Today we docked at the port city of Civitavecchia, Italy. Civitavecchia is the port city for Rome and only a 90-minute bus ride away.
We had been here just a week ago and took the bus trip to Rome and had a wonderful day but only touched the surface of sights to see. Randy was not looking forward to a long bus ride again and said he would prefer to explore Civitavecchia because he said, “This would be our first opportunity to enjoy a small Italian town”.
A quick breakfast then we caught a shuttle to the town to walk around and see what we could see. We followed a line of other passengers until we finally reached a lovely pedestrian area lined with shops, restaurants, park benches, trees, and took a leisurely walk.
As we were walking, we came upon a section of the pedestrian walk that had a glass cover. We stopped and looked down and were amazed to see a small excavation site that revealed reminders of an ancient time. We looked a little closer and saw the remains of dishware, a street sign and stairs. The structure has been dated between the 1st and 2nd century AD. Looking down at these little pieces of history gave me goose bumps. Here we were standing in the middle of a city built upon the ruins of a Roman civilization long gone. All I could think was: How wonderful that the city fathers thought to create this wonderful spot for people like me; lovers of history.
We turned and walked down a city street towards the water. On our way we came upon the Forte Michelangelo. We entered the gate and walked around the fort for a while. The fortress extends entirely above a large Roman building of imperial times. The fort is an open museum with signs describing its history, before and after pictures of its restoration, pictures of archeological findings discovered in the fort’s courtyard. The coins, bronze jewelry, kitchen utensils, dishware, oil lamps and coins gives the visitor a glimpse into what life was like in ancient Roman.
We came out of the gate and decided to find access to the water. The port is located in the beautiful blue-green waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. After a short walk we came upon a lovely, large park area just at the water’s edge. Randy noted that the beach was mostly pebbles. We walked a bit, stopped to take a few pictures and then went down to put our hands in the water. The water was very warm.
Someone on the ship mentioned that there was a very good restaurant up on the old city’s walls. “Wow,” Randy remarked as he looked over the wall, “What a view from here”. The views from the wall were wonderful. We came across a sign advertising a special lunch at the La Ghiacciaia restaurant. For only 12 Euros you could get bruschetta, pizza, a bottle of water and a soft drink. I wanted to try pizza while in Italy so we took a seat at the restaurants sidewalk café. When our waiter came we ordered two of this delicious sounding lunch.
The bruschetta was delicious. The toast was firm covered in olive oil and stacked high with chunks of ripe tomatoes and fresh basil. Then our pizza came. Oh my word, if we had known how big the pizza was going to be, we would have ordered only one. Each pizza was at least 14”. The pizza was thin with a nice, clean, fresh red sauce and very good mozzarella cheese. We tried our best but we could only eat three-quarters of our pies. As we sat enjoying the beautiful day and our wonderful lunch, several members of our tour group stopped for lunch and we shared our experiences in and around the town. It was hard to leave but we decided to head back to the ship.
On our way back to the ship we passed the Cathedral dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi. On top of the two gables outside stand the statues of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Anthony from Padova.
We returned to our cabin and rested up for a while before getting ready for the evening. A stop by the Diamond Lounge for cocktails then off to dinner. Everyone at the table had done different activities during the day. When Randy was asked how his day was he replied, “A delightful day spent in Civitavecchia”.
Tomorrow we are at sea.