Civitavecchia Travel Guide

The quaint coastal city of Civitavecchia has been part of the Port of Rome for around two millennia and, today, mostly welcomes cruise passengers on their way to the Eternal City. Those who linger will see a few precious vestiges of Roman culture, some dating back to the second century, when Emperor Trajan built the harbour.

Most of the city's archaeological treasures and old buildings were destroyed during the two World Wars, thanks to its strategic importance to Rome. But travelling through the gate, no one can avoid noticing the city's main attraction, the looming 16th-century Fort Michelangelo, which was commissioned by Pope Julius II and completed by Michelangelo. There are also remains of the old city walls and a worthy fountain designed Italy's most prominent architect in the 18th-century, Luigi Vanvitelli. They lie close to the Fort and the old Roman harbour.

The old part of town features another attractive fountain in the Piazza Leandra, which fronts a medieval church. There is also an interesting National Archaeological Museum that contains exhibits discovered during the harbour restorations and from surrounding archaeological sites. Along the wide seafront avenue stands the unusual Church of the Holy Japanese Martyrs. Dedicated to some Franciscan monks who were martyred in Japan in the 16th century, it's decorated with a Japanese artist's frescoes and mosaics. The adjacent coast sports some enjoyable beaches and an interesting spa resort where the hot springs, known as the Taurine Baths, have been used since the days of Ancient Rome.