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Fortezza Michelangelo, Bild: laranik / shutterstock

Civitavecchia – Things to do

There are many different sights in Civitavecchia that are worth visiting. In addition, there are numerous activities to be experienced in the Italian coastal city. The settlement from ancient times is known for its large harbor, where both ferries and cruise ships dock. For those looking for relaxation, a walk along the beach promenade is a good idea. Afterwards, the turquoise Mediterranean Sea invites you to take a refreshing swim.

The origins and location of Civitavecchia

Civitavecchia is a picturesque coastal town on Italy’s west coast. It belongs to the region of Lazio. Translated into German, its name means ‘old town’. Civitavecchia was founded by the Etruscans in ancient times. Over the millennia, it has established itself as an important port city. At a distance of about 70 km is the metropolis of Rome. Due to its proximity, Civitavecchia is an important addition to the infrastructure of the country’s capital. Although only about 55,000 inhabitants live in the coastal city, it still has an interesting range of cultural sights and exciting activities to offer its guests. Thanks to the numerous attractions and beautiful beaches, Civitavecchia has become a popular holiday destination. In the old town, visitors can take relaxing walks and then enjoy regional specialties in the bars and restaurants. The Sambuca digestif, which is produced by the Manzi and Molinari companies in traditional tradition, is very popular locally.

Walking tour of the seaport of Civitavecchia

Port of Civitavecchia
Port of Civitavecchia, Image: NAPA / shutterstock

The port of Civitavecchia was built at the beginning of the 2nd century by order of the Roman Emperor Trajan. Even today, the settlement is one of the largest port cities on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Many ferries depart from the busy port to Barcelona, Malta, Sardinia, Sicily and Tunis. In addition to the ferry docks, there is also an industrial port and piers for fishing boats, where local fishermen work with their buoys and nets. In addition, the Italian seaport is a cruise location where millions of passengers have already docked. This is why the cruise port of Civitavecchia is one of the most important locations in the region. Due to its long history and bustling activity, it is worth taking a walk through the harbour.

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Historical buildings and remarkable monuments

Since Civitavecchia was founded in ancient times, there are numerous historic buildings and monuments in the coastal city. These include the fortress ‘Fortezza Michelangelo’ from the 16th century. The famous artist designed parts of the castle complex, so that it was later named after him. Due to the frequent pirate attacks on the harbour in the past, Pope Julius II ordered the construction of the building in 1508 as a protective measure. The city tour can be continued directly from the castle. Following the old city walls, the fountain ‘Fontana del Vanvitelli’ is only a few meters away. The architect of the same name was responsible for its completion in 1743.

Afterwards, you will go through the archway ‘Porta Livorno’ into the old town. He was born in the 18th century. Near the new port is the war memorial ‘Monumento ai Caduti’, which honors the fallen soldiers in the First World War. The complex sculptural bronze was created by the artist Riva. A beautiful backdrop for souvenir photos is the ‘Torre del Marangone’, which was built in the 17th century on the orders of Pius V. From the square control tower, there are impressive views of the sea. To the south of Civitavecchia lies the venerable port ‘Darsena Romana’, which nowadays serves as a marina for private boats and yachts.

Cultural attractions in Civitavecchia

Intensive insights into Roman architecture and culture are offered by the Museo ‘Nazionale Archeologico’. In the old town, the ‘Cattedrale di San Francesco’ is worth seeing, which was built in the 17th century at the behest of Pope Clement XIV in the Baroque style. On the façade of the cathedral you can admire sculptures by Pietro De Laurentiis and the fresco of San Francesco. The Madonna of Civitavecchia is located in the garden of the Gregori family. She is said to have produced tears of blood many times. In addition, the fortress ‘La Rocca’ is one of the most beautiful buildings in Civitavecchia. It was built in the 14th century by the Frangipane family. Over the centuries, the fortress has served as a castle, shooting range and watchtower. At present, the complex serves as a cemetery. Although only ruins remain of it, the beauty and splendor of the fortress are still evident to the viewer.

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Fantastic beaches around Civitavecchia

In Civitavecchia there is a very beautiful beach promenade lined with many palm trees. Visitors can stroll in the sun and enjoy the views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. If you are looking for relaxation, you can settle down on one of the numerous beaches. They are located both in the city and in the surroundings of Civitavecchia. These include, among others:

  • La Frasca
  • Il Pirgo
  • Sant Agostino

The picturesque coastal landscape is very diverse and promises unique impressions. There are long pebble and sandy beaches as well as reefs on site. In the evening you can marvel at a great sunset. Near Civitavecchia is the seaside resort of Tarquinia with one of the most beautiful beaches in the area. The Lido di Tarquinia is a guarantee of Dolce Vita, ideal for sun worshippers and water sports enthusiasts. However, there is a lot of activity at the Lido, the beach is especially popular with families. If you are looking for peace and quiet, you will find it on the wide beach landscape of Pian di Spille. To the south are the quieter beaches of San Giorgio and Bagni di Sant’Agostino.

Excursions in the surroundings of Civitavecchia

Rome, Pantheon
The Pantheon, Image: Phant / shutterstock

For a large majority of cruisers, docking in Civitavecchia goes directly to Rome. The Eternal City is a jewel from ancient times. It is criss-crossed by magnificent palaces, millennia-old monuments and Renaissance and Baroque churches. The most beautiful sights include:

  • Castel Sant’Angelo
  • Piazza Navona
  • Colosseum
  • Pantheon
  • Piazza di Spagna

However, it should be remembered that this is a longer excursion that lasts the whole day. In the summer heat, this can be very exhausting for families with children and the elderly. As a relaxed alternative, a visit to the archaeological site ‘Terme Taurine’ is recommended. There are well-preserved ruins of Roman thermal baths and a botanical garden. If you feel like a thermal bath afterwards, the nearby Ficoncella thermal pool is just right.


Civitavecchia has numerous sights and activities to offer its guests. That’s why a visit is worthwhile, especially for holidaymakers who dock in the idyllic port city with a cruise ship.