Civitavecchia, Italy - Getting to Vatican City and Rome by train / Car Rental / Internet-Access / Toilets in trains / Private Tour: Rome

One of the reasons why I started this blog were these two questions in the forum:

even days:
How do I get from Civitavecchia to Rome?

odd days:
How do I get from Rome to Civitavecchia?

We were in transit - so I cannot say anything regarding embarkation or debarkation.

After we got the quotations from private tour operators I need some weeks to relax from checking the rates. 4 digit-amounts for one day in Rome? I did not wanted to become share holder of the tour companies - I just need a tour. But as obviously American cruises pay every price the tour companies were just outrageous. Mafia!!!

So we contacted the official Rome Tourist Information who recommended CAST, which is the official tour guide association:

They help us to find the best solution for us:

1. You do not need a guide for the 50 miles from Civitavecchia to Rome. Great and cheap public transport is available.

2. You do not need a vehicle to see St. Peter.

3. You need a van to go through the narrow streets of Rome.

So we decided to

take the train to Rome St. Peter
meet there our tour guide
walk 10 minutes to St. Peter
visiting St. Peter for 2 hours
getting into a car which take us to all major places for photo-shots

and it was perfect.

We felt like Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman Holidays!

And it was the same price like the ship's excursion but we did not need to walk through Rome and to wait for queues for the restrooms as major attraction of the tour.

Free shuttle buses took us to the port entrance.

From there you go towards the back of the bus:

to this sign:

turn left to the stairways:

Just walk upstairs... and follow the other cruisers... alongside of the promenade.

You passed already at the corner a place to make cheap phonecalls and to get connected by Internet with your own computer:

Somehow much more cheaper than on board.

Opposite is McDonald's if you cannot see Italian Pasta anymore.

You see signs showing the way to the Railways Station from people who did not want to be asked anymore how to walk to the station...

But if you have enough patience: "Stazione ff.s" is the confirmation that you are on the right way.

Here you should change the side of the streets. Especially if your mobility reduced or have some baggage or a buggy with you.

This is the Hotel de "La Ville" building:

In this building you may also find Hertz:

Hertz does not deliver to the port as they are not allowed.

If you stay right at the promenade you need to get up this stairways to Via Giuseppe Garibaldi:

But you should have a good breakfast onboard because you need walk upwards this long ramp...

Just in case you need to call a taxi or to pre-order:

Do not forget to dial +39, 0039 or 01139 ahead of this number from your US-cell-phone.

In the station there are ticket booth to buy tickets.

Or we pre-ordered them in Internet and collected them here at the machine - but we wanted to return by InterCity - Express-Trains.

The most important rule (independent where you bought your ticket):

Cancel/Validate/Punch your ticket here before you board your trains.

Even with your worst Texas-Slang: be sure the conductor will fine you to make you clear that you forgot to cancel/validate/punch your tickets before your entered the train.

Between Civitavecchia and Rome there are two types of trains operating:

Regional Trains
mostly starting in Civitavecchia
part of the Rome transit system which means one ticket for all mode of transports
pro: frequent connection / at least once per hour upto 4 times per hour in the rush-hour
pro: stops also at Rome St. Peter which saves 15 minutes of travel time to Rome Central Station and the time to get back to St. Peter
pro: ticket is also valid in Rome Subway and Bus System (incl. Day Passes)
con: need longer than Long-Distance-Trains
con: no 1st class cars

Long-Distance-Trains like IC InterCity, ICplus InterCityPlus and EC EuroCity
in transit through Civitavecchia towards Genoa and France
separate ticket requested but some trains also run during strike in Italy...
pro: non-stop or one-stop service and about 15 minutes faster beteween Rome and Civitavecchia
pro: restaurant car
pro: very comfortable
pro: air condition (also in 2nd class)
pro: first class
con: separate ticket required

Subject you have comfortable shoes and want to test all the day how they work on thousand year old cabblestone streets and you wanted always to use an antique roman subway, i. e. you want to do everything with local trains and subways there are following ticket option:

Most of the other cruisers recommend to use the BIRG-Ticket which cover

train to/from Rome
city transport within Rome

It's the cheapest way to get to Rome.
Currently it's 9.00 EUR for 24 hours pp. (5 zones)

Also available at the tobacco store in the station:

But we did not used it because we did not need to use the public transport in Rome and we did not want to return by Regional Trains back to Civitavecchia.

For fans of Ho-Ho-Bus Services we found this notice at the train station:

Looks like 22.00 EUR for day-return to Rome + one-day pass for Ho-Ho-Service of Tram Open Bus 110:


Rapid Transit System:
Rome City Center:
City of Rome:

So we booked via Internet and collected our tickets at the ticket machine (which "speaks" perfect English).

The website of Trenitalia is also good to make you schedule researches:

Your most important stations for your requests:

Civitavecchia = Civitavecchia
Rome St. Peter = Roma S. Pietro
Rome Central Station = Roma Termini
Rome Airport Fiumicino-Leonardo da Vinci = Fiumicino Aeroporto

Meanwhile you can buy online-tickets and make your own print-outs. We did not test it and unfortunately we will not test it in January 2009 because we decided to book a car and drive ourselves.

There is a ticket machine we found where you can get tickets to Rome Central Station and Airport but not the day pass (BIRG):

We could not find a key to change the language but this instruction to buy tickets:

Check the departure board for your departure:

Some show 1T which means Tronchi:

It's outside the station hall to the right.

Every few weeks some cruisers doubt that the Italian Railways can provide toilets to survive the less than one hour ride to Rome:

These water toilets were found in Roman settlements which are older than 2000 years.

Since then they were able to move them also into trains:

That's the restroom in the doubledecker regional trains:

and in the InterCity Long-Distance-Trains there are some as well.

I am really surprised why some always think that we do not have washrooms in Central Europe.

After boarding in Civitavecchia (some trains are departing outside the hall!!!) we reached in about 3/4 hours Rome St. Peter (Roma S. Pietro). Just exit to Piazzale Stazione S. Pietro.

With the first view you can discover St. Peter.

Here we met our tour guide who walked with us to

An this intersection "normal" tourists walk to the dome of St. Peter but our tour guide took us right of the TOTAL fuel-station.

After 100 yards down to the subway...

before it goes upwards and you are just in front of the access to Peter Square.

Do not forget: dress code is not only available on your cruise ships!

As she know the calmest entrences we have more time to enjoy the sight inside:

After two hours (of course we cannot see everything in two hours - but Rome was not build on one day - so we cannot see it on one day either!) our driver wait with a Mercedus-Mini-Bus for us.

Who does not like the private tour may board Ho-Ho-Buses from here.

Our Mini-Bus can go through all the narrow lanes:

... and just stop in front of the sights or very close by, while the ship's groups had to move in the rain from one sight to the next:

The following picture of the Forum Romanum was taken from Capitol Hill. A large bus could not go to our place.

Of course there was no time for insights. We did not want it. We wanted a first impression and some moments to take some pictures.

Our driver Gianni and our tour guide Tanna were brilliant.

They took us to places where we were the only tourists and show us something through a key whole:

This is the embassy of a souvereign foreign country (foreign country), Italy and Vatican City. Gianni is fascinating us with his kind of respect: If he saw when we left the car that he parked in front of a paddle: be sure he moved the car that you get in dry. She (our tourguide) knows every photo spot: If she saw us taking pictures she pushed us even for one feet away to have everything 20 times better in our screen. She never refused to take pictures of us.

To close the circle with MSC: That's the former house in Rome of Sophia Loren - the godmother of our MSC ships:

Here we tested if it was true that our MSC MUSICA-voyage was a full success...

As you can see: it was!

As the weather did not become better we decided to go back on the ship.

Therefore we were taken to Rome Central Station (Roma Termini).

Also here: there are modern public toilets.

But you have to pay for. Exact change required.

It could me now more than 0.70 EUR.

We invited both of them for a late lunch or early dinner. Gianni did not join as he had to return the car. But Tanna did.

So we checked for the next train back to Civitavecchia. As we had the full fare Long-Distance-Train tickets we can use any train back.

By this way: you find here in the basement also the baggage storage.

Click to the picture to enlarge and you see in the background the signpost for it.

"Arriverderci Roma" (Good Bye Rome) is a famous Italian song and we are getting back to Civitavecchia.

We walk back and had a last chance to eat with McDonald's if you cannot see true authentic Italian food anymore.

That's the gate to the port area.

You need to turn left now to get to your shuttle bus. Check for the ship's name before you take the wrong one.

It was a great day in Rome. A wonderful shore excursion is over.



  1. An excellent review and most helpful

  2. Beth hat gesagt: Very nice / enjoyed this.... think we might try your route! Regards / Beth

  3. Thank You, thank you, thank you... your diary of the day including pictures is extremely informative and will help me make best decisions for my "Day (12 hrs.) in CIV port (Rome).

  4. Thank you, extremely informative and will help my group to venture on our own as private tour cost more than my cruise

  5. Thank you again for the informative direction. My group bought the BIRG ticket and we also used it in the Metro to go to Spanish Steps and Colosseum after visiting St Peter's Square, Sistine Chapal etc.....

  6. Thank you, Heinbloed. This was very helpful for us as we travelled independently from Rome to our cruise ship in Civitavechia.

  7. Thanks for sharing your most excellent experience!

  8. Thank you for taking time to share, and making me laugh.


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