How to visit Rome from Civitavecchia
Cruises to Rome will normally dock at Civitavecchia, which is about 45 miles north west of Rome. See below for information on getting from Civitavecchia to Rome.
There are some great excursions from Civitavecchia and with so much to see in Rome itself you could visit Rome on several cruises and still not see it all. The air conditioned excursion coaches will pick you up at the dock and will guarantee to get you back to the ship in advance of sailaway.
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Travelling to Rome
It is, however, relatively easy to reach Rome by train from Civitavecchia. The trains are inexpensive, regular and clean, although do get crowded with business commuters first thing in the morning.
It is worth checking the online timetables beforehand and having a printed copy to hand, particularly for your return visit.
Ensure that you buy the right ticket for the right train…..faster trains are more expensive. In the right hand column on the timetable you will see the type and number of the train service, those with the abbreviation Reg and RV represent the Regionale services which are the cheaper and more frequent option and the ones we have used ourselves. IC represents the Intercity/Long Distance services which are more expensive and less frequent although they have a shorter travel time to Rome.
You will need to return on the same type of train so check times of these on the timetables before you leave home.
Again, an early start is recommended (as soon as you are allowed off the boat) to allow you to reach Rome and spend a good amount of time there, but still be able to leave in plenty of time to ensure a stress-free return to the port, well before sailing time.
First you will need to make your way to the port gate. Depending where your ship docks this can be a 10-15 min walk.
There is a port bus which would take you this far but on our last visit this did not seem to start running until the excursion coaches had gone, so wasting precious sightseeing time.
It is a 10-15 min walk from there to the station….right out of gate, keeping the coast to your right.
The Civitavecchia railway station is easy to spot
You can buy tickets at the station where the staff are used to dealing with cruise passengers and speak good English. The cost was 12euros per person return in 2012.
Remember to validate your ticket in the yellow machines in the ticket office or on the platforms.
You will be fined for a non-validated ticket.
There are several train stations in Rome, so it depends where you would like to go. It’s a great city for just walking around and seeing the sights, which makes for a pretty cheap day out too.
You can get off at ‘Roma S. Pietro’ If you want to see The Vatican, including St. Peter’s Square, Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. ‘Termini’ would be the closest station for most other attractions.
Check out some of the key sights of Rome (courtesy of Cunard)
Main Sights of Rome
On our last visit, with the help of a good street map, a bit of advance planning and an early start, we did a walking tour of famous sights getting off the train at ‘Roma S. Pietro’ and following a route through the streets as follows, stopping for lunch before returning via ‘Termini’:
We were at the Vatican by 9am and with hindsight could probably have joined the relatively short queue to visit St Peter’s Basilica, but weren’t dressed appropriately. You do need to check the dress code if you intend to visit. Another important thing to note is that there are excellent, free public toilets available at St Peter’s square.
The Vatican City is a state within a state and home to His Holiness Pope Francis. The 360 view from St Peter’s Square is breathtaking especially early in the morning when there are less people around.
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The Castel St Angelo was built as a mausoleum but it has been a fortress, prison, a papal residence and now houses a National Museum.
The Pont Sant Angelo spans the Tiber, the bridge is pedestrian only and provides a great place to stop and take photos of the Castel St Angelo.
The Piazza Navona was built over the site of a stadium which had a larger arena than the Colosseum.
The square today is dominated by the central Fountain of the Four Rivers which supports an obelisk.
The square has several cafes around the outside with local artists displaying their work in the centre.
The Pantheon is one of the best preserved buildings from Ancient Rome. Originally built as a temple dedicated to Roman pagan gods but has been a church for over 1400 years.
The Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II built in honour of Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of a united Italy. The tomb of the unknown solider is located here, which is guarded night and day.
The base of the monument holds a museum.
The Forum was the centre of the City of Rome, where business, commerce, distribution of justice and religious activities took place.
The Colosseum stands at the east end of the Forum, built to hold over 50,000 spectators.
Games involving deadly combat between gladiators, fights with wild animals even re-enactment of sea battles all took place in the Colosseum.
We had no problems getting into Rome, but did get hassled in an unthreatening way by potential pickpockets at Termini after lunch as we made our way to the return train.
Its best to travel in a group, keep focussed, watch out for each other, keep valuables out of sight in tightly held bags and avoid anyone making any kind of distracting behaviour, particularly if someone in a group tries to engage you in conversation.
That said, the journey itself was speedy and the train pleasant and at 12 euros per person, much cheaper than an equivalent excursion which would cost about £40 plus. If you want to do your own thing in Rome, are up for an adventure and want to save yourself money then take the train.
The only proviso is to always make sure you have the means on you to get back by taxi if necessary.