Civitavecchia which means “Ancient Town” is located 70 km away from Rome and was once known as Centumcellae. In 106 a.d. Trajan Emperor of Rome decided to build a port, today known as the Civitavecchia Port. Most tourists end up in Civitavecchia because of its port which runs some important connections to Sardinia, Sicily, Malta, and Barcellona. Michelangelo’s Fort commissioned to defend the port of Rome is an interesting piece of history as well as the castle – la Rocca – rebuilt by Pope Sixtus V.
In the north of the city, in an area known as Fiacconella the Taurine Baths are still very popular among the locals. Whether you end up in Civitavecchia on your way to your cuise ship holiday or you plan a visit while vacationing in Rome you will not be disappointed.
Sightseeing in Civitavecchia
Being the official Port of Rome, Civitavecchia is the access port to one of the most beautiful and fascinating destinations in the world. But if you’ve visited Rome before, and fancy a change, Civitavecchia has several sights of interest well deserving a visit. Wander through the city center, and you will see remains of the old town walls, Benedict XIV’s fountain, medieval buildings such as the old hospital, pretty piazzas and plenty of everyday Italian life. Follow a tour a the town with a relaxing hour or two at the beach (or gastronomes may prefer a trip to a restaurant!). Specific sights of interest in Civitavecchia are:
The Cathedral of San Francesco d’Assisi
The Franciscans built Cathedral of San Francesco d’Assisi on the remains of 17th Century monastery. The Baroque-Neoclassical design of the cathedral attracts many visitors. Pope Gregory IX laid the foundation stone in 1228, and the cathedral was completed in 1253. The church features intricate stained glass windows and decorative frescos.
The 16th Century fortification named Forte Michelangelo towers over the port. It was commissioned by Pope Julius II and finished in 1535 by Giulano Leno.The middle tower was designed by Michelangelo. Built on the ruins of Roman barracks, the fort is made from walls over 6 metres thick.
Steps leading from the coastline walkway, just opposite the train station, lead to a pretty sandy beach. The sea is very clear and the beach is popular with swimmers.
La Scaglia tombs
The La Scaglia Necropolis dates from the Estrucan period. View these extensive underground tombs. The cold sacerdotal atmosphere seems eerily unnerving, but nonetheless fascinating.