Uncovering a thousand years of history
The port of Civitavecchia is one of the largest in Italy and is, of course, a destination of MSC Cruises in the Mediterranean.
Civitavecchia enjoys a millenary history due to its coves along the coast, which offered a perfect shelter for vessels, making it a natural port long before cruise ships sailed the seas, and in fact the port was known to the Romans as Centumcellae.
During your holiday in Civitavecchia you can easily visit its centre on foot. Amongst the most important monuments to visit are the Forte Michelangelo, built by Bramante in the 16th century, the ancient walls of the old port, where there is a fountain in travertine marble by Vanvitelli, and the Rock, an inexpugnable fortress that has been looming over the city and port for over a thousand years.
In Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, Civitavecchia’s main square, one can admire the majestic baroque cathedral dedicated to St. Francis, built at the end of the 18th century on a smaller church which could no longer host a rapidly growing community.
Piazza Leandra, set in the historic centre, is a typical Italian piazza with a fountain in the centre, dedicated to Leandro, an elderly seaman of the Middle Ages who convinced his fellow citizens to settle on the Mediterranean coast in spite of the incursions by Saracen pirates.
There are a host of bars and restaurants for a taste of seafood cuisine, from poached baby octopus to fried rocket to stuffed squid or the pizza alla civitavecchiese with anchovies and garlic. The Taurine Baths, of the even more ancient Etruscan period, are a grand archaeological site just a few kilometres outside the city, a site that we recommend to the cruiser with a passion for ancient history.