Civitavecchia meaning Old Town is a coastal town northwest of Rome built in the 2nd century A.D. It is a very important place for cruise ships to dock as it directly links to several major Mediterranean ports. When cruise ship passengers from to Rome, they always arrive in Civitavecchia and they often have just a day to sightsee. Few of these tourists are interested in visiting the town of Civitavecchia when they know that the city of Rome is less than 40 miles (60 kilometers) away. A dream for a lot of these sight-seers is a trip to the Vatican to see Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums, and the Sistine Chapel. So what is the best way to get from your cruise ship in Civitavecchia to the Vatican?
Of course, you can book a shore outing with the cruise company to tour the Vatican, but these tend to be expensive. Rest assured, you can also get from the cruise terminal to Vatican City on your own.
Taking the train from Civitavecchia to Vatican City
From where your cruise ship docks to Civitavecchia’s train station is about a mile (1.5 km) so you will need to give yourself at least 20 minutes to get from the ship to the platform. You can also take a bus from Largo Della Pace which is right by the port by jumping on the Civitavecchia Servizi Pubblici bus or the PortLink bus. Tickets cost 2 euro and you can purchase your ticket at the service center at Largo Della Pace by the dock.
The train you want to take is the one that goes to Rome’s central station, Termini. However, you do not want to take the train all the way to Termini. Instead, you will get off at Stazione Roma S. Pietro which is three stops before Termini Station. The cost of the ticket is 4.60 euro and the traveling time is 45/50 minutes. The train comes usually every 30 minutes with around 43 trains leaving Civitavecchia for Rome every day. You can buy your ticket for Stazione San Pietro at the Civitavecchia train station either at the bar, a ticket machine, or behind the ticket counter. You can also pre-book your tickets or the TrenItalia website or app.
If you buy your tickets at the station, be sure to validate them in the time stamp machines before boarding. Tickets purchased online for a specific departure time do not need to be validated.
To make things even easier for cruise passengers wanting to get to Vatican City by train: in 2019, a new operation called the Civitavecchia Express opened that has four daily trips. Two in the morning leaving from Civitavecchia to Stazione S. Pietro and two in the evening leaving from Stazion S. Pietro back to Civitavecchia. This service takes place from the 1st of April until the 1st of November with the journey taking between 35 to 40 minutes. Ticket prices are 10 euro one way or 15 euro return where children under 12 are free. The train leaves Civitavecchia at 8:30 am and 10:15 am from Monday to Saturday getting to Stazione San Pietro at 9:08 and 11:03 respectively. On Sundays and bank holidays the first train leaves at 9:35 am getting to Stazione San Pietro at 10:10am with the 10:15am train running as normal. To find out more on the Civitavecchia Express click here.
How to get from Stazione San Pietro to the Vatican
It is around a 13-minute walk from Stazione San Pietro to Saint Peter’s Square. As you exit the train station you turn right onto Via Della Stazione di S. Pietro and keep following this road. The dome for Saint Peter’s Basilica will be visible where you will find your destination. It is another 15/20 minute walk from Saint Peter’s Basilica to the Vatican Museums’ entrance. Here is how to find the entrance to the Vatican Museums.
Alternative ways to get to the Vatican from Civitavecchia
Getting a taxi is also an option if you have luggage and if you are willing to pay the hefty fee. By road, it is 80.4km to get to Rome from Civitavecchia where you will expect to pay between €110 to €140. It is probably the fastest way to get to Rome taking just under an hour. You can prebook the service with NCC providers or by using the FreeNow taxi app.