It's hard to say what to do with just one day in Rome. There is so much to see! However, it is relatively easy to get from the cruise ship port to Rome -- a journey of less than an hour. Take the train from Civitavecchia into Rome's Termini station right in the heart of the city.
The Roman Forum and the Colosseum:
Termini is a huge train station. From here grab a cab or take the city bus (the cab would be easier), and have them drop you off at the Colosseum. BUT go to the Forum first. The lines are really long to get into the Colosseum, but much shorter at the Forum. Buy your tickets for both the Forum and the Colosseum at the Palatine ticket booth. This will get you in to both the Colosseum and the Forum and will allow you to skip the lines at the Colosseum. The Palatine Hill is also interesting if you are going to make a longer day of it. It's a wonderful place to take photos of the Forum below.
I've marked a great place for lunch on the map called Pizza Rustica. It is cheap and they have good food -- pizza for the kids and great gyros, too. There isn't much seating inside, but if you cross the street, there are benches outside the church across the street: San Clemente.
This fabulous church is beautiful inside, but it is underneath where things get really exciting. Beneath the Basilica of San Clemente is a fascinating museum there which really illustrates how old Rome is -- and how many layers of history are under every street. In the museum you can see the excavations under the church -- three layers of the city including a mithraeum and an ancient Roman apartment.
Rome is built layer upon layer upon layer – and you have to dig down to truly appreciate how old and rich the city is.
San Pietro in Vincoli:
You shouldn't go to Rome without seeing some great art, and Michelangelo's Moses is within walking distance of the Colosseum. It is in San Pietro in Vincoli. Getting up the hill is a bit of a hike, and the church doesn't look like much from the outside, but Moses is definitely worth seeing.
I've marked a few other places on the map that may be of interest, too, including:
- The Piazza del Campidoglio
- The Mamertine Prison
- The Arch of Constantine
Check out the Italy Cruise Week map for all of the locations listed here and more!
View Cruise Week: Italy in a larger map
- A Journey into Michelangelo’s Rome by Angela K. Nickerson: It will give you some context for the places you’ll see and the monuments you will visit. Plus, it was written by me, your friendly, neighborhood travel blogger!
- Ancient Rome on 5 Denarii a Day by Philip Matyszak: funny, factual, and fascinating -- this is a great look at the Roman Empire from a tourist's perspective.
- Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr: a wonderful account of Doerr's year living in Rome, writing and growing into fatherhood. Check out my interview with Doerr, too.
- Rome (the HBO/BBC series): compelling television! This series explores the politics and intrigue of ancient Rome through the entanglements of a prominent family. It's fiction that feels real! But, parents be warned: this is not for children.
Questions about Rome? Post them here!
Tomorrow: our final stop, Livorno...