Many folks contact me regarding how to get from the Cruise port, Civitavecchia, into Rome for the day and back before their ship departs. There are quite a few options for a one-day excursion to Rome. The biggest challenge is that Civitavecchia, the port city where the cruise lines dock, is a little more than an hour from downtown Rome. I’ve tried to put together a guideline for getting into Rome and getting back to Civitavecchia… but this post can also be helpful if you are journeying to Civitavecchia to start your cruise.
First, you can utilize the shore excursions or bus services offered by your cruise ship. There is security in these choices in that if the cruise bus breaks down the ship will wait for you! But usually these trips are very expensive. You could also hire a private driver – Again, very expensive. I’ve been quoted €120 – €150 for a party of four EACH way to or from the port. Add in the hourly rate charge for a private guide (a minimum of €40 per hour once you arrive in Rome) and you can see that this gets VERY expensive, VERY quickly!
The easiest way – and the least expensive way – is to ride the train into Rome and back to Civitavecchia. The train station in Civitavecchia has a couple of trains each hour heading to Rome. The local or regionale trains can take you to Rome’s central station, Roma Termini in about an hour and 20 minutes. If you ride an Intercity (IC) train – the faster trains which depart only a FEW times a day to Rome from Civitavecchia – then you can get to Roma Termini in about an hour. The train station in Civitavecchia is only about 700 meters from the Port Entrance, but not necessarily close to where you will disembark from your ship!
Some Helpful Hints for Riding Trains in Italy
A Step-by-Step Guide to Buying Train Tickets at a Train Station Kiosk
Arriving at Roma termini Station
What to See (and How) if You’re on a Cruise Stop in Rome!
How to get to Civitavecchia From Rome to Catch Your Cruise
Getting to the Train Station in Civitavecchia
Using this Google Map, you can zoom in and out and trace the route from the docks of Civitavecchia to the Train Station. The Green Monument Icon marks the Fortress in town, which is where the port entry gates are. Across the street on the map, and an easy landmark to find, is the McDonald’s restaurant. You can see the train station is a 10 minute walk along the shoreline – More details to follow! You can also convert this “satellite” view to a “roadmap” view by clicking on MAP on the top right of this Google Map!
The smaller map above shows the piers where most of the Cruise ships dock (#’s 11 – 13b in the map). You can see they are some distance from the Port Gate, which is marked by the yellow circle in the bottom photo. This yellow circle is where the shuttle buses will drop you off – and where you will re-enter the Port on the way back to your ship. The fortress is a great marker and easy to find as you walk along the shore line. The Port Gate is directly across from the McDonald’s.
When leaving from your ship at the Port of Civitavecchia you can take a shuttle from your boat – as pictured above – to the port gates. At the port gates is the huge stone fortress, Forte Michelangelo. In the 1500′s Michelangelo designed the upper, central tower of the fortress. From the fort, you head out through the port gates and walk (or take a local shuttle as seen below) to the train station which is about 1/3 mile from the “east” gate of the port.
There are taxis available but when the larger ships come in, it’s a supply and demand issue, and demand far exceeds the number of taxis in Civitavecchia. You’re better off hiking or taking a shuttle to the train station! The station is an easy 10-12 minute walk from the port entrance. To find the train station, simply exit the port entrance and walk along the sidewalk that runs parallel to the shore – see the map above! If they are not too crowded, you can use one of the FREE shuttles that run to and from the train station.
Walking to the Train Station?
It’s perhaps a 1/3 mile walk to the train station from the Civitavecchia Port of Entry Gate. It’s an easy walk on a wide, flat, tile-sidewalk along the coast. If you plan on walking to the train station – and most folks do on their one-day cruise stop visit – then these photos should help you.
The picture above is the view looking back at the entrance for the Port of Civitavecchia. To get this view, you would be coming from the train station TOWARDS the port entrance. The red circled area is the entrance gate for vehicles entering the port. The McDonald’s would be to the right of the red circle if we widened this shot. The arrow on the left side points at the sidewalk you’ll be walking on as you head for the train station.
As you walk out of the Port of Civitavecchia entrance, if you look to your left, across the street from the McDonald’s, you see this set of signs. The red circle is around a sign for the Civitavecchia Train Station… so follow the sign!
This is the view you’ll see as you exit out the Port of Civitavecchia entrance… You’ll be on the sidewalk on the right side of this picture. Follow the yellow arrow and head straight down the sidewalk!
As you walk down the sidewalk towards the train station this is the view you will see on your right… so keep the water on your right and you are headed the right way!
In this picture, the road that the train station is on, Villa della Republica, is located where the yellow circle is, up and beyond the wall on the left side of the road. In the distance you can see a red building on the right side of the road. This building is almost directly across the street from the train station.
You’re there!!! On the left side of this picture the small yellow circle is around a directional sign pointing to the train station. The larger red circle IS THE TRAIN STATION. And the blue arrow shows you the stairs to climb. So cross the street, climb the stairs, turn right and you are 50 meters from the Civitavecchia train station entrance. Congrats!
A few Civitavecchia Train Station pictures….
The Civitavecchia train station sits “uphill” from the beach. The railway station is situated on Viale della Repubblica, a short distance to the southeast of both the town centre and the main entrance to the port. Civitavecchia’s passenger building is a mostly single-story structure, with a double-story entrance area. It houses the ticket offices and a small waiting room. The station has four through tracks, and two terminating tracks. The platforms to each set of tracks are linked by an underpass.
At the Train Station in Civitavecchia
As you walk towards the train station, it may be to your advantage to stop at a Tabacchi shop or similar stores advertising train tickets for sale. If you do this, you can avoid the lines – which could be massive – at the train station counters and kiosks.
If you don’t buy tickets as you walk, once you are at the Stazione ff.s. in Civitavecchia you can buy the Biglietto Integrato Regionale Giornaliero (B.I.R.G.). This ticket allows unlimited travel on all city and regional transport, including buses, trains, trams, and in Rome, the metro. It’s priced according to zones and if you buy it in Civitavecchia it will cost you €12 (as of May 25, 2012). The Tabacchi shops also sell the B.I.R.G. tickets. Note, the B.I.R.G. ticket IS NOT valid to travel to/from the FCO Airport.
Write your name on the back of the ticket and MAKE SURE YOU VALIDATE the ticket in the yellow “validation” boxes in the terminal and along the tracks BEFORE you get on the train!
Heading to Rome
Coming into Rome from Civitavecchia there are many stations you can arrive at, depending on which train you ride. You can pre-purchase a Rome Map and mark out your arrival station and “sites” you want to see! I suggest you also read What to See (and How) if You’re on a Cruise Stop in Rome!. It may give you some assistance on the location and distance between sights. Your biggest challenge will be coordinating your route… with the time you have available.
Let’s look at some “possible” train routes…
Above you see a picture of multiple pages pulled from the Trenitalia website. This is a typical day – midweek – pulled from March 2011. On holidays and Sundays there will FAR fewer routes so you need to verify your train options before heading out on your cruise.
The departures in my chart start at 06:30 AM and run until 09:17. Again, before you make plans, do check with the Trenitalia site to get the most current times and train numbers. This is just an example and specific to this date. For more info on how to read the Trenitalia website, see our post on Buying Tickets in Advance. It can show you how to see the specifics for each route, like where your train will stop as it heads to Roma Termini.
As you look at the example above, note that I did not choose a specific train station in my search; I just entered Roma. On the top right you can tell this because my Arrival station is defined as Roma (Tutte Le Stazioni) – or, all stations in Rome. As you look at the chart, you can see that almost all the trains are “R” or regionale trains. There are no assigned seats on these trains so technically they never sell out (but they can get crowded!).
Not until the 09:17 train do you see an IC train. This intercity train does have assigned seating. You CAN buy ticketless tickets for this train and your B.I.R.G. ticket would be NO GOOD on this train – Again, the B.I.R.G. ticket is only the Regionale trains in 2nd class.
Looking at the Arrival column you can see numerous stations listed. That’s because the regionale trains stop at EVERY station (or so it seems). On the bottom, the 09:17 train, the IC, only stops at Roma Termini and Roma Ostiense. Thus, note the trip times: the regionale trains take from 01:13 hours to 1.5 hours. The IC train only takes 57 minutes. Less stops = less time on the route.
As we said, the Regionale trains stop often… so you will have many options as to WHERE you can get off the train! To give you an idea of when you’re train might stop and where, I drilled down and pulled these results from the chart above – Note, these are not ALL the stops, just the stops in Rome:
•7:33 AM – Train # 3259 – Regional Train
Civitavecchia – Roma S. Pietro (8:25), Roma Trastevere (8:31), Roma Ostiense (8:37), Roma Tuscolana (8:42), Roma Termini (8:50)
•7:59 AM – Train # 3253 – Regional Train
Civitavecchia – Roma S. Pietro (8:53), Roma Trastevere (8:59), Roma Ostiense (9:07), Roma Tuscolana (9:12), Roma Termini (9:20)
•8:41 AM – Train #2335 – Regional Train
Civitavecchia – Roma S. Pietro (9:24), Roma Trastevere (9:30), Roma Ostiense (9:37), Roma Termini (9:50)
•8:59 AM – Train # 12233 – Regional Train
Civitavecchia – Roma S. Pietro (9:54), Roma Trastevere (10:00), Roma Ostiense (10:07), Roma Tuscolana (10:12), Roma Termini (10:20)
•9:17 AM – Train # 501 – Intercity Train
Civitavecchia – Roma Ostiense (10:00), Roma Termini (10:14)
In this 2.5 hour span, there is only one Intercity train. This is fairly typical of the daily schedule of trains from Civitavecchia to Rome and also returning from Rome. Intercity trains (IC) are very infrequent. A few of the regionale trains do have 1st Class options (but not many) and the tickets on the regionale trains range from 4,10€ to 4,50€ for 2nd class, one-way tickets to Rome (dependent on which station you are headed to) and – 7,00€ for a 1st class regionale ticket to Rome. On the IC trains, 1st class is 12,50€ and 2nd class runs 9,50€. AGAIN, REMEMBER TO VALIDATE YOUR TICKET BEFORE GETTING ON A REGIONALE TRAIN.
The Route to Rome
There are many stations that work best for tourists entering and leaving Rome on the Civitavecchia run. On the above map are ALL the stations you would encounter on a Regionale train from Civitavecchia. Use the “+” or “-” signs on the top left of the map to zoom in and out. The train stops are numbered – those in red are the Regionale train stops. The yellow markers (#10 and #12) are the two stops for the IC trains. Note – the regionale trains ALSO stop at these yellow marked stops. Some of the Regionale trains do not stop at every stop outside the city of Rome.
The first inter-Rome train station you will come upon is St. Peter’s (called “Roma San Pietro”); #8 on the map. If you get off at San Pietro, you can walk over to St. Peter’s Square, tour the Basilica, perhaps the Museum, and then make your way into town on the metro (Ottaviano or Cipro Stations) or ride a bus… (Typical Routes include the 23, 62, 64, 81, 271, and the 492) See the ATAC site for more information http://www.atac.roma.it/.
Just outside the station you can jump on the 64 bus for a ride towards town… be careful, this bus is VERY popular for pickpockets! If you plan on getting off the train at the San Pietro Station, the previous stop will be Aurelia – so keep your eyes open for this stop… and then the next one will be yours! You’ll see the Dome of St. Peter’s as you approach the San Pietro Station. Once you’re at the station, exit the train, head out through the Station to the street… and then head to your 11 o’clock (Northwest). You’ll see the dome and follow the crowds. It’s about a 10-12 minute walk to the Square from the Train Station. Note, you will have to have proper dress (knees and shoulders covered) to get into the Basilica.
If you stay on the train, the next station you might want to get off will be the Roma Trastevere station; #9 on the map. From here you can ride multiple buses into town, including the #3 bus. Or you can walk out in front of the station and catch the #8 tram to Largo Argentina. This is close to the Pantheon, Campo Fiori, Piazza Navona, and Piazza Venezia. It’s also a MAJOR bus hub! Because you are using a B.I.R.G. ticket, the trams and buses are FREE for you!
The third possibility would be the Ostiense station (called “Roma Ostiense“); the yellow #10 on the map. This is a HUGE train station – much, much bigger than the previous two. At Roma Ostiense you can catch multiple buses but most folks opt for the metro. Look for the signage that will direct you to the Metro Line B. It’s located at the metro station adjacent to the Roma Ostiense train station. The metro station here is called Piramide.
From Piramide, most incoming cruisers would jump on the trains heading towards REBIBBIA. Go only two stops and you come out directly across the street from the Colosseo! Or, if want to go into the Colosseo and avoid the huge lines for tickets, go only ONE stop, get off at the Circo Massimo station and walk towards the Colosseo. You will pass (on your left) the entrance to Palatine Hill (We’re on Via di San Gregorio) . Buy your Colosseo tickets here and then walk to the Colosseo entrance. (For more info on skipping the crowds at the Colosseo, see THIS POST!)
Or you can ride the train until it stops – and you will be at Roma Termini) station; the yellow #12 on the map. The Civitavecchia Regionale trains usually arrive on the satellite area of the station (pictured below) – so be prepared for a 10-12 minute walk into the main section of the Termini Train Station. Or you can slip downstairs and walk/ride the moving sidewalks.
A helpful Metro and Train Map
This map (from wikipedia) shows the route on the FR5 regional train from Civitavecchia. You can see the Aurelia station as you come into town, then each of the stops mentioned above as the train winds through Rome: San Pietro, Trastevere, Ostiense, and ultimately, Termini. This map also shows the metro connections you would probably use on your one day in Rome.
Getting back to the Ship – Rome to Civitavecchia
Undoubtedly, one of your major concerns has to be getting back to the ship… so do know your options before getting off the boat; probably best to do some research before you leave home. For train travelers, the Trenitalia website will probably be your greatest source of information. First, know from your ship what your departure time is and also what is the required time you must board the ship – These are often NOT the same! Second, have a list of the train options – departure and arrival times from different stations in Rome!
Working backwards, let’s say that your ship has a departure time of 19:00. Usually that means you have to be on board the boat no later than 18:30. It usually takes about 20-25 minutes to get from the Civitavecchia train station out to your ship… so in this example, you’d have to be AT the Civitavecchia train station by 18:00 – and that might be cutting it close as Italian trains sometimes run a little late…
Thus, for many folks, the best trains for your return trip start running about 16:30 PM. You have to also realize that everyone else has done this math and so the late afternoon trains are filled with Cruisers heading back to their ships. The regionale trains will stop at every stop picking up more and more cruisers. The reverse route on a Regionale train – looking at our numbered map – would start at #12, Roma Termini, then Roma Tuscolana, Roma Ostiense, Roma Trastevere, Roma San Pietro, and so on. If you plan to jump on at Roma San Pietro know that the train will be packed and you may be standing for the next 45 minutes. If sitting down is important to you, you’d better plan on getting on at Roma Termini or Roma Ostiense. After that it gets a little crowded during peak-cruiser return time!
You must also realize that often Civitavecchia IS NOT the last stop for your train. It will quickly stop, and then head out. This is usually a bigger issue if you’re headed for your ship to JOIN your cruise… as you’ll probably have a few pieces of luggage. Do look the Trenitalia website so you know the last stop BEFORE Civitavecchia. When you depart that station, gather your stuff and head for the door. When the train pulls into Civitavecchia, you need to be standing at the door with your luggage. With the exception of the late-afternoon bulging trains, many of other trains will stop for ONLY 2 minutes. You have to be prepared to get off! They will not wait for you.
Some “Suggested” Return Times and Routes
Below, you’ll find examples of suggested routes from Rome. Again, the Trenitalia site will have the best options for your dates. You can usually look about 60-90 days in advance on Trenitalia – the exceptions being when they are realigning routes twice a year (December and June). Once again, check your date for specific and CURRENT schedules – these are just examples of a date I selected.
From Roma Termini
From Roma Ostiense
From Roma Trastevere
From Roma San Pietro
As you can see from these schedules, these are all Regionale trains. On some days there is an IC train that leaves from Roma Termini, stops ONLY at Roma Ositense, and continues on to Civitavecchia. On the Rome-Civitavecchia route during the mid-day the Regionale trains leave about every 30 minutes. Then they add trains during the rush hours – to better transport the daily commuters leaving Rome. For our example, the runs marked with the red circles would probably be TOO LATE to make the last boarding at 18:30.
If you’re coming by train, it’s a pretty good idea to have a “plan” on what you want to see. Some folks hire a guide… Frankly, that may be the best way to see the most of the city in the 7-8 hours you’ll be in Rome. Other folks ride to Termini and then purchase a ticket on the double-decker, HOP ON – HOP OFF Buses. There are many direct vendors. The oldest and most established is the 110, operated by ATAC, the folks who operate the bus and metro. Tickets range in price from €15 -20, depending on which company and where you buy your tickets. Other folks just come with a map and set out by foot. Rome is an easy city to walk…. And when in doubt, all metro lines run BACK to the Roma Termini station!
Whatever way you decide to explore Rome, the “train option” is undoubtedly the easiest and most economical method to reach Rome from Civitavecchia. If you have experience riding trains in Europe, this is a snap! If not, this is a good route to learn on, as it’s easy and eventually all trains STOP at Roma Termini, so you have to get off! And getting back is easy too. Before you leave on your cruise, I suggest you go to the Trenitalia site, check out in the day of your excursion, and see what time the trains travel to and from Civitavecchia. Print out these pages and bring these with you and you’ll have a better idea of your travel options!
Or, if you like, you can call me at 1-404-474-3851 and I can arrange your cruise and shore excursions. As an independent travel advisor with Brownell Travel – a Virtuoso agency – I can get you upgrades, amenities, free breakfast, and other add-on’s at Virtuoso hotels and great rates on cruises. We are preferred partners with Azamara Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard, Holland America, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, and Silversea.
Having lived in Rome, I’m familiar with the city, Civitavecchia, and the transfer options. I also have many contacts through our local support groups. Contact Me for more information.
You’ll have a great time on your cruise… and on your shore excursion into the Eternal City – Good Luck!
Videos That May Help You
Here are a few videos that perhaps can give you more insight into your travel to and from Civitavecchia – from multiple sources. They are a little dated but you can get a good idea of the process – Good Luck!
From Presto Tours
If you are interested in more travel support, contact me – Ron in Rome – at:
Ron Phillips Travel
An Independent Advisor for Brownell Travel – A Virtuoso® Agency
Phone: (404) 474-3851
FAX: (678) 528-2672
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