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Begin Your Mediterranean Cruise At The Port of Civitiavecchia, Italy

Updated on September 24, 2015
Port of Civitavecchia, with Forte Michelangelo in foreground
Port of Civitavecchia, with Forte Michelangelo in foreground

Civitavecchia, The Port of Rome

Cruise Ships dock regularly at the Port of Civitavecchia on the west coast of Italy, located around 45 miles northwest of Rome. Cruise companies represented include Costa, Princess,  and Seabourn.  A frequent train service connects Civitavecchia to Rome's center, the time for the trip is just over an hour.

The Roman Emperor Trajan founded Civitavecchia Port in the 2nd century, giving it the name of Centumcellae. Even today, remains of Trajan’s Port, which lie inside the modern port , can still be seen. Towards the end of the 15th century, Civitavecchia port was subject to attack by pirates. Pope Julius II instigated the construction of a huge fort to protect the port.  The works were completed by Michelangelo in 1537. In the 19th century the Port of Civitavecchia was connected to Rome by a railroad, and the Port strengthened its position as the capital's main sea link. World War II brought destruction to nearly three-quarters of the Port, which was seen as a very important strategic target. Reconstruction enlarged the Port substantially beyond its pre-war area.

Today Civitavecchia handles over two thousand ferry and cruise ship movements per year, for nearly 2 million passengers, making it the third busiest port in the Mediterranean sea.

Windstar vessel berthed at Quay 13A, Port Civitavecchia, Italy
Windstar vessel berthed at Quay 13A, Port Civitavecchia, Italy

Cruise Ship Facilities at Civitavecchia

The Port of Civitavecchia contains more than twenty piers. Most of the port is utilised by ferry and container ships. Cruiseliners dock at quays inside the outer wall, Antemurale Colombo. The quays numbers are 11 - Traianea, and 12/12B/13A/13B. Quay number 25 (Commerciale) across the harbor is also employed. For cruise ship schedules see Cruises From Civitavecchia Italy.

Currently there are 3 cruise terminals, named the Bramante at pier 12, and temporary terminals at piers 11 and 25.

Norwegian Cruise Lines ship anchored beneath the clifftop town of Santorini, Greece.  Santorini is a popular destination for tours from Civitavecchia
Norwegian Cruise Lines ship anchored beneath the clifftop town of Santorini, Greece. Santorini is a popular destination for tours from Civitavecchia

Itineraries on Offer

Civitavecchia is ideally placed as a hub port for cruises, due to its position right at the center of the Mediterranean Sea. Choose from an East Medittanean route - Greece, the Greek Islands and Istanbul, or alternatively the Western Mediterranean - France, Spain, Corsica and Sardinia, and Mallorca/Ibiza.

A random sample of itineraries would be
10 Night Eastern Mediterranean (Celebrity) Civitavecchia, Messina, Piraeus, Mykonos, Kusadasi, Rhodes, Santorini, Naples, Civitavecchia
11 Night Eastern Mediterranean (Celebrity) Civitavecchia, Santorini, Mykonos, Istanbul, Kusadasi, Piraeus, Naples, Civitavecchia
7 Days Roundtrip Rome Western Mediterranean (Princess) Civitaveechia, Sorrento, Barcelona, Villefrance, Portofino, Livorno, Civitavecchia
13 Night Holy Land (Celebrity) Civitavecchia, Piraeus, Rhodes, Kusadasi, Haifa, Ashdod, Alexandria, Naples, Civitavecchia,
14 Night Best of Italy (Azamara) Civitavecchia, Sorrento, Giardini-Naxos, Ravenna, Trieste, Venice, Dubrovnik, Livorno, Civitavecchia

The 18th Century Cathedral of San Francesco dAssisi at Civitavecchia built by Francescan monks
The 18th Century Cathedral of San Francesco dAssisi at Civitavecchia built by Francescan monks

Things to Do in Civitavecchia

As the Port for Rome, the City of Civitavecchia is the gateway to one of the most beautiful and fascinating destinations in the world, so most cruise passengers see little of the town, during their hurried walk between the train station and port. But Civitavecchia itself has interesting sights deserving a visit, if you were to have a few hours to spend either side of your cruise. Wander through the town center (take a map), and you will spot remains of the old city walls, Benedict XIV's fountain, ancient buildings such as the quaint old hospital, attractive squares and a lot of Italian life.  So combining a stroll through the town with a relax on the beach would add up to a very pleasant vaction day. Sights in Civitavecchia worth a vist include:

Forte Michelangelo
The 16th Century fortress named Forte Michelangelo towers imposingly over the port.  It was commissioned by Pope Julius II and finished in 1535 by Giulano Leno.  The central tower was designed by Michelangelo. Built on the remains of Roman barracks of the Imperial Fleet, the fortress is made from walls over 6 metres thick.

Civitavecchia's Archaelogical Museum
This is located in an eighteenth Century building once owned by Pope Clemente XIII and constructed for the papal garrison.  It is a good place for the display of artifacts mainly of Estrucan and Roman origin.

The Cathedral of San Francesco d'Assisi
The Franciscans built the 18th Century Cathedral of San Francesco d’Assisi on an earlier 17th Century church. The Neoclassical-Baroque design of the building impressive. The foundation stone was laid by Pope Gregory IX in 1228, and the cathedral was finished in 1253. The church contains beautiful stained glass windows and frescos.

Civitavecchia Beach
Steps from the seafront promenade, just opposite the train station, descend to a yellow sandy beach. The sea is remarkably clean and good for swimming.

La Scaglia Necropolis
If you have a morbid side, you'll enjoy the visit to these tombs. They date from the 6th and 5th Centuries BC.  View these extensive underground workings The dank atmosphere will bring a chill to your bones.

Free shuttle buses operate between the port entrance and the three different cruise terminals
Free shuttle buses operate between the port entrance and the three different cruise terminals

Journeying To/From the Port of Civitavecchia

From Leonardo da Vinci Airport
A taxi ride from Leonardo da Vinci airport to the Port of Civitavecchia costs around 150 euros one way. Taxis are available outside the arrivals terminal. It's a good idea to only use registered cabs (white cars 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 the train.

From Rome center to Cruise Terminal
The train to the Port of Civitavecchia runs from Rome's Termini train Station, situated in the center of Rome. Trains leave every half hour and cost about €11 per passenger. The journey takes between 70 and 80 minutes. The Port is a ten minute walk from Civitavecchia train station. Turn right as you leave the station, and follow the road that parallels the sea front.  Frequent signs confirm you are going the correct way. When you reach the entrance to the port, adjacent to the Michelangelo fort, you will find a bus stop.  Here buses run to the actual cruise terminals/piers. There's also an information kiosk here for any questions you have.


For the official web site, with a good English version, see Port of Rome.


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    • cressinia profile image

      cressinia 4 years ago

      Hahaha ;)

    • capitula profile image

      capitula 4 years ago

      Civitavecchia is quite a mouthful, but on a recent cruise I noticed that a popular shortened version amongst the crew members was 'Chivvy' - so much easier to say ;)

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Full of useful travel information. Can I please add it to my Europe Hubtrail? If the answer is yes please add the tag hubtrail to this hubs tags/keywords and let me know