Cruise ships berth at docks 10 to 13 and dock 25 at Civitavecchia port, about an hour drive from Rome. The new state-of-the-art cruise terminal – Terminal Amerigo Vespucci has just recently opened in May 2018 and is the largest in Europe, covering 11,000 square meters. The facilities include a check in area with 60 counters, that can double to 120 if needed, 90 monitors for the passengers to observe their check-in status, a VIP lounge with a separate check-in desks, a luggage hall, a bar and a restaurant and plenty of comfortable sitting space. The cruise port is 70 km away or about an hour drive from the International Fiumicino Airport, and just over an hour from the smaller Ciampino Airport, 90 km away. Getting out and about from the cruise terminal at Civitavecchia is fairly easy, there are port shuttles that can take you near the port exit (it would be too far to walk). From there you can either hire a taxi from a licensed company (you wouldn’t be able to go short distance with those) or go to the train and bus station outside of the port. From there you can take a train to Roma Termini in Rome, it would take about an hour.
The local currency is the Euro (EUR) and exchanging money is relatively easy, as in any other European capital. Surprisingly, withdrawing cash from an ATM with your bank card seems like the cheapest option, as otherwise the exchange bureaus are always charging commission (sometimes incorporated in the exchange rate, so always ask for the total amount you would receive prior you hand out your foreign cash). Make sure you notify your bank you would be abroad and inform yourself about any fees for using your card abroad. If you would still rather exchange cash, avoid doing so at hotels and banks, but go to any of the exchange shops near the main touristy areas such as Termini Station, near the entrance of Vatican City, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II and Piazza di Spagna. Don’t trust the announced exchange rates, always ask exactly how much Euro you would receive and don’t be afraid to negotiate, especially if you are planning to exchange larger amounts. Don’t trust anyone on the streets who approaches you with a very favourable exchange rate – they are either scammers, or you could be prosecuted for taking part in a black-market transaction.
The opening hours in Rome are normally from 8.30 am to 13.30 pm Monday to Friday for post offices and 8.30 am to 13.30 and then 15.00 to 16.00 Monday to Friday for bank offices. Many restaurants are only open for lunch, from 12 to 14.30, with some also opening from 19.00 to 23.00. Most shops are open from 9 am to 13.00 for lunch and then open at 15.30 and close at 19.30 Monday to Saturday. Most of the museums are open every day from 9.00 am to 17.00 and are closed on Public Holidays. Some of them have a day off on Mondays or Wednesdays. The shopping malls are normally open from 9 am to 13.00 and then 13.30 to 19.30 all week. Some are open until as late as 22.00 and open a slightly later Sundays and Mondays. There are about 12 national public holidays in Italy. There are a few regional public holidays as well. Make sure you are aware of any public holidays that could affect your stay.
Tipping is not required, nor expected in Rome. Italians would often just round up the change and leave a couple of Euro for a good service. There might be service charge added to your bill, more often for larger groups and remember, the bread they bring at restaurants is paid for! You can also give a couple of Euro to the bellboy and the maid at your hotel. You could also round up the change for the taxi fare, but keep in mind that taxi drivers in Rome seem to never have change, so make sure you have smaller notes and cents if you don’t want to pay 20 euro for a 12-Euro taxi fare, for example.
The language, spoken in Rome is Italian. English would be generally understood in Rome, but knowing a few simple phrases in Italian, such as “good afternoon”, “thank you”, “please”, etc will take you a long way. Also, not all taxi drivers would know the names of tourist attractions in English, so please make sure you have those written down in Italian and keep a business card of your hotel handy. Italians are very friendly and chatty and will make efforts to help in any occasion.
The local time in Rome is GMT + 2 hours and the international dialling code is 00 39 6.
Things To Do
Without a doubt, the most famous landmark of the ancient city of Rome is the Colosseum (the Flavian Amphitheatre). Finished by AD 80 by Emperor Vespasian and his son – Titus, this is a stadium like no other stadium, with 80 entrances and designed to accommodate up to 50,000 sitting and 10,000 standing viewers. It’s considered a gift from the new rulers of the Roman Empire to their subjects, whom they kept happy by supplying bread and circuses. The colosseum was used for gladiatorial contests, animal hunts, executions and dramas up to the early medieval era. The last mentioning of gladiator fights was around 435 AD. Until then more than 400,000 people and a devastating number of 1 million wild animals had died in the Colosseum. The cruel tradition of demonstrating wealth by bringing exotic animals from all over the world for prisoners to fight with (although they stood no chance) resulted in entire species being wiped from the face of the Earth. After it was used for various other public services purposes up to 1749, when the space was declared sacred from Pope Benedict XIV. The building went through several restorations since then, the last and largest one was from 1993 to 2000, at the cost of about £18 million.
Vatican City is the smallest state in the world at 110 acres of land and about 1000 citizens, and the only one, situated in another capital city. It’s an ecclesiastical type of state, with the Pope as a state sovereign. The city-state was established in 1929 with the Lateran agreement between Italy and the Holy See, where the latter has “full ownership, exclusive dominion and sovereign authority and jurisdiction” over Vatican City. Its unique economy is sustained by selling stamps, postcards and other souvenirs, admission fees and publication sales. Choose carefully what you would like to see in the Vatican City, because you can easily spend a day there and still wouldn’t have seen even half of it. There are several different routes you can follow within the site, market with different colours and they can take from 1 to 5 hours to complete. Whichever one you choose, we recommend you don’t miss the St. Peter’s Basilica with St Peter’s square, the Gardens of Vatican City, the Vatican Hill, the Vatican Museums (four of them, holding impressive works by Italian masters, such as Michelangelo, Raphael, Giotto, Pinturicchio, Leonardo da Vinci, Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Perugino), the Sistine Chapel, Cortile del Belvedere, the Apostolic Palace, Saint ‘Anna dei Palafrenieri and Castel Sant’Angelo.
Borghese Gallery is the “queen of all private art collections”, housed in the former Villa Borghese Pinciana, collected mostly by Cardinal Scipione Borghese - the nephew of Pope Paul V and an incredibly knowledgeable and meticulous art collecter of his time. The collection contains works by Caravaggio, Bernini, Titian, Raphael, Rubens and Barocci. There are classical antiques from 1-3rd AD, mosaics and sculptures, frescos and paintings on the ground floor and an upstairs picture gallery, mainly from 17th century. Some of the most famous exhibits include the Bernini’s Rape of Proserpine, Pauline Bonapart, posing as Venus Vitrix by Canova, David with the Head of Goliath by Caravaggio, Sacred and Profane Love by Titian and The Deposition by Raphael. Many of the works are commissioned by Cardinal Borghese himself.
The exuberance of ancient art and history in Rome is overwhelming. If your time permits, see the Capitoline Museums, Castel Sant’ Angelo (castle – museum), Galleria Doria Pamphilj, La Galleria Nazionale and Galleria Corsini, the former homes Domus Romane, Villa Medici and Villa Farnesina, the archaeological sites Ostia Antica, Terme di Caracalla and Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, the churches The Pantheon, Basilica de San Giovanni in Laterano, Chiesa del Gesu, Basilica di San Paolo Fuori le Mura, Basilica di San Clemente al Laterano and Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. Also, not to be missed are the Spanish steps, the Roman Catacombs, the Vittoriano monument, the beautiful Piazza Navona and the relaxing botanical garden Orto Botanico.
All Cruises and Flight details are subject to availability and price variation. Final package price is available upon payment of deposit and confirming your ATOL & ABTA protected cruise holiday