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Pre or Post Cruise: Don't Miss these Civitavecchia Attractions



Don't think you drew the short straw if you end up with an opportunity to spend the day in Civitavecchia.  The departure and arrival city for most cruises leaving from Rome, Civitavecchia is a bustling port city. While the center of Rome is easily accessible from here, if you're on limited time or haven't explored the local area before, there is enough to keep you occupied for the day or longer. Attractions here in Civitavecchia start on arrival into the port where you can't miss the Fort Michelangelo built by Renaissance artist Bramante to protect the city and then the nearby Viale Garibaldi along the seafront, dotted with shops, bars and restaurants, is great for a leisurely walk. The historical center is quite compact and can be explored by foot. It features some historically important churches like the Cathedral of Saint Francis of Assisi and an archealogical museum.  Just north of the city lie the ancient ruins, the Taurine (or Trajan) Baths, which now host the nearby La Ficoncella Thermal Springs where you can bathe like the Romans once did, enjoying the healing powers of the hot springs. The nearby beaches of Il Pirgo and Sant'Agostino and are only a few miles away and are easily reached by taxi or local bus. There really is something for everyone in this pretty seaside town.  


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Once you leave the port area and cross one of the main streets, Corso Marconi you will reach the medieval center of Civitavecchia. The pretty cobblestoned Piazza Leandra is the centrepiece of this old town area and features an attractive fountain and the Church of the Stella. From here it's a short climb to the entrance of old Civitavecchia which is reached by walking through the Archetto (an ancient archway).

Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: Piazza Leandra is the main feature of the medieval part of town and is a great starting point for exploring the historical center of Civitavecchia.

Maria's expert tip: Don't forget to look up! The shutters of some of the buildings are pretty and colourful and on a nice day you might see the quintessential Italian scene of laundry being hung out to dry.

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Just a short walk from the historical center and Port area lies the "Pirgo". This beach area features an ornate pier and a beach club with umbrellas and sunbeds. The backdrop of the pretty beach area are the colored buildings of Civitavecchia and the promenade that leads to it features restaurants and bars.Especially during the summer months, the area can get quite busy but it's also a lovely spot in the off season.

Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: Surpisingly close to the Port, Civitavecchia's beach Il Pirgo, is pretty and pristine and makes for a great summer escape from Rome.

Maria's expert tip: Have a fresh seafood lunch at one of the restaurants that stretch along the promenade behind the Pirgo.

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Perfect for families to kickstart a cruise vacation, Aquafelix is a massive waterpark with wave and traditional pools, navigable man-made rivers, four restaurants, one mile of waterslides and plenty of parking. There's showers and changing rooms. Just off the Nord Civitavecchia exit on the A12 freeway just outside of Civitavecchia. Family friendly, with full disabled access, beat the heat and enjoy over one mile of water slides and a four full restaurants featuring local Italian cuisine. Voted on of Italy's Top 10 Waterparks. Open June - August.

Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: The AquaFelix Waterpark is a great day of fun for all ages.

Maria's expert tip: Check operating dates before venturing out. Open from June to August but exact dates may change.

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This site existed as a small church from 1610 (that had been built under the direction of Pope Paul V) but 1769 was when the cathedral came to be. Built by the Franciscans in Baroque-Neoclassical style, it remains the biggest and most beautiful church in the area. The statues of Justice and Hope stand proud here, under which, in a rich frame of golden stucco, is the fresco painting by Antonio Nessi representing Saint Francis experiencing the holy Stigmata.

Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: Saint Francis of Assisi Cathedral is a great example of remaining local Baroque-Neoclassical architecture.

Maria's expert tip: Listen out for the church bells to ring on the hour. They are of great historical value as they were built using metal from the two cannons donated by the Pope.

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Since 1995, pilgrims from around the world have flocked to St Agostino in Pantano, a suburb of Civitavecchia seeking a miracle or to simply view the famed Weeping Madonna. While speculation remains to this day, this white plaster statue which was originally bought from a souvenir stall at the shrine of Our Lady at Medjugorje in Bosnia, was reported in 1995 to have wept tears of blood. It's one of the most important religious sites of the area.

Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: While much controversy surrounds the site, pilgrims from around the world come to visit the Shrine to the Weeping Madonna.

Maria's expert tip: Be prepared for a 'small' miracle - La Madonina (little Madonna in Italian) is named as such because of her size - no talker than 16 inches tall.

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What is now the main museum of the Civitavecchia area was once the headquarters or the papal garrison in the 18th century building that belonged to Pope Clement XIII. You can view many archeological findings from Centumcellae, (the ancient name of Civitavecchia). Some of the highlights include a beautiful statue of the Greek God of Apollo, a replica of the statue of goddess Athena and a philosophical portrait of Socrates.

Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: The Archeological Museumof Civitavecchia boasts unique relics from the ancient towns Centumcellae (Civitavecchia and surrounds).

Maria's expert tip: Visit all three floors and don't miss one the finest pieces, the statue of the Greek God of the Sun Apollo.

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The pedestrianized seafront promenade of Civitavecchia is a bustling port and city hotspot. Featuring shops and bars, it's a short walk from where cruise ships dock or the train station. A great place for a stroll along the sea and dotted with restaurants and bars with a great seaview, makes for a nice leisurely afternoon activity. The large and famous Unconditional Surrender statue of the sailor kissing a nurse to mark the end of the second world war, towers over the promenade and is a nice touch.

Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: Civitavecchia's Lungomare is where port and historical center meet - in essence, it's the beating heart of Civitavecchia.

Maria's expert tip: Grab a gelato at one of the seafront bars and walk the pretty promenade for a cool sea breeze and sea view!

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Lying about 4km north of Civitacechia is a thermal spring facility that will have you relaxing and bathing like the Etruscans of old. The name is derived from the Italian word for fig, fico because of a wild fig tree that lies on the hill. Containing sulphur and other natural minerals, the waters are renowned for their healing properties. There are five large pools and showers, mud bathing plus a a small coffee shop.

Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: La Ficoncella provides a unique opportunity to relax and bathe in the shadow of ancient Etruscan ruins.

Maria's expert tip: Towels, bathrobes and slippers are not available, so remember to bring your own!

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Not far from the Ficoncella Thermal Springs are the Taurine Baths also know as the Trajan Baths. Dating back to Etruscans and originally known as the Aquae Taurae, they remain a well preserved archeological roman site. The site features remains of baths, pools, dressing rooms, treatment and massage rooms and meeting rooms. Be sure to look out for the best preserved feature of the entire site - a villa built by Trajan himself.

Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: The Taurine Baths are an extremely well preserved archaeological site just outside the center of Civitavecchia.

Maria's expert tip: If you are on limited time, consider spending the day at these impressive ruins instead of making the trip into Rome.

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In order to defend the Port of Rome, Pope Julius II commissioned Renaissance architect Bramante to build the massive Forte Michelangelo. Giuliano Leno eventually completed the job in 1535 and Michelangelo also worked on the project, designing the middle tower. It was built over the ruins of ancient Roman barracks and this impressive example of 16th century military architecture remains the most imposing monument in Civitavecchia, towering over the port.

Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: Given the historic importance of the port of Rome, the Forte Michelangelo is the regions most impressive icons of military architecture of the 16th century.

Maria's expert tip: If you're arriving into or departing from the port, have your camera ready. Forte Michelangelo is so big, that the best vantage point for a picture is from a distance.

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Meet Maria Pasquale

Born to Italian parents, Maria always knew Rome was her destiny, although she was raised in Melbourne.

An award winning food and travel writer, in addition to 10Best USA Today she also...  More About Maria

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