The town of Civitavecchia is an Italian sea port just 80 kilometres, or 50 miles, to the west of the capital, Rome.
The harbour looks out towards the Tyrrhenian Sea and the name Civitavecchia is translated into English as ‘Ancient Town’.
It used to be an Etruscan town until Civitavecchia was built over it in the 2nd century.
Modern day Civitavecchia is very different and is seen largely as a cruise and ferry port, connecting the town with Sardinia, Sicily, Malta, Tunis and Barcelona.
There are various pieces of evidence that suggest primitive settlements can be found on the Civitavecchia coastline, in addition to the monuments erected during the Etruscan, Roman and Medieval times.
The town was originally conceived by order of Roman Emperor Traiano (sometimes known as Trajan), just under two millennia ago.
The place was then constructed to give Rome a fully equipped port.
Long after the Roman Empire collapsed, it was conquered in 828 by the Saracens and transformed into a military base.
Next up, the Popes took control, only ceding it briefly to French rule between 1798 and 1815, before losing it completely in 1870.
Sadly, many of the monuments in Civitavecchia were seriously damaged during the second war conflict.
Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo’s influence
Leonardo da Vinci was a keen visitor so that he could draw the buildings and archaeological sites which existed during his time, prior to them being destroyed in the construction of the walls.
In 1535 Michelangelo had prevented the constructed of the fortress and the huge octagonal donjon, and helped redesign the forte that we can still see today.
What to do
There is no shortage of things to do in Civitavecchia with plenty of spectacular architecture, churches, monuments and so much more.
This place is heaven sent for all you culture vultures out there so let’s take a good look at what is on offer.
The Ancient Baths of Traiano
First up are the ancient baths of. Civitavecchia, surely a must see during any visit to the Italian peninsula.
Rated as one of the most compelling in the Etruscan territory, these baths lie just outside Civitavecchia, and easily accessible.
The Baths date back to ancient times but the water springs date back to prehistoric times which just add to the lustre of the site.
The Etruscans exploited this and built the first rudimentary baths well in excess of 2000 years ago.
The area was very much the domain of the noblemen during the imperial era but as the empire fell, the baths became much less used and were only truly rediscovered at the beginning of the last century.
If you a looking for a taste of the past but bringing it to the present why not take a cooking class, including lunch, provided by the excellent Aqua Restaurant.
Experience some of the finest cuisine on the peninsula, whilst also learning how to cultivate it in the best possible way.
If you are after some good Rest and Relaxation then the area of Civitavecchia will not let you down.
The coastline is extremely varied. It has long stretches of sandy beaches, pebbled beaches and just plain reefs.
The three main beaches to check out are Sant Agostino, La Frasca and The Pirgo, all offering the aforementioned variety.
Where to stay
For an excellent value for money option try the Bed and Breakfast Bel Sole. At approximately €69 per night for a double room, prices may vary, and just a few minutes from the centre of Civitavecchia, this B&B is perfect for a weekend stay.
Furthermore, it is highly rated amongst previous guests, as many websites testify to.
Indeed, it offers all the basics, wifi, terrace and air-conditioning, with the added bonus of being close to the beach.
The warm and friendly atmosphere created by the staff help make this place the perfect place to stay for those wishing to save their money for other things whilst in Civitavecchia.
Coming in at around €86 per night (for a double room at the weekend) is the Sunbay Park Hotel.
Lying just a stone’s throw from the centre of Civitavecchia, this hotel is on the popular Via Aurelia Sud.
The rooms in this four-star accommodation have all the mod-cons to help you rest and relax during your stay in this idyllic town, including air conditioning, refrigerator and mini-bar, as well as televisions with satellite connection.
To top it all off, this place has its own private beach for you to take in and appreciate, whilst chilling out safe in the knowledge you will not be bothered by an over crowded beach.
If all that was not enough it has one added bonus: it accepts American Express!
The Hotel San Giorgio is a marvellous four-star hotel which has received rave reviews from a bunch of travellers more than happy with their time there. And it is not difficult to see why.
Centrally located with wonderful terraces, a swimming pool and stunning beach views, this hotel ticks all the boxes when it comes to luxury accommodation.
Be sure to take in the romantic sunsets on offer during your stay as they are a sight to behold.
Naturally, it has all the amenities you would expect and plenty more besides.
How to get to Civitavecchia
Whether you are flying to Rome Ciampino or Rome Fiumicino, Shuttle Direct can be lying in wait to help you begin your holiday in style.
Wherever you are flying from, let Shuttle Direct take away the stresses of your airport to accommodation transfer.
With Shuttle Direct’s marvellous fleet of vehicles and expert drivers, you are sure to arrive at your hotel relaxed, and fresh to enjoy the holiday you deserve.