A municipality and commune of the Province of Rome, Civitavecchia is located eighty kilometers west-north-west of Rome in the central Italian region of Latium. It is a sea port on the Tyrrhenian Sea, across the Mignone River. The dock is formed by two moles and a breakwater, on which the second is a lighthouse.
Civitavecchia which means “ancient town” was built over a pre-existing Etruscan settlement, and the harbor was erected at the start of the 2nd century by Emperor Trajan. It was a Byzantine monopoly in the middle ages, and was captured by the Saracens in 828, later obtained by the Papal States.
Civitavecchia Rome became a free port in 1696 under Pope Innocent XII. In 1849, it was occupied by the French and became the main port of the modern era. The gate of the fortress was opened by the Papal troops to the Italian general Bixio in 1870; and during World War II was severely damaged by allied bombings.
Civitavecchia Rome was almost entirely ruined in the Second World War; however it has been restored since. Undoubtedly the current buildings have made the city design rather challenging to appreciate, but if one takes time to really look at it, one would know that there is a lot to discover in this understated historical city.
Today, Civitavecchia Rome is a major cruise and ferry port, where the major starting point for sea connection is from central Italy to Sardinia and Barcelona. Fishing has secondary importance in its economy, and the city is also the place of two thermal power stations.
The most essential sight to visit in the city of Civitavecchia Rome is the 16th century Fort Michelangelo, which was built to the order of Pope Julius II Della Rovere; the construction was started by Bramante, continued by Sangallo the Younger and by Guiliano Leno. The fort was completed by Michelangelo, who was accountable for the impressive keep during the papacy of Paul III. It was also one of the greatest during the period if on the subject of power and grandeur. The remains of a Roman villas and the tomb of St. Fermina was also discovered inside this fort. St. Fermina was persecuted by the Diocletian, and is the favorite saint of Civitavecchia’s people.
The port itself lies around the fort, partly following the design of the one of Trajan’s period. This is where visitors can find the old city walls built under Pope Urban VIII, as well as Vanvetelli’s designed fountain. A little further and one can find a fish market, the remnants of Porta Livorno or the Leghorn Gate, remains of the Horrea (huge Roman warehouses), and the Roman Harbor, the sanctuary of finely equipped fishing fleet. There is a lot more to explore and adventure on in Civitavecchia Rome, so take a journey into one of Rome’s unique places to visit, and experience a rather subtle side of Rome.