One Day in Rome From Cruise Port Itinerary (Civitavecchia)

One Day in Rome From Cruise Port Itinerary (Civitavecchia)

View on the port with three large ships in Civitavecchia, a street and a tower of the Forte Michelangelo - Civitavecchia . A view of the Civitavecchia Cruise Port with several cruise ships docked, palm trees, and a historic fort in the foreground.

Are you looking for a one day in Rome itinerary from the cruise ship? Then you are in the right spot.

The cruise ship terminal is located near Civitavecchia, a city about 50 miles northwest of Rome. You need to be prepared to plan a way to cover this distance and still have a great day in the city. And I am here to help you with that.

I have been to Rome on a cruise – and exploring it in a day is no small feat, especially if you have to return to the port on time in the evening. 

To make the most out of this itinerary, I have asked my friend for help. She was born and raised in Rome and has guided many travelers around the Eternal City as a tour guide.

This guide will cover the most important questions: how to get to Rome and which spots to see and which to leave out. And, we’ll discuss alternatives if walking is not good for you.

Let’s get to it.

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One Day in Rome Itinerary – at a Glance

If you are just here to get a quick glance at the itinerary, you are in the right spot. This walking tour covers most of the fabulous spots in Rome and takes about 1,5 hours (3.5 m) of pure walking time to complete.

Here is my ultimate one-day in Rome from the cruise port itinerary:

🌴 Artisanal Gelato at Fatamorgana

🌴 Colosseum

🌴 Via dei Fori Imperiali

🌴 Altar of the Fatherland

🌴 Piazza del Campidoglio

🌴 Break: Authentic Espresso Coffee

🌴 Late Lunch: Pizza or Pasta

🌴 Trevi Fountain 

🌴 Spanish Steps

🌴 Pantheon 

🌴 Piazza Navona

One day in rome from cruise ship walking tour

Trip Planning Resources

Shore Excursions: VIATOR, GetYourGuide

Bus Transfer: Cruise Port – City Center & Back Bus Transfer

Private Driver: Private Transfer Cruise Port – Rome (One Way)

Rental car: DiscoverCars

Travel insurance: EKTA

How to Get to Central Rome From Civitavecchia Cruise Port

You have a couple of different options when going to Rome from the cruise port.

You can either choose public transportation (not my favorite) or hire a private driver. Of course, you can always grab a rental car even though I wouldn’t recommend it. Lastly, you can always book a guided day tour.

By Public Transportation

With a combination of bus and train, you will reach the historic center of Rome in about 2 hours. 

From the port, board the Civitavecchia Portlink bus. It will take you directly to Civitavecchia Station, where you will take a train to Rome. The one-way ticket, including bus and train, usually costs € 10.

You can buy the digital ticket in advance on the Trenitalia website or app (type in Civitavecchia Porto departure station and Roma San Pietro or Roma Termini arrival station).

You can get off at Roma San Pietro and then head directly to the Vatican Museums. You can also get off at Roma Termini and go to the Colosseum first.

Insider tip: For those traveling to Rome for the first time, I recommend skipping the Vatican Museums. and devote yourself to exploring Rome’s historic center. It is basically like an open-air museum.

By Private Transportation

Much of Rome’s historic center is a restricted traffic zone. I strongly advise against renting a car and exploring Rome by car. The traffic is chaotic, dangerous for the unaccustomed, and it is all too easy to get a ticket.

The most convenient solution for seeing Rome without having to walk too far is to hire a private driver who will take you to all the sights. Authorized drivers can even access the historic center.

I recommend this tour if you want to discover Rome with a driver.

Booking a Shore Excursion

If you are not comfortable with walking a lot and exploring by yourself, you might want to consider booking a shore excursion instead.

I have selected a couple of great shore excursions for you that will take you around Rome in a day:

🚙 Luxury Private Full-Day Rome Tour from Civitavecchia Port

🚙 Civitavecchia Shore Excursion: Splendor of Rome Tour

🚙 Rome Small-Group Shared Tour from Civitavecchia: 8 People Max

One Day in Rome Itinerary

1. Start Your Day in Rome With a Gelato

If you choose to visit Rome on foot, start this intense walk with a sweet treat.

In Rome, you will find the best gelato in Italy, which basically means the entire world. As someone who loves gelato, I’ll lead you to the best spots.

The most practical gelato spot for this itinerary is Fatamorgana in the Monti district. It is very close to the Colosseum.

From Termini Station, take the Metro B and get off at Cavour. This famous artisanal gelato shop is located in Piazza degli Zingari.

My tip: Try classic Italian gelato flavors such as pistachio and hazelnut. But they also have combinations of natural ingredients and dairy-free flavors.

A colorful display of various gelato flavors in an Italian gelateria, with labels such as Variegato Amarena, Fragola, Limone, Crema, Zabajone, Cocco, and Fiordilatte.

2. Colosseum

After the gelato, you will be in the mood to conquer the Colosseum.

In this amphitheater, bloody fights between men and men and men and animals, naval battles, and theatrical performances were held in ancient Rome.

Emperor Vespasian of the Flavian Dynasty built the Colosseum to win the consent of the Roman people. The site was where the ruins of Emperor Nero’s majestic park and residence used to stand.

The Colosseum could accommodate 50-70,000 spectators in the stands, and everyone entered for free.

Important: To visit it today, however, you must buy your ticket in advance from the official website, which costs €18. If you do not book in advance, you risk not being able to buy tickets.

The iconic Colosseum in Rome, bathed in golden light during sunset, with tourists exploring the ancient structure.

3. Via dei Fori Imperiali

Although the ticket to the Colosseum includes access to the Roman Forum, I strongly recommend that you do not go there. 

The archaeological site of the Forums is quite extensive. In my opinion, it is not worth the effort without a guide to tell you the name and history of the ruins.

Walking the Via dei Fori Imperiali, a pedestrian street connecting Colosseum Square to Piazza Venezia, will be much more fun for you instead. 

This street is like a panoramic terrace overlooking the Roman and Imperial Forum.

Admiring the forums from above also saves time on our schedule – which will leave more time for other impressive stops.

The ancient ruins of the Roman Forum, showcasing tall columns and historic buildings under a clear blue sky.

4. Altar of the Fatherland

Once you reach Piazza Venezia, you will have already walked around ancient Rome for a couple of hours.

If you prefer more time to admire the Colosseum, I recommend heading straight to the Trevi Fountain (leg 8) and skipping this step.

If you have some extra time on your hands, I suggest taking the elevator to the terrace of the Altar of the Fatherland. 

The Vittoriano, as contemporary Romans call it, is an interesting neoclassical monument dating back to the early 20th century.

From the “Terrace of the Quadrigas,” you’ll get a breathtaking 360-degree view of the historic center of Rome.

Important: There may be a bit of a line at the elevator entrance, and there is a € 16 charge to access the terrace.

A woman standing in front of the imposing Vittorio Emanuele II Monument in Rome, Italy, on a sunny day.

5. Capitol Square

A free alternative is to visit the Piazza del Campidoglio instead. This arrangement dates back to the 16th century and was designed by Michelangelo Buonarroti. 

According to history, the political power of Rome arose on Capitoline Hill, one of seven hills. There they built important religious temples.

Today, it houses the Ara Coeli Church and the Renaissance Piazza del Campidoglio

Both can be accessed by a flight of steps. In the center of the Piazza del Campidoglio is a statue honoring Marcus Aurelius. He is said to have been one of Rome’s most enlightened emperors.

On one side of the square are the Capitoline Museums. There you can admire many Roman sculptures, but I don’t think you will have the time if you only spend a day in Rome!

6. Break: Authentic Espresso Coffee

Head to the Caffarelli Terrace, which is located in the museum’s building. This part of the itinerary is definitely a bit of an insider’s tip.

This is an excellent spot for a good espresso coffee. You do not need to buy a ticket to access the café; you can go up an independent staircase on the side of the building. 

From this terrace, you also have a wonderful view of the rooftops and domes of Rome.

7. Late Lunch: Pasta or Pizza!

After so much walking, you may feel like sampling some delicious Italian food.

Let me warn you upfront that eating well while spending little and without standing in line is not an easy thing to do in Rome’s historic center.

Pasta is one of Rome’s signature foods, and you should definitely try some. However, to sit down at a restaurant, you absolutely must make reservations in advance.

To get a great express pasta dish, take a little detour down Via Vittorio Emanuele II St. and head to Pasta Eat. Your wallet and your belly will thank you.

Of course, there is more street food in Rome than just pasta.

The most popular street food in Rome is pizza by the slice. You’ll get pizza with different types of toppings sold by weight.

Insider Tip: You can find awesome pizza on Via Vittorio Emanuele II at Alice Pizza. Pizza al Taglio is one of the most nutritious and inexpensive foods in the Eternal City. Locals love it and eat it at all hours!

8. Trevi Fountain 

It’s hard to pass up the beauty of the Trevi Fountain, even if you visit Rome in just one day…

If you have fallen in love with this city, you should throw a coin into the fountain. It is said that this will ensure that you will return in the future.

The fountain is very crowded during the central hours of the day. But it is still awesome to observe this masterpiece of Italian sculpture.

Water has been gushing out here since the 1st century B.C., thanks to the hydraulic engineering of the Romans who built the Virgo aqueduct. 

The monumental fountain took several architects and sculptors to complete from the 15th to the 18th century.

The main sculptural group shows the God Ocean plowing through the waters aboard a shell pulled by two horses.

Rome, Fountain di Trevi, Italy. The majestic Trevi Fountain in Rome, with its detailed sculptures and cascading water, framed by historic buildings.

9. Spanish Steps

From the Trevi Fountain, walk for about 20 minutes until you reach the Spanish Steps. The sight of the square and the beautiful architecture will repay your aching feet. 

In the center of the piazza is the Barcaccia Fountain. It is a fine work of art by Bernini father and son. The sculpture shows a sinking boat in memory of a flood that caused the Tiber to overflow in the late 16th century.

A few steps from the fountain you’ll see the a staircase that leads to the Trinità del Monti Church. The beauty of the Spanish Steps is due to a series of ramps that ascend moving in different directions. I love the outlook for sure.

At the top of the steps is the Trinità dei Monti church. It is very distinctive with two bell towers and a convent. It has housed the French religious order since the 16th century.

Piazza de Spagna in Rome, italy. Spanish steps in the morning. Rome architecture and landmark. The picturesque Spanish Steps in Rome, adorned with blooming flowers, and surrounded by charming buildings at dawn.

10. Pantheon 

If you still have time to see more of Rome, head immediately to the Pantheon. 

The name of this place translates to “all the Gods.” It originally housed niches with statues of all the deities of the Romans. 

It was first built in the year 27 BC. The temple you see today is from the time of Emperor Hadrian, 125 AD.

Everything here is majestic and impressive. You can walk through the 18 monumental columns of the porticoed area.

Important: you need to stop and buy a ticket (€ 5) before entering the giant bronze door. 

The interior is designed as a single cylindrical-shaped room. Look up immediately: you’ll see the only window through which light passes. It is called the oculus. The dome is the second largest dome in Italy, a masterpiece of Roman times, which is super impressive.

Since the 7th century AD, the Pantheon has been a Christian church. This monument is beloved by the locals, much more than the famous Colosseum.

11. Piazza Navona

If you ask a local what the most beautiful square in Rome is, anyone will tell you without hesitation: Piazza Navona. It is truly a shame not to visit it, and that it is overshadowed by the popularity of other monuments.

The Fountain of the Four Rivers is located in the center of the square. It is the work of Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The facade of the Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone is the work of Francesco Borromini.

The shape of the square is already a unique factor: the square is elongated and shaped like a stadium. In fact, in Roman times it was used as the Stadium of Domitian. 

The square hosts street performers and attracts both locals and travelers. At Christmas time, the city’s oldest Christmas Market is held here.

You can stand on one of the benches and admire the beauty around you. Maybe you’ll have some space for another scoop of gelato from Grom.

A vibrant scene at Piazza Navona, featuring a beautiful fountain surrounded by colorful buildings and bustling crowds.

Conclusion: One Day in Rome From Cruise Ship Itinerary

As we’ve heard, exploring Rome in one day by starting and returning to the cruise port of Civitavecchia is a challenge. But it is not impossible.

For those who are not too fit or who do not feel up to walking about 2 miles at a brisk pace, I highly recommend planning a tour with a private driver instead. He can take you to the doorstep of the main attractions.

If, on the other hand, you are determined to use public transportation and want to enjoy the city at your own pace, this walking tour itinerary is ideal for you. It will lead you to some major attractions and hidden gems in Rome.

Obviously you will not be able to visit all the major attractions in one day. The advantage of Rome is that it feels like an open-air museum.

It will leave you speechless even if you just walk around the historic center, without actually accessing the sites.

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FAQ: One Day in Rome From Cruise Ship

How do I get from Rome Cruise Port to the city?

To get from Rome’s Civitavecchia Cruise Port to the city, take the shuttle bus to the train station. Then, catch a regional train to Rome’s Termini Station. The journey takes about 1.5 hours and costs around €5-€10. Taxis and private transfers are also available but more expensive.

How far is Rome from a cruise ship?

Rome is about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the Civitavecchia Cruise Port. The journey takes around 1.5 hours by train or car.

How to see Rome on your own from Civitavecchia cruise port?

To see Rome on your own from Civitavecchia Cruise Port, take a shuttle to the train station, then a regional train to Termini Station. Once in Rome, explore famous sites like the Colosseum, Vatican, and Trevi Fountain. Use the metro or buses to get around the city easily. You can also book a private driver that will drop you off at the sights.

What Can I see From Civitavecchia Cruise Port besides Rome?

Besides Rome, from Civitavecchia Cruise Port, you can explore Tarquinia with its Etruscan tombs and medieval architecture, visit the beautiful beaches of Santa Marinella, or enjoy the scenic countryside in Tuscany. There’s also the ancient port town of Ostia Antica, known for its well-preserved ruins and historical significance.

About the Author

Justin is a military pilot and travel blogger. Due to his job, he splits his time between the US, Curacao, and Europe.

Justin enjoys discovering the world together with his wife and venturing out with his drone to take magical shots.

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