Rome’s Cruise Port: Civitavecchia

If you are leaving on a cruise from Rome, you are actually departing from the port of Civitavecchia. Located 45 miles northwest of Rome, the port of Civitavecchia is considered to be the port of Rome, even though Rome itself is over an hour away by train.

The port of Civitavecchia is one of the busiest ports for cargo, ferry, and cruise ships, with frequent sailings to and from Sardinia, Sicily, Barcelona, Malta, and Tunis. With over 2 million passengers a year, the port is the third busiest port in the Mediterranean.

History and Statistics

Over 2,000 ferry and cruise ships a year pass through the port of Civitavecchia, luring many large cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, Costa, Celebrity, Oceania, Holland America, Princess, Seabourn, MSC, Azamara, and Regent Seven Seas. With three cruise terminals and 20 piers, the port is a major player in Italy’s travel industry.

Founded by the Roman emperor Trajan in the second century, the port of Civitavecchia was built to accommodate deep water shipping. Damaged by heavy bombing during WW II, the port has continued to function and has grown to be a major European port.

Forte Michelangelo

When arriving at the Port of Civitavecchia, you can’t miss the imposing 16th-century Forte Michelangelo at its entrance. After an attack on the port, Pope Julius commissioned the fortress to be built to protect the entrance to the port. The walls alone are close to 20 feet in thickness, and the fort’s name reflects the fact that Michelangelo designed its central tower.

Transportation Options

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Civitavecchia has a train station with service to and from Rome, but the station is at least a third of a mile from the port entrance. From there, free shuttle buses are available to the individual cruise ships. Taxis also operate between the train station and the port, but there are never enough to accommodate the thousands of cruise passengers of today’s larger ships. It can be a long walk with luggage.

For these reasons, it has been my experience to arrange transportation in advance with car services such as Romashuttle or Limoinrome.com. This is especially effective with a group of six to eight people, and the cost is reasonable split among everyone. The other benefit to this is not having to drag luggage on and off trains, and you will be dropped off or picked up on the pier directly in front of the cruise terminal.

Rome has become very popular as a departure port for Mediterranean cruises, so if your travels include a Med cruise in the near future, you may very likely find yourself in the port of Civitavecchia.