisa being one of those. Going back to the extension, Sicily has a total area of more than 25,000 km2 (about 10k sq. mi) that is about 16 times the Greater London Area or slightly bigger than Wales. It can also be that the area is very well populated (about 7m people) and so more people mean bigger need of airports. But we also like to think that this is to facilitate the many visitors that yearly would like to have dive into the sun!
Catania and Palermo airports are about 230 km further apart and so they serve two different side of the island. Catania is more dedicated to the traffic directed to Siracusa, Ragusa, Noto and Messina and the Etna Volcano.
Palermo Airport is serving instead the northern part of the island with Palermo, Cefalu, Monreale, Trapani area, Agrigento and the mountains. We mentioned that Trapani has also his own airport and that would be ideal for the Trapani area and Agriggento but as it is of a smaller size is not well served as the other two.
• TIPS: Once you land in the island you would not want to leave it, so pick an area more close to your interest and chose the closer of the two airports. We recommend about 1 week for each side. Of course if you have two weeks available your trips will be amazing!
Calabria is a region with a strange shape, rather long therefore the Reggio Calabria Airport, which is the capital city of the region is rather distant from the rest of the region and so, in the 60s has been created an Airport in the centre of the region that is a communication hub with trains, motorway, and even ports. Lamezia Terme Airport with its 2.5 million passengers serves the region as main hub. Is very well connected with the train line that run from north to south and island, the same with the motorway that is again the main rubber corridor for the country and the nearby port of Gioia Tauro which is one of the biggest in the Mediterranean area.
• TIPS: This is a very peculiar region, so landing in Lamezia Terme will give you the chance to explore it at its best. As it is in the centre of the region, leaving it would mean about 2/3 hours drive.
Apulia, or Puglia in Italian language, has a similar shape as of the one of Calabria, oblong stretched. However, being further north, it allows to be close to other regions like Molise, Basilicata and Marche. Karol Wojtyla Airport in Bari in fact serves a more extended area. The region itself with its naturalistic beauty and marvellous raised beaches and cliffs, have an affluent tourism in the south of the region but Bari itself, Lecce are the treasure chest of beautiful architectonic and historic sights.
• TIPS: The Ideal trip would start with some historic and architectonic experience in the main cities while after few days a nice and relaxing beach holiday in the south of the region. Bari Airport will do just that for you. The perfect choice.
The location of Abruzzo is ideal for a mixture of journey. They say “Location, Location, Location” and Pescara Airport could be the answer to that axiom. It is specular to Lazio (the region where Rome is) however is about couple of hours drive from Apulia (and as said earlier the historic beauty and the beaches) but also some over an hour from Umbria and the naturalistic and religious destinations that we will talk about soon. And again, just over 2 hours from Rome.
• TIPS: Landing in Pescara Airport will allow you to do a 360° trip. The speciality of the region and the ideal starting point for your own road trip that will bring into the essence of the central area of the Italian country.
Maybe one of the best kept secret into Italian tourism but Umbria most certainly will not disappoint you. Naturalistic heaven, artistic and historic places, religious destination, small and untouched villages and all of this in the exact centre of the country. San Francesco D’Assisi Airport is maybe the smallest one in our list, but it most certainly could be the one with the best potential. Beside serving the region that are a number of other regions just over one-hour drive from it: Apulia, Marche, Abruzzo, Emilia Romagna, Tuscany Lazio (and so Rome). This is the beating hearth of Italy
• TIPS: If you chose to land in Perugia, we would suggest that you explore the region itself. Is Mesmerising, quiet, relaxing artistically significant and more. If your road trip start from here it might end up in one of the other region. But do not stretch yourself as what you might overlook would actually mean the difference for your Repitaly Experience.
Marche Umbria and Abruzzo are comparable under this aspect of our research. They are all ideally located to start your journey in an impressive location but it will also give you the chance to visit some more and further beyond.
• TIPS: Landing in Ancona Airport mean that you are leaning towards the north, so you should follow that instinct and explore up north after Marche.
We talked about Lamezia Terme and its central location for the region that makes the Airport and the city a small hub for the area. Guglielmo Marconi Airport and Bologna itself they are doing the same but for the Italian country as whole. This is also an extremely important region for the thing to see, to do and most importantly to eat. This is the Italian Hub for culture food, history and much more.
• TIPS: Landing in Bologna and stay in the region. There is plenty to see and to eat, you will come back home a stone heavier. If you really want to stretch the choice is only yours. About one/two hours drive and you will reach Tuscany, Veneto (and Venice), Lombradia (and Milan) Marche, Umbria, Lazio, Piedmont, Liguria.
Our love and affection are mostly for this region. We cannot recommend visiting this enough. The best will be to start from Ronchi Dei Legionari Airport. Few kilometres from Trieste spend some time there to taste a cultural mix formed by the Germanic root, Italian, Jew and middle east. All concentrated in one city. You’ll be able to move along too but spend here as much time as you can. The remarkable experience that will derive from it will stay with you for the rest of your life.
• TIPS: Trieste Airport is not as served as it would deserve but is a good start and if not feasible for you also Treviso Airport is about one-hour drive so is Croatia or about 2 hours from Venice.
Turin is one of the biggest cities in Italy, and so Caselle Airport is reflecting the same. Curiosity about this Airport is that its peak time is not in the summer but in the Winter. This is in fact the landing point for the Skiing holiday enthusiast. Turin in fact is at the foot of the Alps and so many resorts can be reached in less than 2 hours after landing.
• TIPS: it might not be as busy as expected because Milan is less than one-hour drive, so is Genoa therefore if skiing is not your cup of tea it could be a very good alternative to use this airport and start to explore the north of Italy.
As Sicily, Sardinia is an Island. Also very large and so the two Airports of Olbia and Cagliari are serving different side of the island as Catania and Palermo very doing for Sicily. Elmas Airport in Cagliari is more for the institutional traffic, while Costa Smeralda Airport in Olbia is for the tourism, the elite tourism as this is one of the more exclusive area of the country not only of the region.
• TIPS: Ideal would be to land in one airport and leave from the other so that you enjoy the entirety of the region. As it is within the same region the drop off in a different location charge for your rental car will be minimal.
We left out Valerio Catullo Airport in Verona, and Galielo Galilei Airport in Pisa. They serve as hub for the major tourist attraction of Florence and Venice. This basically explain their massive traffic. But do not let you fool, Repitaly still want you to explore the uncommon so land in those two airports, Pisa is perfect for Cinque Terre and the less popular Tuscany, and Verona apart from serving the region which is beautiful, it also serve the city of Verona which is exemplar on its own!
Tips of the Tips
We could not leave with all of this information without giving you some direction. And here it is. This is what we think you should do.
• Stay Two weeks in Sicily, fly either to Palermo or Catania airport and leave from the same. Your Road trip will be spectacular.
• Visit Calabria and land in Lamezia Terme Airport. Tour Around, explore it in full and bring home an experience reserved only to the few
• Bari airport and Apulia on its own. No more to say apart from “Just do it”
• Pescara, Ancora and Perugia, the explore the central part of Italy, try to resist the temptation to go to Rome and once back home you will know one of the few hidden secrets of the country.
• Bologna Airport will be the centre of your world. The world is your Oyster.
• Trieste Airport for the one who are looking for a real cultural and emotional experience.
• Turin Airport for the ski but not only
Certainly coming in Italy by flight is the most common choice nowadays but do not forget to check our other posts of the Transport series, next to come along will be the Italian Rail travel