"The "Port of Rome"" Civitavecchia by mccalpin

Civitavecchia Travel Guide: 63 reviews and 165 photos

Getting from Civitavecchia to the Vatican

People on cruises often ask how to get from the the port at Civitavecchia down to the Vatican. Here I am posting a reply that I made, so that I can just refer to this rather than typing it over and over again ;-) as this question is asked a lot...

Step by step, huh? ;-) OKKKKKKKKKKKK.....(I assume that you are just going down to the Vatican for the day).

1. Sort your belongings so that everything fits in your pockets or money belt or in one bag that sits on your shoulder. I.e., keep your hands free.

2. Arrive at port on big ship.

3. When you get off the ship, look for the big white buses (called "navette") operated by the Port Authority that takes passengers from the docks to the port entrance. The service is free.

4. At the port entrance, you can do two things: if you want to do anything other than just go to the Vatican, stop in the little green hexagonal information building as ask the nice people inside what to do. But if you just want to go to the Vatican and back, then walk straight out the port entrancem keeping the sea on your right. After 5 minutes or so (it's not far), you will see on your left the Hotel della Ville (or something like that) and a Hertz office next to it. These two places are one separate but nearly parallel street that makes a "Y" intersection with the street along the seawall. Take this separate street as it ascends - at the end of this street is the train station.

Note that if you miss this street, then you can take a stairway from the seawall level up to the train station, which is a large terracotta building.

Note that many people on the cruise will likely want to do the same thing, so you won't be alone.

5. At the train station, skip the self-service machines (if there are any, Civitavecchia may not have them), and go to the ticket window. Ask for "Roma San Pietro, andare e ritorno" (Rome, St. Peter's station, round-trip). You may want to print this and show it to them if you don't think you can pronounce it well. The ticket guy may ask you "Termini?" because Termini is the main train station in Rome, but, no, you want Roma San Pietro - note that the cost difference is negligible (if any). Also note that not all trains that go to Termini stop at Roma San Pietro - you should look at http://www.trenitalia.com (look for English at the top) and practice with it to get a feel for the schedules.
Note that these trains (to Roma San Pietro) are all commuter trains. There is only second class, and they don't take reservations - if you have a ticket, you can get on. The fare is something like 4.50 euro each way. There will be one or two trains an hour, and the trip is about 70-80 minutes. Schedules on weekends may be different.

6. In about 48 minutes, start watching. You should come to Roma Aurelia station - this is probably the last station before Roma San Pietro. There are signs about eye level on the platforms...when you see "San Pietro", get off when the train stops (you can ask your fellow passengers to tell you which station is the right one).

7. Exit the station. Go out to the small piazza in front of the station. Look across the piazza for a small sign at eye level that says "San Pietro" with an arrow pointing to the left (actually, I don't remember which language the sign is in). Follow this sign through the neighborhood to other signs, until you come to a large pedestrian walkway that goes under a big street. Go under and when you come out the other side, you're within spitting distance of the colonnades of St. Peter's.

Note that the train station is about 400 meters south/southeast of St. Peters, so if you have a sense of direction, you won't get lost.

(continued below)

Civitavecchia to the Vatican (continued)

8. If you don't see the sign or have a sense of adventure, then look to your left from the front of the station for a big donme - that's St. Peter's. Look down the street that passes in front of the train station, and you will see 400 meters away a large solid brick wall - that's the wall around Vatican City. Walk the 400 meters along Via della Stazione San Pietro until you hit Via di Porta Cavalleggeri. It's a big, divided street. You can't miss it, because across this street from you will be a large brick wall that is 30 or more feet high. This is the wall that goes around Vatican City. Look at the travelogue on my Vatican City page for a photo of the wall.

9. You want to go to the right. Cross the big street either now or a little to the right, wherever there is a crosswalk. Note that Romans don't pay a lot of attention to crosswalks. Don't get run over, but just cross fearlessly - remember you're close to heaven's gate here, so if you get run over on the way to St. Peter's, that's got to count for something (I hope). Get over next to the wall and continue to the right (east). There should be a large hill to your right with a car tunnel going underneath it. Don't go there ;-)

10. As you slide around to the right along the wall, you will come to a turn to the left. When you make this turn, you will see the colonnades in front of St. Peters. You're there.

Look at www.viamichelin.com for a street map of Rome (the train station and the streets above are marked on it). Also look at my Rome page for the website that lets you walk "virtually" through Rome.

11. To get back to the ship, just reverse your trip. Leave the Vatican area, walk down to Roma San Pietro, wait for the next train going north (look at the schedules that are probably on big posters, or just ask somebody), hop on the train, spend an hour looking at the scenery, get off at Civitavecchia, and walk the 5 or so minutes back to the port entrance. Easy, huh?


Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Uh, not many
  • Cons:It's just a port town
  • In a nutshell:Just a place to pass through on the way to somewhere else
  • Last visit to Civitavecchia: Mar 2011
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (1)

Comments (4)

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Dec 23, 2008 at 3:16 AM

    very good advice - i will just send them all here

  • Apr 22, 2007 at 12:42 PM

    Phew.... a long and fabouluse tip!

  • Karlie85's Profile Photo
    Apr 22, 2007 at 12:19 PM

    Looks pretty descriptive to me :)

  • Apr 22, 2007 at 9:48 AM

    This "tip" is useless. The man hasn't done any of the things, such as actually walking to the train station, that he needs to have done to give a worthwhile tip.


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