Rich with history and culture, a cruise to Rome remains a top destination for travelers who want to see firsthand the cradle of Western civilization. The remnants of the past mingle with the present here, and visitors find plenty to do on the ancient streets that once carried gladiators and emperors.
When you book one of our European cruises that stops in Civitavecchia, you can take a 90-minute ride into the Eternal City. From there, you can create your own Roman adventure and explore the city on your own or take a guided tour of the city’s highlights. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of what to see in Rome, so you can make the most of your day in port.
1 . Explore the Bracciano Lake & Orsini Castle
Discover the clear, tranquil waters of Lake Bracciano and the quaint town that shares its name. Spend the day exploring the narrow streets lined with medieval buildings, or take a refreshing dip in the volcanic lake. Make sure you also carve out some time to see the meticulously-preserved Orsini Castle, an impressive structure that dates back to the 15th century.
2. Step Back in Time to The Roman Colosseum
No trip to Rome is complete without a stop at the Colosseum. Once the site of Rome’s bloodiest form of entertainment, the ruins of this ancient amphitheater are still one of the most popular places to visit. If you’re exploring Rome on your own, consider making this your first stop so you can see it before the crowds show up.
You can also catch a glimpse of it from the comfort of a motor coach on a panoramic Rome tour.
3. Discover Ancient Rome at the Roman Forum
Located within walking distance of the Colosseum, the Roman Forum is what remains of the city’s historic center and its most important buildings. You can make this a stop on your self-guided tour of the city and take in the ruins of the Temple of Saturn and the House of the Vestals.
See the spot of Julius Caesar’s funeral, the place where Shakespeare imagined Marc Antony to give his famous monologue and much more.
4. See the Beauty of the Sistine Chapel
It’s usually the last stop on tours of the Vatican Museums, but the Sistine Chapel tops the list of things to see in Rome. The frescoes adorning the walls and ceiling represent the work of some of Italy’s most famous artists, including Botticelli, Rosselli and Michelangelo.
Be sure to look up to see the series of scenes from the Book of Genesis painted on the chapel’s famed ceilings, one of Michelangelo’s best-known creations.
5. Climb the Spanish Steps
Named for the neighboring Spanish embassy, the Spanish Steps have been a popular meeting spot in Rome for decades. Climb to the top to enjoy the surrounding view that inspired countless artists and writers. It’s even more spectacular in May, when the steps get a makeover with lush pink azaleas.
6. Go to St. Peter’s Basilica
One of four major basilicas in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica is the most massive and considered one of the holiest of Catholic churches. Built in the 16th century, it’s an excellent example of Roman Renaissance and Baroque architecture. Climb to the summit or take an elevator ride to the terrace to enjoy panoramic views of the Roman landscape.
7. Visit St. Peter’s Square
Your visit to the Vatican starts in St. Peter’s Square. This elliptical-shaped plaza is the heart of Vatican City, offering views of the basilica and the Pope’s residence.
While you’re wandering the plaza, be sure to check out the Egyptian obelisk originally brought to Rome by Emperor Caligula, and admire the columns and decorative sculptures along the colonnade. You can even pick up a few souvenirs in the nearby shops.
8. Take a Walk Through the Tivoli Gardens
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Tivoli Gardens is home to some of the most magnificent gardens in Europe. Marvel at the sloped and terraced gardens and intricate fountains that surround Villa d’Este, originally a residence for a former governor and cardinal.
Nearby is another UNESCO World Heritage site: Villa Adriana. Built by Emperor Hadrian as a retreat from Rome, this architectural masterpiece represents what he believed was an ideal city.
9. Toss a Coin Into the Trevi Fountain
If you fall in love with Rome, be sure to visit the Trevi Fountain. According to local legend, tossing coins into the fountain ensures you’ll return.
This spectacular Baroque fountain adorned with impressive statues of mythological characters is one of Rome’s most picturesque spots, especially at night when it’s illuminated by lights. You’ll have the perfect background for photos to share with your friends.
10. Take a Tour of the Vatican Museums
The Vatican Museums house one of the largest collections of art in the world. You’ll find here priceless works of art, including paintings, sculptures and frescoes by history’s greatest artists. You can also view mummies and other artifacts from ancient Egypt, see models of papal coaches and cars, and admire the spirals of the helical staircase.
Whether you’re going on a romantic getaway or celebrating with the entire family, a cruise to Europe is a cultured escape from your everyday life. In addition to our onboard amenities, you get a chance to experience some of the top things to do in Rome, Italy through our shore excursions.
We’ll transport you from the ship to the city, where you can take a guided tour or create your own Roman adventure. No matter what you choose, you’ll discover why Rome has enchanted so many people throughout her long, celebrated history.