Civitavecchia port is located 1 hour and 15 minutes outside of Rome city center on the Mediterranean coast. This port is one busy place and is one of Italy’s busiest cruise ports as well as one of the country’s most important import / export commercial centers.
Each year in addition to millions of cargo shipments that arrive into this port, hundreds of thousands of tourists also arrive into Civitavecchia off of cruise ships and often want to visit Rome city center, trying to cram in a visit to Vatican City the Collosseum and numerous other major monuments located in the historical center of Rome like the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Pantheon and countless dozens of others which we can’t list in one paragraph let alone be visited in one day.
What most visitors who come in by cruise don’t know however is that their time in Romeis often limited to less than 5.5 hours and with hundreds of other cruise ship passengers trying to visit the same sites at the same time, places like Vatican City and the Collosseum are so crowded that the entire experience is overwhelming and quite honestly a displeasure for all parties involved and this scenario doesn’t just exist out of Civitavecchia port out of Rome, but also in dozens of other destinations all over Italy particularly in Venice , but also out of the ports in Naples, Catania, Palermo and many other major ports around Italy when mass numbers of tourists off of cruise-ships all try to flock to Italy’s “bucket-list” destinations which include: The Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre, Florence, Pompeii, Taormina, Vatican City , Rome‘s Historical Center, Venice and Capri.
Mass tourism in these destinations has become a major problem for the locals and the tourists themselves, which is most particularly felt in Venice , the Cinque Terre, the Amalfi Coast, Capri and Rome and there’s no denying that the cruise-ship industry and cruise passengers are major contributors to these problems which is having a major social and environment impact in each of these remarkable destinations.
So what’s the solution here for cruise passengers and those who are paying good money to stay in these destinations and having their experience destroyed in these areas because of mass tourism from cruise-ships?
What can you do to get away from the crowds in Rome or these other destinations?
Know Distances & Do Your Research Before You Go to Italy!
Prior to booking a cruise or a tour, look at the ports of call your cruise ship will be visiting and the time of year you will be visiting. June, July and September are some of the most popular times of year to travel to Italy and times when the line ups will be at their peak. Some areas like Venice and Rome are calmer in August and more busy October, so be aware before you go and know the distances from the places of interest you wish to visit. Take for example the port of Civitavecchia in Rome for example. Looking at Google Maps you can see that Civitavecchia is 86 Km and over 1 hour and 12 minutes from Rome Center, but when you consider Rome’s intense traffic and there are hundreds of other cruise passengers flooding into the city from the cruise ship, it’s more like a 2 hour drive each direction!
You can see a recent video we made about this subject and if you are a travel professional we HIGHLY recommend you watch this video:
Important Points to Consider Continued….
2. Consider How Much Time You Will Have in the Areas You Want To See
Many people coming into Rome or other ports are not aware of the time and distances involved in visiting areas of interest they want to see, so if you are really interested in visiting the Vatican and Collosseum and the Vatican is one of the largest museums in the world that takes a minimum of 3 hours and you have a total of 3 hours given driving in Rome, those who try to sell you tours that include the Collosseum or other areas of Rome, are selling a tour that is often just not possible.
3. Learn about areas of interest nearby the ports.
There are amazing easy to get to towns and cities from Civitavecchia in addition to beautiful farms with incredible local restaurants that serve up wonderful pasta dishes along with beautiful views and fantastic wines! Not only this, but the coast of Lazio is beautiful with gorgeous beaches perfect for a swim!
Half the battle is in educating passengers about the environmental and social impact various cruise-lines have on local culture and the environment. The second half is changing policy in Italy to restrict number of passengers who are not actually staying in the destination itself coming into these areas and the third is placing limitations on tour operators who can operate in these areas and enforcing that clear information is provided to passengers themselves that aim at educating, informing and inspiring conscious travel.
Right now, nobody working in tourism in Italy can deny that there is a clear problem, but the good news is that there are viable solutions and like counterparts here in our field, we are looking and aiming at being part of the solution rather than part of the problem of what has turned into greed, dishonesty and numbers.
We’re not saying you are wrong for taking a cruise in the Mediterranean or coming into a port here in Italy. What we are saying is that it is time to be truthful about some of the problems cruise-ships are creating, about the distances involved and recommending you actually stay in Rome or on the Amalfi Coast so you can actually enjoy your time there and spend less money in many instances (particularly where Rome is concerned) rather than on a tour into the city. It is time that those offering tours in Italy be truthful with their clients and provide accurate information to tourists in addition to alternatives to the standard places that are now overwhelmed by tourists in a variety of locations.
Below we have compiled a list of some great destinations to visit out of Civitavecchia that no-one ever talks about, because the reality of the situation is that doing day tours into Rome from Civitavecchia into Rome is a HUGE money-making business for the cruise ship industry and local NCC (Car Hire) companies in Rome who charge upwards of 800 EURO a day for car services into Rome plus the cost of tickets and guides in areas like the Vatican City and Collosseum, so a day tour into Rome for a family could end up costing upwards of a thousand Euro when a family of 4 could easily stay in Rome for 2 or 3 nights for this same price and enjoy a much better experience.
Here is our list of alternative excursions that offer far more enjoyable experiences out of Civitavecchia and in upcoming weeks we will be doing a list for a variety of other ports of calls all over Italy:
Here are a list of our top excursions from Civitavecchia that no-one ever talks about and we are one of the only tour operators to currently offer these excursions.
No-one ever talks about Fregene and very few visitors to Italy even know about Fregene, but it’s a delightful suburb of Rome where many rich Romans retire to durin the summer months. Not only is Fregene a beautiful sea-side town with some of Rome’ most beautiful villas (inhabited by rich Romans) it’s also a great place to come and enjoy fresh sea-food on the shores of the beautiful Mediterranean sea. In addition to offering excursions to Fregene, we also recommend Fregene as a great way to enjoy your last night in Rome, as opposed to staying in an airport hotel!
With great hip beach clubs and fine dining establishments, this tour of Fregene and the beach clubs of Rome is a fantastic way to pass a relaxing day in elegance and style:
Lake Bracciano is a crater-formed lake surrounded by beautiful towns, castles and lake-side restaurants that are simply fantastic. A day trip to this lake and the surrounding countryside from Civitavecchia is incredible and only 35 minutes away from Civitavecchia port!
The Villa Lante Gardens & Etruscan Settlements of Lazio & Umbria
Even if the Villa Lante gardens are one hour away by car, there is little traffic on these roads that run through the beautiful countryside of Lazio! It’s a gorgeous journey and there are lots of organic farm estates where we can stop for lunch!
Santa Severa Castle and La Posta Vecchia
The Santa Severa castle is located only 30 minutes from Civitavecchia and offers visitors a unique opportunity to discover not only history, but the gorgeous beaches in either direction.
In addition to visiting this castle we also suggest lunch at either Ceri or Cervetri. Both towns have incredible history and Etruscan ruins!
Just up the coast from Civitavecchia there are a number of coastal towns and we can easily reach Orbetello in 1 hour. This is a great option for those who want to experience magnificent coastal scenery and an unforgettable cooking class!
The region of Lazio in Italy is an incredible region with a gorgeous archipelago of islands including Ponza, beautiful lakes, fantastic vineyards and home to some of Italy’s most beautiful gardens.
For a full listing of towns and cities in the region of Lazio in central Italy, please have a look on our website here:
We believe Tourism is a leading sustainable resources that communities around the world can share and benefit from if managed correctly. We are bringing professionals from around the world to share in the exchange and management of one of Europe’s most important resources…
For more information about our initiatives in Italy to promote sustainable tourism and create further awareness about environmental and social implications of mass tourism, get in touch with the experts: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Jesse Andrews, Owner & President, August 2, 2017
Jesse Andrews owns 6 websites dedicated to travel in Italy and has dedicated her life to writing, photographing and teaching people about Italy.
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