You have two options for getting from Civitavecchia to Rome (or vice-versa): train or taxi.
A lot of Mediterranean cruises stop near Rome, in the modern port city of Civitavecchia Italy. This port is about 80 km (50 miles) outside of Rome. It takes about 1-1.5 hrs to get between Rome and Civitavecchia, depending on mode of transportation. Whether you are starting or ending your Mediterranean cruise in the Rome port of Civitavecchia, or you are stopping in Rome for the day on your cruise, here are your options for travelling between the two cities.
Civitavecchia to Rome - If your cruise ends in Rome port
If your cruise ends in Rome, and you need to get from the port of Civitavecchia to Rome, you can take the train, or hire a private car service.
Civitavecchia to Rome by train
Thanks to http://www.bueker.net/trainspotting/ for this map. It's not actually that easy to find maps of the train routes! Even Trenitalia does not have maps of their train routes.
If you take the train from Civitavecchia to Rome, note that you first have to get from where your ship docks to the end of the port. Depending on where you disembark, this could be a good 10-15 minute walk. There is also a free shuttle that will take you from the dock to the entry of the port, so use the shuttle to avoid this part of the walk, especially if you are hauling luggage.
From the port, the Civitavecchia train station is about 4 blocks away, or about a 5-10 minutes' walk.
Using the Trenitalia website to see the train schedules from Civitavecchia to Rome
The trains leave pretty regularly, and cost from 5-18 Euros one way, depending on the speed of the train. There are two types of train you can take from Civitavecchia to Rome: a commuter/regional train, or a fast train (Frecciabianca, which is a Eurostar train.)
To see the train schedules, go to the Trenitalia website. You may click on the flag in the top right corner of the page to go to the English version.
On the main page, in the From (Da) field, start typing "Civitavecchia." It will guess this word about halfway through your typing. In the To (A) field, start typing "Roma." Leave it at that to show all Rome stations.
Select the date of travel, and then set an earlier time than you need, just to see all the options. Click the Search button. The next page will show you a list of all the trains you can take, and their schedules.
Trenitalia shows times but does not show costs for regional trains more than 7 days in advance. If you are searching for schedules with more than 7 days' notice, you will only see the rates for the Frecciabianca or Intercity trains on the results page. In any case, you don't need to buy regional tickets online or in advance, and can get them in the Civitavecchia train station. Costs for regional trains are usually under 10€ one way.
Which train to take to get from Civitavecchia to Rome?
As you can see from the above screenshot, the trains run quite frequently (although the Frecciabianca or fast trains are not that frequent and don't depart Civitavecchia before 11am.) Here is what the above train types are and what they mean to you:
Intercity - this is the fastest of the commuter trains, but note that it drops you at the Roma Ostiense train station. This means you will need to get from there to wherever else you want to go. I.e. you can take the metro from there to Termini station or to the Colosseum.
Regionale - meaning, regional train, making lots of small stops and moving slowly
Regionale Veloce - meaning fast regional train, making fewer small stops than the regular regionale
Frecciabianca - this is the Eurostar, or fast train.
The reason the rates are "starting from" is because you can buy second or first class tickets on some of the trains (except the regional ones.) A first class ticket on the regionalveloce and intercity trains will buy you a little more leg room and perhaps a slightly less crowded car (although don't count on this especially during high cruising seasons.)
If you click the little italic "i" for more information about a given train, you will see all the stops it makes. So the reason the Intercity train is so quick, is a) it hardly makes any stops (literally goes between two cities and that's it) and b) it stops at Ostiense station which is before Termini station. Likewise, the reason the Frecciabianca train is so fast is a) it's a Eurostar (a fast train) and b) it goes non-stop between Civitavecchia and Rome Termini station.
Civitavecchia to Rome - purchasing your train ticket
There is no need to purchase your train ticket in advance. For the regional trains, you do not get a seat assignment in any case, and they sell as many tickets as there are people who want them.
Even for the Frecciabianca trains, which are reservation only, you will not have any problem getting this ticket at the Civitavecchia train station.
You can buy your ticket at the train station once you are in Civitavecchia. You can go to a ticket purchase window that has a human, or from a self-service ticket kiosk, which is very easy to use and has menus in English. You can also buy regional tickets (but not Frecciabianca tickets) from the news stand.
From Civitavecchia to Rome on the regional trains, and which stop to get off
With the regionale and regionale veloce trains, you can stop at San Pietro (the Vatican), Ostiense and Trastevere, as well as of course, the main station, Termini.
San Pietro (Saint Peters, or the Vatican) - The obvious reason for stopping at San Pietro is if you are on a day trip and want to start your visit here, or, if you are staying in a hotel in this area.
Ostiense - you would get off here if you are staying in this area, or, if you are on a day trip into Rome and want to go first to the Colosseum. From Ostiense, you get on the blue Metro line B to the Colosseo metro stop. Also, from Ostiense, you can go to Fiumicino airport, on another regional train.
Trastevere - Trastevere is a charming, bohemian and historic neighbourhood in Rome, on the other side of the Tiber river. Get off at Trastevere if you are staying here, or if you want to start your Rome visit here on a short day trip (although with limited time in Rome, I'd recommend a slightly different itinerary unless you've been to Rome before.) From Trastevere, you can also go to Fiumicino airport, on another regional train.
Termini - this is the main train station in Rome. From here, you can get the Leonardo Express train to Fiumicino airport (faster than the regional trains you could catch at either Ostiense or Trastevere.) You can also get on a Terravision or Sit bus to either Ciampino or Fiumicino airport. And of course, you can take the metro, a taxi or a bus from here to wherever you need to go in Rome.
If you get a Frecciabianca train, you will get assigned a car and seat number. So you don't need to validate your ticket. For all the other types of tickets, you must validate your ticket in the little yellow or green box you will see in the train station, at the head of each track. If you don't validate these tickets, you risk a hefty fine.
Civitavecchia to Rome by taxi
You will find a very few taxis at the port. However, don't count on any of these to take you to the train station. And, if you want one of them to take you from Civitavecchia to Rome, you may find yourself out of luck. The huge number of passengers disembarking at once overwhelms the supply.
Your best bet to get from Civitavecchia to Rome by taxi is to book in advance with a private car service. Rates usually start at about 130 Euros for up to 3 people with luggage, and go up from there, depending on the number of people and luggage (the larger the vehicle, and the more people and luggage they have to take, the more it will cost.)
Rome to Civitavecchia - If your cruise leaves from Rome port
As above, you can take either a train or a car to Civitavecchia from Rome.
From Rome city center to Civitavecchia by train
If you are getting the train from Rome to Civitavecchia, you may reverse the information above. The main additional things to know are:
You will likely leave Rome from Termini station. Consider that if you take a regionale or regionale veloce train, you will also spend some time on the train just going around to the other Rome stations before the train really gets moving towards the port. This can be pretty slow so just be prepared and relax.
Once you get off the train at Civitavecchia, and walk to the port, you will want to take the free shuttle to your dock. This shuttle leaves from the Forte Michelango (it looks like a big fortress.)
Unlike the fixed city taxi fares to the Rome airports, there is not a fixed city taxi fare from Rome to Civitavecchia. You will want to hire a private car service for this. Costs start at 130 Euros for up to 3 people, and go higher from there depending on how many people and how much luggage you have (and therefore the car size needed.)
You should make sure to book with a car service that has permits to drive right onto the dock, i.e. under your ship, providing you with real "door-to-door" service. Not all limo companies have this permit so make sure to ask in advance.
Getting between Fiumicino airport in Rome and Civitavecchia
Getting between Civitavecchia and Fiumicino airport by train
If you are flying into or out of Rome's Fiumicino airport, and want to use the train to get to Civitavecchia, you have two options:
Use the Leonardo Express train between Fiumicino and Rome's Termini train station. See above for getting to and from Civitavecchia and Termini. I would recommend this since the Leonardo Express is direct and does not stop between Rome and Fiumicino airport. The cost of the Leonardo Express train between Termini and Fiumicino is 14€ one way. You don't need to buy these tickets in advance, just get them right by where the train leaves before you are ready to leave.
Use one of the regional trains to/from Fiumicino and either Ostiense or Trastevere stations. See above for getting to and from Civitavecchia and these smaller Rome train stations. These regional trains cost around 8-10 Euros one way but have lots of stops to make in between Fiumicino and Rome.
Getting between Civitavecchia and Fiumicino airport by car service
If you want a private car service to take you from the airport right to the port, or to pick you up from the port and drive you to the airport, you can and you should book this in advance. Do not plan on "catching a taxi" at the airport or at the port. There are not set rates and you might be charged an exorbitant amount.
The private car service will of course be faster than taking the train, in part because both Civitavecchia and Fiumicino airport are on the coast, and only about 50 minutes' drive apart.
When booking a car service in advance, double check that they have a permit to take you drive right up to the ship for pickup or drop off (not all of them do.)
Do you need a hotel? Civitavecchia has some options although it’s nicer to spend the night in Rome if you can. If you prefer to stay in a hotel in Civitavecchia, try this web site: Venere.com
What to do if your cruise stops for the day in Rome
Probably the most popular thing to do when people have a one-day stop in Rome is to hire a private car and driver. The driver picks you up from the ship, takes you from Civitavecchia to Rome, gives you a driving tour of the city, and then drives you back to the ship.
This may be the most cost-effective in terms of seeing the most you can in a short amount of time. The drivers do this all the time, and they know how to give you a great "shore excursion" so you can see the highlights of Rome without having to plan an itinerary ahead of time.
But, you have other options as well:
Go from Civitavecchia to Rome by train and visit Rome on your own (below)
Going from Civitavecchia to Rome for a day trip on your own
Rome Day Trip on Your Own - a 4-hour walking tour of Rome
It is absolutely doable to go on your own from Civitavecchia to Rome, and give yourself a wonderful walking tour of Rome.
Take one of the regionale or regionale veloce trains from Civitavecchia to Rome, and get off the train at one of the first Rome stops, San Pietro.
The San Pietro train station, only 15 minutes' walk from Saint Peter's Square
From here, it will take you about 15 minutes to walk to Saint Peter's Square.
Signs show the way to St Peters
Approaching St Peters from the station
For a step-by-step walking itinerary, use the map below as a guide. It shows how to see the top "must-see" attractions in Rome, in a 4-hour walk, starting at the San Pietro train station, and finishing at the Colosseum.
The first stop is Saint Peter's Square. You may decide to go inside Saint Peter's Basilica, which is free, but there is always a line for security. The wait time just to get through security can be at least half an hour but more likely an hour.
Once you are inside the basilica, plan on at least half an hour to walk around.
Leaving the Trevi Fountain behind you, walk towards Piazza Venezia, and the big white wedding cake (Complesso Vittoriano, or Altare della Patria). Walk around this giant building to the right, and take the ramp up to the Campidoglio (Capitoline Hill.)
From the back, on the right hand side, you will have a spectacular panoramic view of the Roman Forum, with a hint of the Coliseum in the background.
From the Campidoglio, Walk down the winding trett on the left side, and you will end up on the via dei Fori Imperiali. From there you can walk to the Colosseum.
Find out more about the Coliseum, including how to visit it without waiting in long lines.
From the Colosseum, you can take the Metro Blue line B to Termini train station, and get your train back to the dock to re-board your ship.
Civitavecchia to Rome on your own - using the hop-on/hop-off bus
When you dock at Civitavecchia, you may see places to purchase tickets for the hop-on/hop-off bus. This can be a good way to get around Rome and get an overview. If you have decided to use the hop-on/hop-off bus to see Rome, you can get this bus in front of Saint Peters Square, on via della Conciliazione.
No matter which hop-on/hop-off bus you take (there are many different companies), Saint Peters is always one of the stops.
Bus stop for the hop-on/hop-off buses on via della Conciliazione in front of the Vatican
You can either stay on the bus and let it loop you completely around (1.5 -2 hrs), or take it part way, get off, visit some sites, and hop back on again.
The Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain are not visible from the bus, so you will need to get off to see them.
Also you may wish to stop for lunch somewhere.
Get off the hop-on/hop-off bus at either Termini station or back at Saint Peters again, to catch the train back to the ship.
If you've been to Rome before, or, if you want to skip the Rome crowds, or, if you are really into the ancient stuff, consider spending your shore time visiting the ancient port of Ostia Antica.
Although Ostia Antica is also on the coast, you still have to take the train from Civitavecchia to Rome (partway) and then change to take another train to Ostia Antica.
Take the regionale or regionale veloce train from Civitavecchia to Rome, and get off at Ostiense station. This is the same as the local Piramide Metro stop and is also where the urban trains run from Rome to Ostia Antica. You will need a separate Rome metro ticket to get to Ostia Antica (1.50€).
These trains run frequently and take about 30 minutes to get to the ruins. Get off at Ostia Antica (Scavi). The ruins are right there by the train stop.
Do the reverse to get back to Ostiense station to catch the train back to the port, making sure to give yourself plenty of time to arrive back at your ship.
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