Cruise passengers getting off at Civitavecchia - Italy's main cruise port, located 50 miles (about an hour) away from Rome - can use the following guide to see Rome and savor its history in a single day. It takes a lifetime to see Rome, so focus on your personal interests, enjoy the experience and, if you have time, toss a coin at the Trevi Fountain to ensure your return someday.
No visit to Rome would be complete without visiting the Colosseum, the Foro Imperiali, the Roman Forum and the Pantheon. However, with limited time, your inner adventurer will likely be fulfilled with a simple walk to or private bus tour of the top spots for a brief overview of each monument. View of the Roman Forum from the Piazza del Campidoglio — Photo courtesy of Sandro Bedessi / Italian Government Tourist Board
Visiting to Michelangelo's exquisitely designed Piazza del Campidoglio, for example, affords world-class views of the Roman Forum below, if your timetable doesn't permit a full tour inside. Do instead stop to tour the Pantheon: it’s free, and there are no lines to slow you down. Marvel at the engineering feats of ancient Romans and be sure to admire Bernini’s whimsical elephant statue, which supports an Egyptian obelisk outside.
If touring the Vatican is your priority, then plan ahead to spend the entire day. Avoid long lines by booking a cruise excursion with pre-paid tickets and priority entry. Alternatively, DIY travelers should book private transport from the port directly to the Vatican. Save an hour of precious travel time, as Civitavecchia's train and buses stop inconveniently across town at Termini Train station. Entrance to Saint Peter's Basilica is free; however, separate entrance fees apply for the Vatican Museums and gardens. Dress appropriately.Detail of the Dome of Saint Peter's Basilica — Photo courtesy of Sandro Bedessi / Italian Government Tourist Board
Use any extra time to visit the nearby Castel Sant'Angelo, site of Emperor Hadrian's mausoleum, and ascend the ramparts for a spectacular view. Circle back across the Tiber River along the Ponte Sant'Angelo. The bridge is lined with religious statues envisioned by Bernini. Midway, turn to face Saint Peter's Dome - the highest in the world - and marvel at Michelangelo's ingenuity and math skills.
View of Saint Peter's Basilica and the Ponte Sant'Angelo — Photo courtesy of Sandro Bedessi / Italian Government Tourist BoardIf your idea of a relaxing day trip consists of people watching while savoring a world-class cappuccino, then grab a front row seat nearby at a traditional cafe lining the Piazza Navona. The playful and surprising features of Bernini’s Four Rivers Fountain (1651) belies the oblong piazza's history, which is full of daredevil chariot racers.
A cacophony of local artists, tourists, handsome waiters and dazzling church facades distill Rome's essence. Happily pass the hours with your travel journal in hand, or hanker down at the equally lively Campo de' Fiori. Alternatively, reserve some space on the crowded Spanish Steps and watch the fashionable world pass by. Rome's Spanish Steps are great for people watching — Photo courtesy of Abrir Anwar
Follow the nearby Via dei Condotti and peruse Rome's most exclusive boutiques. Not on a Prada budget? Consider a shopping spree at the more affordable shops lining the nearby Via del Babuino. Not a size two? Shops specializing in plus size fashions, such as Oltre, keep it fashion-forward and comfortable. Larger sizes 46 - 50 (US sizes 10 - 14) may be available, even if not on display. Be sure to ask the picture-perfect salesclerks for assistance.
Mangia (Italian for "eat"). When time to sample Rome's local cuisine, don't miss the fiori di zucca. Zucchini flowers, which are ubiquitous in Rome, are found on everything from extra thin crust pizzas to deep-fried mozzarella fritters, layered into lasagna or paired with anchovies for a salty kick.
In Rome's Jewish Ghetto, order deep-fried artichokes at Hosteria da Giggetto followed by Rome's beguilingly simple pasta dish cacio e pepe. Crisp, white wines from nearby Frascati wash everything down with ease. To finish off your meal with perhaps the world's best and unique-flavored tiramisu, head to one of Pompi's three locations. Then, start planning your return. Pompi's tiramisu is considered Rome's best — Photo courtesy of Bar Pompi