An Introduction to Civitavecchia
A large number of cruise ships dock regularly at the Port of Civitavecchia, which lies around 45 miles north-west of Rome. Cruise companies with a presence at the port include Costa, Carnival, Princess, and Seabourn. A frequent rail service connects Civitavecchia to the center of Rome, the trip taking just over 70 minutes.
Located about 80 km northwest of Rome, Civitavecchia, which means ‘ancient town’, is a working ferry, cruise and cargo port serving the Rome area and southern Italy. You’ll find an efficient direct rail link from Civitavecchia to the center of Rome, with services every 30 minutes, and a time for the journey of around 70 to 80 minutes.
Emperor Trajan established Civitavecchia Port in the 2nd century, calling it Centumcellae. Even today, ruins of Trajan’s Port, which stand inside the modern port , can still be seen. At the end of the fifteenth century, Civitavecchia port was under frequent attack by pirates. Pope Julius II commissioned the building of a castle to protect the harbor. This was completed by Michelangelo in 1537. In the 19th century the Port of Civitavecchia was linked to Rome by a railroad. World War II brought destruction to large parts of the Port. The rebuilding enlarged the Port beyond its previous area.
Nowadays Civitavecchia handles over two thousand ferry and cruise ship movements a year, for nearly two million passengers, making it an important Mediterranean port.
Civitavecchia Port and Cruise Terminals
The Port of Civitavecchia contains twenty piers. Much of the port is taken up by container and ferry ships. Cruiseliners dock at quays on the land side of the sea wall. These are 11 (Traianea), and numbers 12/12B/13A/13B - Antemurale Colombo. Sometimes 25 (Commerciale) across the harbor also becomes used.
There are currently three terminals, named the Bramante at pier 12, and non-permanent terminals on quays 11 and 25. The temporary facility at quay 25 has the moneker ‘Rome Cruise Terminal’ - a bit of a nerve as Rome is over 40 miles away! See further details at Civitavecchia Port.
Generally cruises focus on either the Eastern Mediterranean - Greece, the Greek Islands and Istanbul, or the Western Mediterranean - Spain, France, Corsica and Sardinia, and Mallorca/Ibiza.
Typical Itineraries would be
10 Night Eastern Mediterranean (Celebrity) Civitavecchia, Messina, Piraeus, Mykonos, Kusadasi, Rhodes, Santorini, Naples, Civitavecchia
14 Night Best of Italy (Azamara) Civitavecchia, Sorrento, Giardini-Naxos, Ravenna, Trieste, Venice, Dubrovnik, Livorno, Civitavecchia
13 Night Holy Land (Celebrity) Civitavecchia, Piraeus, Rhodes, Kusadasi, Haifa, Ashdod, Alexandria, Naples, Civitavecchia
7 Night Western Mediterranean Cruise (RCI) Civitavecchia, Genoa, Marseille, Barcelona, Palma, Cagliari, Civitavecchia
17 Day Mediterranean Explorer (Holland America) Civitavecchia, Cannes, Barcelona, Palma, Tunis, Trapani, Civitavecchia, Dubrovnik, Corfu, Katakolon, Santorini, Kusadasi, Piraeus, Messina, Civitavecchia
For comprehensive departure listings see Cruises from Civitavecchia
Spending a Day in Civitavecchia
As the Port of Rome, the City of Civitavecchia is the gateway to one of the most beautiful and fascinating destinations on the globe. Yet Civitavecchia contains one or two interesting places deserving a visit, if you have time to spare either side of your vacation. Stroll through the town, preferably with a map, and you will spot pieces of the old city walls, Benedict XIV’s fountain, medieval buildings like the old hospital, pretty squares and plenty of Italian life. Thus combining a stroll through the town with a beach visit to enjoy your day ashore. Specific sights include:
The 16th Century fortress called Forte Michelangelo stands over the harbor. It was started by Pope Julius II and finished in 1535 by Giulano Leno. The middle tower was designed by Michelangelo. Constructed on the ruins of Roman barracks of the Imperial Fleet, the fort is protected by walls over 6 metres in depth.
Cathedral of San Francesco d’Assisi
The Franciscans constructed the 18th Century Cathedral of San Francesco d’Assisi on an earlier 17th Century church. The Baroque-Neoclassical design of the building attracts many visitors. The foundation stone was laid by Pope Gregory IX in 1228, and the cathedral was finished in 1253. The cathedral features interesting frescos and stained glass windows.
La Scaglia tombs
The La Scaglia tomb complex dates from the 6th and 5th Centuries BC. View these extensive underground workings The cool atmosphere will bring a chill to your bones.
Steps from the seafront promenade, just opposite the train station, descend to a yellow sandy beach. The water is remarkably clean and popular with swimmers.
Travelling to the Port of Civitavecchia
From Fiumicino Airport
A cab ride from Fiumicino airport to the Port of Civitavecchia costs around 150 EUR one way. Cabs are available outside the arrivals terminal. Try to use authorized cabs (white vehicles with a taximeter).
Catch the train from the Leonardo da Vinci Airport to the Rome Termini train station. The journey takes about 30 minutes. Make sure you validate/punch your ticket before boarding your train.
Travelling From Rome center to the Port of Civitavecchia
The train to Civitavecchia runs from Rome’s Termini Station, located in the heart of Rome. Trains depart every half hour and cost about €11 per person. The journey takes between 70 and 80 minutes. The Port is a ten minute walk from the train station. Make a right as you exit the station, and walk along the seafront road. Frequent signs confirm you are going the right way. When you reach the port gates, by the Forte Michelangelo, look for a bus stop. Here cruiseline coaches leave to the actual cruise piers. There’s also an information booth which can be helpful.