Rome is a marvelous city, and deserves a visit of several days, weeks, or even months. Those of us who love cruising are lucky to get a few days in Rome, either as a port of call or as a pre-cruise or post-cruise extension. Rome is not actually on the Mediterranean Sea. It is located on the Tiber River, and the Tiber is way too small for cruise ships to sail on. Ancient legends report that Rome was founded on the seven hills flanking the Tiber by the two brothers Romulus and Remus. Cruise ships port at Civitavecchia, and passengers can visit the city with a one-hour ride by bus or train. Visiting Rome by cruise ship is much like visiting Florence--it's not that easy to get from the sea to the city, but it's well worth the trip.
Like most people, I love Rome. If you have one day in Rome, you'll need to choose between seeing the glory of ancient Rome on one side of the Tiber River or St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museum on the other side. If you have two days in Rome, you can squeeze in both if you move quickly. With three or more days you can expand the time you spend at each attraction, add another museum, or venture outside the city to the surrounding area.
Cruise ships dock in Civitavecchia, and there isn't much to see in this tiny port town, so if your ship has only one day in port, you need to try to get into Rome via a shore excursion, shuttle, or by sharing a guide/taxi with your fellow passengers. The About.com Guide to Italy has an excellent article on getting into Rome from Civitavecchia. A hotel within sight of the airport makes for an easy transfer when you leave Rome for the U.S., but it is a long taxi or train ride into the city.
Walking the streets of Rome is wonderful. You can walk or take a taxi or subway to the Colosseum, a great place to start your tour of Rome. You can almost picture the animals and gladiators in the small rooms underneath the Colosseum floor. Across the street from the Colosseum is the ancient Roman Forum. Visitors can walk the same streets as the ancient Roman citizens.
Using a detailed map of the city, you can walk to the Trevi Fountain from the Forum. Every visitor to Rome wants to see this fountain and dispose of some loose change. The Trevi Fountain is fed with water from the Acqua Vergine aqueduct and was completed in 1762. The area around the Trevi Fountain will be crowded, so be sure to protect your belongings. You might want to enjoy a gelato and do a little people watching.
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