This is all Great info. I am kind of obsessive in my planning and I like to buy in advance just so I know I don't have to pay for it after the trip. I will be arriving at Civitavecchia port and will be there for 1 day and plan to take train. I have bought some Travel guides, but some of it is confusing me. It mentions an option I can purchase through ATAC called the "Roma Pass" for 20 Euros that is good for 3 days of "Public Transportation", 2 museums for free (it mentions Colesium & Forum), and discounts. It seems clear that the Buses/Rail/Tram are included - Does it include the Train from Roma Termini to Civitavechhia? I am not sure I am understaning it. It might be best to just purchase the B.I.R.G and museum tickets separately. Roma Pass says the first 2 museums you visit are free - I am guessing it DOES NOT include the vatican - would that be correct?
The travel guide shows all the train/bus/metro routes. Right above the Civitavecchia Train Station (FR5) it shows (FR3) - Cesano di Roma & Viterbo. Are they in the same train station? The reason I ask is because I wanted to start with the Colesium, and I thought the FR3 train to Roma Ostiense and then getting on Line B at Piramide would work best for me to get to Colesium - but if the Civitavecchia doesnt really run the FR3 line, then I need to just do the FR5 to Roma Termini.
My plans is to start at the Colesium - when finished, hop on B line to Roma Termini and pick up A line to Vatican (S. Pietro). Come back on A line to Spagna Spanish steps/Trevi Fountain. I am reading from some people that I might be able to walk all of this - is that true too? Metro seems pretty clear cut overall.
ONe more question: In looking at the ItaliaRail.com site and trying to prepurchase tickets, it asks where you are starting from. Civitavecchia has 3 options: Civitavecchia, Civitavecchia mm, and Civitavecchia VV. I didnt understand the difference.
I know its alot....sorry.
My goodness Dorothy, we have been to Rome more then 7 times including multi-day stays at various hotels and still could not answer all your questions. We applaud you doing homework, but you don't want to get carried away and over complicated things. The Roma pass does not include the Vatican Museums (Sistine Chapel) and does not appear to cover the train between Civitavecchia and Rome. Unless you plan on spending your day in Museums (not the best way to enjoy Rome) we do not generally recommend the Roma pass for a port day. You will have to leave Rome around mid-afternoon, and if you go to the Vatican that will take more then half your day. We really like the BIRG Pass which covers the round trip regional train from Civitavecchia to Rome plus unlimited use of the Rome metro and bus lines....all for only 9 Euros. You cannot buy the BIRG in advance, or at least it would be foolhardy. You can get it in the Civitavecchia train station at the ticket window or at any of several newstands in and around the station. Make sure you validate the ticket (in the yellow validation machines located near or on the platform) before you get on the first train. We generally suggest folks do the Vatican first (there can be long lines) since its difficult to judge how much time you will need to do the tour. After the Vatican you can better judge what you can do in the remaining time. No reason to get hung up on that last question about the 3 Civ options (have no clue about this) since its a non-issue. There is only one train stop in Civitavecchia for the regional trains and its a 4 block walk from the port entrance where there are free shuttle buses to the ships. Also keep in mind that the real charm of Rome can only be discovered by walking in the city....not using buses and metro for everything.
Since you are obsessive I will try and deal with a few other issues. The FR3 line runs between Rome and Viterbo (a totally different town then Civitavecchia) and is not relevant. The FR5 Line is the designation of the regional line that runs to Civitavecchia, but I doubt if even the Italians know its technically the FR5 and you will probably not see that term posted anywhere. The train that runs between Civitavecchi and Rome does stop at the S. Pietro station (closest to the Vatican) and if you get off at that station on the way into Rome it will save you a lot of time getting to the Vatican rather then going to the Termini station and then taking the metro back to the Vatican.
Thanks. This forum is so great! Ive never done any kind of chat room. You are absolutely right - it takes someone else to tell me to 'chill' (I just ignore my husband....).
I am sure I will be back with questions on other ports. I am not having alot of luck with La Spezia - they only seem to mention Livorno.
You mentioned doing the Vatican first - The Michelin Tour guide said I should wait until Lunch after all the tour parties are gone - they said the place empties out. I initially wanted to do the Vatican first...but changed my mind based upon this guide and was going to do the Colesium. Sounds like I should go back to my original plan? In my mind after reading your post, no matter what I do - the Vatican is probably never going to be crowd free and I might as well start there...right?
DorthyD- Hank is right on the money here. Do the Vatican first. The guide book is probably written under the assumption that you are staying in Rome and not a cruise passenger. If you are staying and don't have a time line to follow to be back to the ship, then it may make sense to wait until after lunch because by then the cruise line tours will have been through and some may already be gone. BUT as a cruise passenger, if you go as soon as you can in the morning you will probably beat the cruise line tours to the Vatican as it takes them time to organize everyone, bus them down and get them into the place. In fact this is true for all the ports, if you go early enough you can beat the tour crowd there. If you try to wait until after lunch you will have wasted half your day.. and then you may not have enough time and you will feel rushed.
We agree with most everything that Jim says except it is very difficult to ever beat the crowds at the Vatican. The Michelin guides are good, Rick Steves is also good, but we do not always agree with the books. When you plan your day in Rome (and Florence) you must be real cognizant that you are more then an hour away from your ship which is leaving that same day (whether you get back or not). For independent planning on cruises, you must always keep this fact in your mind and plan a strategy that maximizes your fun while minimzing the risk that you might miss the ship. We do agree that the Vatican lines are usually shorter in the afternoon (although this is not always true) but, assuming this is your first priorty in Rome (it should be) you cannot take the risk of big afternoon crowds spoiling your chance to fully appreciate the vatican museums. Once you are inside the Vatican you are in a lengthy maze of corridors and walkways with the prize (Sistine Chapel) at the end of the tour. We know some who have gone through this tour in 2 hours, and others have spent more then 4 hours.
At the end of the day, you will need to go to the train station (probably the Termini station) where it is a very long walk from the entrance to the track where you get the train back to Civitavecchia (we are talking nearly 15 min of just walking inside the station). Unfortunately, that particular train uses the tracks that are about as far as you can get from the entrance (you won't find this info in most tour books) so you need to give yourself extra time. There is also the possibility that a train can run late, so you should never rely on taking the last possible train (we like to get back to Civitavecchia at least 1:15 early. All this means you need to get into the Vatican during the morning.
Well there you have it Hank... time to write your own Travel Book! Load it up with those secrets that only truly travelers know about (like the Civ train being on the furthest set of tracks in the station (which is a pain after you have been walking all day....)
And yes, I didn't mean to imply that there wouldn't be crowds at the Vatican in the morning, I was trying to point out that if you go early enough you can beat the "extra" people that the cruise lines dump into the equation.
Jim and Hank, I want to thank both of you for the incredibly useful information you give. in fact, i was thinking about taking the latest possible train back to civitavechhia now, my new questions: is there a subway near colosseum to get to the termini station as we are planning to start with vatican and end with colloseum? also, i'll greatly appreciate if you'll tell if we'll be able to cover the following in one day (by walking): vatican (with stop at st.peter basilica only, no time for vatican); piazza novana, pantheon, trevi fountain, spanish steps, palatino hill, forum and colloseum? is the correct order? also, i'm using google directions for how to get from one place to another. do you know if they are reliable? thanks a lot!
Wow, you sure like long walks. Can you do it, yes. By the end of the day you will probably have walked about 3 miles (perhaps a bit more) and that is my kind of day (we love to walk). As to your metro question, there is a metro stop (Colosseo station and its Metro Line B) right across the street from the Colossuem and its only two stops to the Main Termini Station or two stops (opposite direction) to the Ostience Station. The regional train originates in the Termini station and gets to the Ostience station about 10 minutes later, so you can use either station to get back to Civitavecchia.
This is great information, thank you, Hank! what about the order in which i listed the places, is it right? and do you know where can i get the routes of how to get from one place to another? Thank you very much!