Travelling to Rome
Now you are in Civitavecchia.....
Here's how to get to Rome on your own.
Civitavecchia is 50 miles (80 km.) from the city of Rome. It is approximately a 1 to 1½ hour drive depending on traffic, 40 minutes by train to the S. Pietro station and 60 to 80 minutes by train to the Termini station - or there are bus options.
Walk Rome ‘on your own’ with a cruise excursion:
You can book a cruise excursion that takes you into Rome and picks you up at the end of the day, and allows approximately 5 – 6 hours to explore the city on your own. This is the most expensive option to get to Rome, but with a cruise line excursion there is no chance that you will miss the ship at the end of the day - and Italian transportation services, while usually fine, can be cancelled without notice.... The length of time you will have in Rome and the price may vary with the different cruise lines. The bus will pick you up at the ship and drop you back near the gangplank—and this will make the day much easier. Most ‘day-on-your-own in Rome' excursions drop you near the Vittorio Emanuele Monument, and this is a handy place to begin a walk to see the Colosseum and Roman Forum, to see the central part of the city, or to walk Trastevere. This option, while more expensive than the DIY train travel below, is the easiest and simplest way to get to Rome especially for first time tourists.
Take local bus shuttles
Since I first wrote this page there seems to be private bus shuttles from the port into Rome. This would be cheaper than the cruise one above, but I would suggest that you google and research this. There seemed to be some problems on Trip Advisor. Also, you would have to order this ahead in order to have a seat. One I looked at stops near the Vatican and another at Termini train station, which is not ideal for beginning your walk.
Take the train from Civitavecchia to Rome:
On the slower trains there are three station stops in Rome:
(See the Trastevere page for a map and ideas....) The Trastevere stop is about 2.5 km. or 1.5 miles south of the interesting Rome sights and the interesting Trastevere sights as well, but there are two options from this station. Bus 780 and the tram on the street at the front of the station will take you north to the Trastevere area that is fun to explore and will continue into central Rome. On either the tram or bus, get off at the Belli stop to see Trastevere, and the Arenula—Cairoli stop to join the Rome self-guided walking tour at Largo di Torre Argentina. (have some Euro cash.)
3. Rome Termini…….
Perhaps for a day walking tour of Rome this is the poorest option! The Termini railway station is the largest in Europe, and because the fast trains to all parts of Italy and Europe leave from here, the little train to Civitavecchia is at the very farthest end of the station—I would estimate about a 4 block hike from the station entrance through the terminal. I remember being in a hurry, and it seemed to take forever to find the platform. Also, Termini is not that close to the major sights. It is about 2 km. (1¼ miles) to get to any important tourist spots—but you can take bus 64 from the train station parking lot to Piazza Venezia and the Vatican. With double the length of the train ride and the distance to the sights—seeing Rome through Termini takes valuable time from your Rome visit.
Hop On—Hop Off Bus Tours in Rome
On the second tour the bus sat for half an hour in the hot sun at the Vatican with no air conditioning and no explanation —and as we had seen St. Peter’s, we didn’t want to get off—and on that bus most of the audio systems didn’t work.
Also, because of narrow streets and crowds near the popular tourist sites, the buses often stop one, two, or, in the case of the Spanish Steps, about five blocks away from the sites, so understand that to see many of them you really do have to hop on and hop off.
If you have difficulty walking, then by all means try the HOHO! There are several different companies, so it might be a good idea to research to find the best one for you. HOHO buses stop close to where the cruise excursion will drop you near the Vittorio Emanuele Monument, on the street entering St. Peter’s Square, or in the parking lot of the Termini station.
Take a Guided Walking Tour of Rome
There is so much to see in Rome! This can be a reason to get a guided walking tour - it takes less planning and you do get lots of information with a good guide and perhaps you don't want to do the research - but....... Part of the wonder of Rome (and all ancient cities) is the feeling you get when you turn a corner and have an awe-struck moment. I have been on guided tours of Rome, and because there is so much on the itinerary the guides walk very fast between sites and the group of participants are forced to watch their feet to keep up and not trip on one another, very little is seen between the highlights. There are no stops to enjoy the ambience. Walking on your own you can feel the city around you and feel part of it, sit on a bench or by a fountain when you want to just enjoy the moment. Have a map and do some research first so your walk is planned.
Using City Transport
The following website gives you important information about the transportation systems in Rome.
This link gives the bus numbers linking the important sites.
The Metro system goes from the Termini Station to the Colosseum and fairly close to the Vatican, but there are no stops within the older part of the city center.
Take the free shuttle bus from the cruise ship to a new drop-off area outside the port, and then take another shuttle bus (with a small charge) to the train station—or get off the shuttle at the stop near the Forte Michelangelo and walk about ½ mile to your right on the main street that goes by the Forte and follows the seashore. There are several fast trains each day directly into Rome’s Termini station (not suggested for walking exploration in Rome) with no stops on the way, and two or three slower trains each hour with a number of stops. You don’t have to buy tickets ahead and the train is inexpensive—about €5 each way for the slower trains and €8.50 each way for the direct trains.
1. San Pietro…….
If you are planning a day on your own at or near the Vatican, take a slower train and get off at the S. Pietro station—this takes approximately 40 minutes from Civitavecchia. This stop is quite close to the Vatican (.8 km./1/2 mile) —walk out of the station and turn right. Cross the street and walk around a curve, and you will see St. Peter’s dome ahead. Walk straight until the street ends and turn right. Go straight until the block before the tunnel, turn left, and this will lead you to an entrance to St. Peter’s Square.
After visiting St. Peter’s you can join the walking tour of the heart of Rome.