The "Port of Rome"
"Getting from Civitavecchia to the Vatican"
People on cruises often ask how to get from the the port at Civitavecchia down to the Vatican. Here I am posting a reply that I made, so that I can just refer to this rather than typing it over and over again ;-) as this question is asked a lot...
Step by step, huh? ;-) OKKKKKKKKKKKK.....(I assume that you are just going down to the Vatican for the day).
1. Sort your belongings so that everything fits in your pockets or money belt or in one bag that sits on your shoulder. I.e., keep your hands free.
2. Arrive at port on big ship.
3. Go to the train station in Civitavecchia. To be honest, this is the one part I haven't personally done. I think it's a 15 minute walk (Civitavecchia is not real big), but that sort of depends on which pier you arrive at. So you can either take a taxi, if there's one at the pier (train station is "stazione ferroviaria"), or walk - "dov'e' la stazione ferroviaria?" (where is the train station?). I would talk to your fellow passengers, because you won't be the only person doing this (judging by the number of questions we get here on VT).
***Note: this is what VT member candelle says about this segment:
"The pier is around 10 minutes walk (obviously more if slow or elderly) from the station. Just walk to the edge of the pier compound and keep straight on, with the sea on your right hand side. The station is on the seafront; I am sure you'll see other passengers around which would be a clue that you've arrived!
Buy your tickets in the hall of the station. Incidentally, there is a flight of steep stairs up to the platform. The trains run around two per hour and the journey takes around one hour. "***
***Note that VT member wiley_coyote recently reported that the city is providing a free shuttle from pier to station. This service may be seasonal, but worth looking for.***
4. At the train station, skip the self-service machines (if there are any, Civitavecchia may not have them), and go to the ticket window. Ask for "Roma San Pietro, andare e ritorno" (Rome, St. Peter's station, round-trip). You may want to print this and show it to them if you don't think you can pronounce it well. The ticket guy may ask you "Termini?" because Termini is the main train station in Rome, but, no, you want Roma San Pietro - note that the cost difference is negligible (if any). Also note that not all trains that go to Termini stop at Roma San Pietro - you should look at http://www.ferroviedellostato.it/homepage_en.html
and practice with it to get a feel for the schedules.
Note that these trains (to Roma San Pietro) are all commuter trains. There is only second class, and they don't take reservations - if you have a ticket, you can get on. The fare is something like 4.50 euro each way. There will be one or two trains an hour, and the trip is about 70-80 minutes. Schedules on weekends may be different.
5. In about 48 minutes, start watching. You should come to Roma Aurelia station - this is probably the last station before Roma San Pietro. There are signs about eye level on the platforms...when you see "San Pietro", get off when the train stops (you can ask your fellow passengers to tell you which station is the right one).
6. Exit the station. You will find yourself on or very close to Via della Stazione San Pietro ("St. Peter Station Street"). Head north.
Which way is north? Well, first look around and see if you can see a real BIG dome (I can't remember if you can see the dome from here because of the buildings...but you're only about 400 meters from the walls of Vatican City at this point). If that doesn't work, remember that the train you came in on came from the north-north-west, so head up the road in the same direction you came from.
Or you can just ask somebody "Dov'e' il Vaticano?" - you will get a strange look because you're so close, but what the heck...
"Civitavecchia to the Vatican (continued)"
7. Walk 400 meters along Via della Stazione San Pietro until you hit Via di Porta Cavalleggeri. It's a big, divided street (well it was under construction last I saw it, who knows what it looks like now). You can't miss it, because across this street from you will be a large brick wall that is 30 or more feet high. This is the wall that goes around Vatican City. Look at the travelogue on my Vatican City page for a photo of the wall.
8. You want to go to the right. Cross the big street either now or a little to the right, wherever there is a crosswalk. Note that Romans don't pay a lot of attention to crosswalks. Don't get run over, but just cross fearlessly - remember you're close to heaven's gate here, so if you get run over on the way to St. Peter's, that's got to count for something (I hope). Get over next to the wall and continue to the right (east). There should be a large hill to your right with a car tunnel going underneath it. Don't go there ;-)
9. As you slide around to the right along the wall, you will come to a turn to the left. When you make this turn, you will see the colonnades in front of St. Peters. You're there.
Look at www.viamichelin.com for a street map of Rome (the train station and the streets above are marked on it). Also look at my Rome page for the website that lets you walk "virtually" through Rome.
10. To get back to the ship, just reverse your trip. Leave the Vatican area, walk down to Roma San Pietro, wait for the next train going north (look at the schedules that are probably on big posters, or just ask somebody), hop on the train, spend an hour looking at the scenery, get off at Civitavecchia, and either walk or take a taxi to your pier. Easy, huh?