Civitavecchia – Port of Call Rome

Introduction

The Cruise Port of Civitavecchia is a seaside city and the port serving the city of Rome. The city is served by frequent train service from and to Rome along with regular service to other Italian destinations. The Cruise port is only a short five or six block walk from the train station along the waterfront on Via Aurelia. Once at the port there are usually free shuttles to the cruise ships. From where and how the shuttles run seems to change often.

Civitavecchia

The main gate to the port is next to Forte Michelangelo and the nearest to the train station and across the street from the McDonalds. Recently the cruise shuttles are being organized nearer the Roman Dock entrance about 5 blocks farther up Via Dalmazia from the main gate.

Rome Cruise Port Civitavecchia is both a cruise ship embarkation port as well as a popular port of call and for that reason it can have a large number of ships in port at times. On one day we counted seven large cruise ships tied up along the sea wall and piers. Because it is a working port and its size the port normally requires a shuttle to get out of the port or to your ship.

Where Your Ship Docks

In Civitavecchia port

The seaport stretches along the waterfront in downtown Civitavecchia and there are no cruise terminals or public facilities. Walking out is usually not permitted because it is a large working port but usually there are free shuttle buses to one of two gates. The city near the the port has a nice stretch along the sea toward the train station featuring a number of outdoor cafes. There are a number of nice shops in the colonnade strip behind the port and a walking mall just two blocks up from the McDonalds at the seaport.

Transportation

Civitavecchia Station

When you are cruising out of Rome, Italy the distance to the port requires you to do some planning. If you are arriving at Fiumicino, Leonardo da Vinci airport specifically to get to your cruise ship you can save a lot of money by taking a train. The airport train station is inside the airport and a ticket to Civitavecchia is around €5 (* see note below). It does require taking a local train and switching trains at Trastevere station. Taking a taxi to the port can be an expensive trip with fares running from €150 to €300. If your not inclined to go the train option most cruise lines will offer transfer services to and from Rome airport at an additional fee. When booking your cruise usually transfers are provided as an option.

The Forum in Rome

While most cruises offer tours into Rome with some being nothing more than round trip bus service the fare can run $80 or more per person. If your cruise is ending in Civitavecchia or if it is a stop on your cruise itinerary the best way to get into Rome is to take a train. It’s only a short six to ten block walk up Via Aurelia to the station. Trains run as frequently as ever 20 to 30 minutes. From Civitavecchia a typical trip to S. Pietro (Vatican City) takes 40 minutes, Trastevere 50 minutes, Ostiense 55 minutes and finally Termini (the central train station) 70 minutes. Fare starts at €5 one way on the commuter trains but can cost up to €25 round trip if using regional trains depending on ticket class. There is a manned ticket booth at the station along with vending machines. We would strongly recommend getting a metro train map ahead of time and plan your route before getting to Italy. Our experience is that buying tickets ahead of time online doesn’t save anything and can actually cost you much more.

In Civitavecchia taxis are available but are famous for overcharging with the short ride from the port to the train station (6 to 10 blocks) quoted as high as €10 or €15. Taking a taxi into Rome or to the airport can be an expensive trip with fares running from €150 to €300.There are also shuttle services to the airport with an average price starting at €25 per person. It is recommended that reservations be made ahead of time as schedules can vary a lot.

Currency

The local currency is the Euro and the U.S. Dollar is generally not accepted. Most most major credit cards are accepted and an easy way to exchange money is to use an ATM machine if you have a debit card.

 

Civitavecchia’s walking mall

Around Civitavecchia

We have stayed overnight in Civitavecchia a number of times. It is a pleasant city with a number of nice hotels and restaurants within walking distance of the port. One happens to be our favorite pizza parlor (HERE). The main business district is next to the port and there are a number of nice shops in the area as well as a pedestrian mall. Via Aurelia runs along the waterfront from the train station to the ports main entrance and has a number of restaurants, most with outdoor seating available. There is also a nice park area along the water which is a popular place for locals to stroll in the evening.

Civitavecchia

Forte Michelangelo is a historic monument erected as a fortress in the 16th century that runs along the waterfront behind the port. In the day time there is a central courtyard open to the public and on the street side it features a colonnade and also offers panoramic port and ocean views.

Terme Taurine, also known as the Taurine Baths, is an archaeological site of a Roman bathhouse complex outside of Civitavecchia. The site features ruins dating to the Republican and Imperial eras with the oldest structures dating to the first century BC.

The National Archaeological Museum Of Civitavecchia, also known as City Museum, is located inside the eighteenth-century building commissioned by Pope Clement XIII in the eighteenth century, a block away from Fort Michelangelo. It features exhibits from the dawn of civilization, during the whole Roman times, up to the Middle Ages.

*Please Note: If you are taking a train during morning or evening rush hour many of the local trains are commuter trains and if you are traveling with suitcases the Italians may get upset with taking up extra seats. Put your bags overhead or at a car entrance.

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Rome Cruise Port of Civitavecchia

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Civitavecchia inner harbor

Rome’s Cruise Port is Civitavecchia which is one of the Mediterranean’s Two Major Cruise Departure Ports. If you are spending time in Rome ahead of a cruise or are flying in, the trip to Civitavecchia requires some planning as it is not a short distanceGeneral

The Cruise Port of Civitavecchia is a seaside city and the port serving the city of Rome. The city is served by frequent train service from Rome along with regular service to other Italian destinations. The Cruise port is only a short five or six block walk from the train station along the waterfront on Via Aurelia. Once at the port there are usually free shuttles to the cruise ships. From where and how the shuttles run seems to change often.

The Cruise Port of Civitavecchia is a seaside city and the port serving the city of Rome. The city is served by frequent train service from Rome along with regular service to other Italian destinations. The Cruise port is only a short five or six block walk from the train station along the waterfront on Via Aurelia. Once at the port there are usually free shuttles to the cruise ships. From where and how the shuttles run seems to change often.

 

The Cruise Port of Civitavecchia is a seaside city and the port serving the city of Rome. The city is served by frequent train service from Rome along with regular service to other Italian destinations. The Cruise port is only a short five or six block walk from the train station along the waterfront on Via Aurelia. Once at the port there are usually free shuttles to the cruise ships. From where and how the shuttles run seems to change often.

The main entrance to the port is nearest the train station and across from the McDonalds but recently the cruise shuttles are being organized nearer the Roman Dock entrance about four blocks farther up Via Dalmazia .

Where the Ships Dock 

 Rome Cruise Port Civitavecchia is both a cruise ship embarkation port as well as a popular port of call and for that reason it can have a large number of ships in port from time to time. On one day we counted seven large cruise ships tied up. Because of the size of the port it normally requires a shuttle to get out of the port or to your ship.

 

 

Transportation 

The best way to get into Rome is to take a train. From Civitavecchia a typical trip to S. Pietro (40 mins), Trastevere (50 mins), Ostiense (55 mins) and finally Termini (70 mins). Fare starts at €5 one way on the commuter trains but can cost up to €25 round trip if using regional trains depending on ticket class. There is a manned ticket booth at the station along with vending machines. We would strongly recommend getting a metro train map ahead of time and plan your route before getting to Italy. Our experience is that buying tickets ahead of time online doesn’t save anything and can actually cost you more.

Taxis are available but are famous for overcharging with the short ride from the port to the train station quoted as high as €10 or €15.

Taking a taxi into Rome or to the airport can be an expensive trip with fares running from €150 to €300.

There are also shuttle services to the airport with an average price starting at €25 per person. It is recommended that reservations be made as schedules can vary a lot.

Visiting Civitavecchia 

We have stayed in Civitavecchia a number of times. It is a nice city with a number of nice hotels and restaurants within walking distance of the port. The main business district is next to the port and there are a number of nice shops in the area as well as a pedestrian mall. 

evening.Via Aurelia runs along the waterfront from the train station to the ports main entrance and has a number of restaurants, most with outdoor seating available. Sitting in an outdoor cafe and feeling the sea breeze is a way of life here. There is also a nice park area along the water which is a popular place for locals to stroll in the evening and often features special events.

The Port of Venice, Italy

Port of Call Venice

One of the most popular ports of call on Mediterranean cruises, Venice (in Italian Venezia) is also regularly an over-night stay for many cruise itineraries and a port of departure for some cruises. It is an island city criss-crossed with a number of canals and is home to the iconic gondola. If you are planning your first Mediterranean cruise we would strongly recommend you selecting an itinerary that includes this marvelous city.

Where You Dock

The cruise ships dock primarily at the cruise terminal of Venice called Venezia Terminali Passeggeri. Large cruise ships tie up in the Marittima basin (Bacino Stazione Marittima), smaller ships tie up at the nearby San Basilio pier and Santa Marta pier. The piers are located just to the southwest of the northern entrance to The Grand Canal and to the west of Piazzale Roma. The larger piers are equiped with terminals that offer facilities and some shops.you can take

Transportation

The main city island is cut in half by The Grand Canal which acts as a sort of waterway main street. The heart of the city is centered around St. Marks Square (Piasa San Marco) which is the most popular first destination for visitors.

Most cruise ships usually operate shuttle boats from the pier to docks along Riva degli Schiavoni which are just east of St. Marks Square in front of the Doge’s Palace. Cost has ranged from free to $12 round trip. Some cruise ships also provide a shuttle bus service to Piazzale Roma near the port or take a land taxi or the People Mover located near the front of  the first

pier. From Piazzale Roma, youcan than  catch a water bus (vaporetto) on either Line 1 or Line 2 along the length of the Grand Canal to St Mark’s.

Venice is a very walkable city as well and while the streets seem to zigzag throughout the city it is isn’t difficult to keep your bearings. Numerous directional signs will point the way to the Rialto Bridge, which is one of two bridges across the The Grand Canal with additional markers pointing to St. Marks Square. The other bridge across The Grand Canal is a footbridge called the Ponte dell’Accademia located farther south than the Rialto.

Glass shop St. Marks Square

Currency

Italy uses the Euro with an exchange rate usually under $1.50. US Dollars are not readily accepted but most major credit cards are.

Glass factory on Murano

Attractions

Just strolling thru this remarkable city is the main attraction with its interesting neighborhoods, historic architecture, famous upscale shopping streets, open-air marketplaces and an endless assortment of restaurants and cafes. Venice is noted for art and architecture, the canals separating the 118 small islands on which it was built in the 5th century, its mask making, art glass , and of course Carnival.

A few of the more notable mask shops are Atelier Marega, Calle del Scaleter, 2940/B, Tragicomica, Calle dei Nomboli, 2800, Carta Alta Venetian Masks, Sestiere Giudecca, 796, Venice Masks by Alberto Sarria, San Polo 777, and Atelier Flavia, Sestiere Castello, 6010.

The glass factories of Venice of which the most famous is Murano Glass Works are located on Murano which is a series of islands linked by bridges in the Venetian Lagoon which can be reached by ferry.

 

Bitten By The Travel Bug

First Night In Rome

A Short Story

Back in the summer of 1965 for high school graduation I went to Italy with a relative. It was the first time I had left the United States and it was to be a great adventure. The way things worked out as we traveled around I had evenings mostly to myself. One of our first days was in Rome and we had checked into the hotel early in the evening and shortly after that I headed out walking on my own.

The hotel was the Pensione Texas only a few blocks from the termini, the Piazza della Repubblica and two blocks off of Via Nazionale. The small hotel is still there today and gets reasonably good reviews.

Without a map, not having any idea where anything was and a whole evening to myself I started walking. To keep from getting lost I decided to stick to a main street and to make as few turns as possible. I walked out the two blocks to the Via Nazionale, turned right and headed down hill (here’s a tip; when in a new city just walking around always head down hill. The good stuff is always around the river and to get there it is always down hill). Via Nazionale was a major shopping street with a lot of shops still open and heavy traffic.

Imagine, two days out of America and I was walking the streets of Rome by myself. As I continued down Via Nazionale after less than a mile I came across a wide alley to my left going down a flight of stairs. It was just too tempting to not explore and besides at the bottom was an illuminated column. Once at the bottom I found a park spread out before me rimmed in by historic ruins. Noting the name of the street I had walked down to get here I set off exploring.

Soon I found myself standing in the Roman Forum and I was so overwhelmed I almost cried. At that time Hollywood was in its Roman Empire period with hit movies like Ben Hur and Cleopatra and I was a big fan. Ancient Rome fascinated me and I read everything I could on the subject. This was such an emotional experience that it has stuck with to today. The forum was all lit up and there were crowds of people all headed in one direction so I followed along. In the middle of the Forum was a roped off area with seats arranged for a concert. While I was figuring out what to do a group of about a dozen people were passing by and a man in the group turned and said “Hey kid, it’s a symphony concert, come and join us” (To this very day I have no idea why people look at me and just decide I’m an American?). Well why not join them? Soon we were seated and an orchestra came out.

I think it was the Rome Symphony Orchestra and the one thing I still remember was them playing Ravel’s Boléro – after all even young Americans who know nothing about classical music know this piece, it was the theme song for The Lone Ranger. As we were leaving after the concert we were making small talk like how long I had been in Rome and I realized that there was something very familiar about this man. Back in the early sixties he was a big star. Over the preceding few years Victor Mature had starred in big hits like The Robe and The Big Circus.

The group was headed to a restaurant up the hill with a patio overlooking the Forum and I went with them for coffee. The weather was beautiful, and the the view unforgettable. Later I said my goodbyes and within a few minutes I found myself looking at a huge circle with a non-stop rush of Roman traffic racing around it (I don’t recall any traffic signals). In the middle of this circle stood a colossus of an illuminated structure that was the iconic image for Rome, The Coliseum. I eventually made it across and in those days it was not fenced in and there wasn’t anything to keep you from just walking in – but that’s a story for another time…

From that evening on I have been in love with Italy and addicted to travel. I have returned to Rome numerous times and aside from sharing this city with family, the overwhelming experience of that first Roman night will always be with me.

A Few Days In Florence

Above: Ponte Vecchio Bridge

If you are visiting Italy you should not pass up a visit to Florence, the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region. From many Italian cities, including Rome, it is easy to reach Florence by express train for an extra night or two stay.

 

Michelangelo’s David

The city is the birthplace of the Renaissance where Michelangelo carved many of his masterpieces and where Dante Alighieri lived and the Medici family ruled. Galileo lived in Florence most of his life while Donatello, Giovanni Boccaccio and Leonardo da Vinci are also on the list of notable residents. It is difficult to stroll the narrow streets and cross the many piazzas without feeling that you are walking through history. Add that to the museums, art galleries, shops, cafes and great restaurants and it is impossible not to fall in love with Florence.

Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Flore

Last year we caught a train up from Rome and walked the few blocks from the Santa Maria Novella train station to our hotel, the Hotel Mia Cara. We enjoyed our stay at the  Mia Cara and it was right on the edge of the historic center of Florence making it convenient to walk to many nearby points of interest. The famous Duomo (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Flore), Ponte Vecchio bridge, Uffizzi Gallery, Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens are only short strolls away. If you are an art lover and are interested in history, this is the perfect Italian destination because there is so much to see and it is mostly located in a concentrated area.

Piazza della Repubblica

Ten recommended destinations:

  1. Gates of Paradise, Lorenzo Ghiberti (1425 – 1452) at the Museo del Opera del Duomo (originally the doors of the baptistery)
  2. Madonna della Seggiola, Raphael (1513 – 1514) at the Pitti Palace, Palatine Gallery
  3. The Medici Palace, Michelozzo di Bartolomeo (1445 – 1460) near the Church of San Lorenzo
  4. The David, Michelangelo (1501 – 1504) at the Accademia (a copy is also in the Piazza Signoria)
  5. Primavera, Sandro Botticelli (1482) at the Uffizi Galleries
  6. The Perseus, Benvenuto Cellini (1545 – 1554) Piazza Signoria
  7. The Florentine Pieta, Michelangelo (1547 – 1553) at the Museo del Opera del Duomo
  8. The Slaves, Michelangelo (1525 – 1530) the Accademia

    Dante Alighieri
  9. The Mosaics in the Baptistery, (1240 – 1300) Baptistery in Piazza Duomo
  10. Madonna della Seggiola, Raphael (1513 – 1514) – in the Pitti Palace, Palatine Gallery

There are a series of three walking tours detailed at the web site visitflorence.com. Walking directions are provided along with background information on the art and sites along the way and even suggestions for good places to enjoy coffee and gelato as you stroll.

Mercato di San Lorenzo

Shopping opportunities are everywhere in Florence from street markets to exclusive shops. The city is famous for its’ leather as well as jewelry and embroidery. Check out bargains at the Mercato Nuovo, a leather and souvenir street market as well as Mercato di San Lorenzo for food specialties. Not to be missed is shopping on the Ponte Vecchio bridge and the small shops near the west side of the bridge.

Street vendors

Stretching between Piazza Duomo and Piazza Repubblica is Via Roma featuring Florence’s main department store, Rinascente along with Gucci, Cartier, Hugo Boss and many more premium shops. The home of Florence’s up scale designers is Via Tornabuoni. This street spotlights many of the famous fashion houses, as well as historic churches and plazas. Near Via Tornabouni, are Via Porta Rossa and Via della Vigna Nuova, offering more upscale fashion shopping.

While in Florence take time to sample la dolce vita (the good life) with frequent stops at sidewalk cafes for cappuccinos, gelato and wine. One of Italians favorite pastimes is sitting at cafes and watching the world go by.

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Perseus

From Florence you can take a quick side trip to Pisa. It is only a short train ride away with trains leaving about every half hour or so from Santa Maria Novella train station. The Regionale Veloce trains are the ones making this trip, which takes about an hour each way with ticket prices about $10. From the station in Pisa the cathedral and the leaning tower are only a moderate hike away. There are also numerous organized day tours outside the city at reasonable rates that include a day trip by train to Cinque Terre, a beautiful seaside town south of Genoa along with bus tours into the Tuscan countryside.

The Port of Naples, Italy

Port of Call Naples, Pompeii & Sorrento

Naples is a major metropolitan area with a number of historical sites and several nearby destinations of interest. First is Pompeii, the ancient Roman city that was buried by an eruption from Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. Another popular side trip is to Sorrento. It is one of several beautiful Southern Italian seaside towns well worth a visit.

 

Where the Ship Docks – Cruise ships dock at a pier in Naples harbor right in the central city. There is a terminal and an easy walk out of the port area.

Transportation – Since the port is right in Naples CBD there are a number of sites and destinations within walking distance. To get out to the archeological sites or the southern coast it is best to take a regional train or a bus tour.

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Pompeii ruins

Pompeii – You can take a train to Pompeii from Naples at the Porta Nolana Circumvesuviana station only a few blocks from the port entrance. Circumvesuviana is the regional Naples train system around Mount Vesuvius with stops at Herculaneum, Pompeii and Sorrento. Go to the Circumvesuviana train ticket window and get tickets for Pompeii Scavi. The cost should be about €7 round trip. Once at Pompeii Scavi, exit the train station, turn to your right, and walk about 50 meters to the entrance to the Pompeii ruins.

Sorrento – Taking a Circumvesuviana train to Sorrento is easy since it is Capolinea, meaning the train service ends and starts in Sorrento from or to Naples. The trip takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. The trains to Sorrento run every 30 minutes approximately. There are 2 types of trains. Diretto which stops at every station and Diretissimo which is faster (10 to 20 minutes). The Direttissimo is marked as DD on the schedule.

Money – Like most of Europe, Italy uses the Euro (€) and credit cards are widely accepted.

Attractions –

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Ovo Castle

Ovo Castle – Only a short walk from the port entrance is an imposing fortress & former royal residence, with 2 towers offering views of the city.

Napoli Sotterranea – Underground system of ancient catacombs, tunnels, caverns, cisterns & hideouts accessible by tour.

Castel Nuovo – Medieval fortress near the port with 5 towers & a Renaissance triumphal arch, plus an art museum & chapel.

Anton Dohrn Zoological Station – Interesting 19th-century aquarium featuring local marine life including sea horses, squids & sea turtles.

Cameo Factory de Paola – Naples is famous for its cameos and this factory is only blocks from the port.

 

 

Archeological Sites – Including Herculaneum and Pompeii, both of which can be easily reached using the regional commuter trains.

 

Civitavecchia, Rome’s Cruise Port

General – Civitavecchia is a seaside city and major port serving the city of Rome. The city is served by frequent train service from Rome along with service to other Italian destinations. The Cruise port is only a short five or six block walk along the waterfront on Via Aurelia. Once at the port there are usually free shuttles to the cruise ships. How the shuttles run seems to change often.

The main entry to the port is marked on the map with a red 1 but the more likely location to catch the shuttle is marked with a red 2.

Where the Ships Dock – Civitavecchia is both a cruise ship embarkation port as well as a popular port of call and for that reason it can have a large number of ships in port from time to time. On one day we counted seven cruise ships tied up. Because of the size of the port it usually requires a shuttle to get out of the port.

Transportation – The best way to get into Rome is to take a train. From Civitavecchia a typical trip to S. Pietro (40 mins), Trastevere (50 mins), Ostiense (55 mins) and finally Termini (70 mins). Fare starts at €5 one way but can cost up to €25 round trip depending on ticket class. There is a manned ticket booth at the station along with vending machines.

Taxis are available but are famous for overcharging with the short ride from the port to the train station quoted as high as €10 or €15.

Civitavecchia Pedestrian Mall

Taking a taxi into Rome or to the airport can be an expensive trip with fares running from €150 to €300.

There are also shuttle services to the airport with an average price starting at €25 per person. It is recommended that reservations be made as schedules can vary a lot.

Visiting Civitavecchia – We have stayed in Civitavecchia a number of times. It is a nice city with a number of nice hotels and restaurants within walking distance of the port. The main business district is next to the port and there are a number of nice shops in the area as well as a pedestrian mall.