Civitavecchia Shore Excursion
This Civitavecchia day trip is for those whose interest lies in Ancient Roman life. Stops include the Etruscan Necropolis at Cerveteri, a UNESCO World Heritage Site followed by a visit at the ancient port of Rome, Ostia Antica.
Your first stop today is Cerveteri, once one of Italy's greatest Etruscan cities, with origins dating back from the 9th century B.C. The eerie and haunting Necropolis of Cerveteri, also known as the "city of the dead", was built between the seventh and third centuries B.C. Walking down the narrow terraced streets you'll discover that the tombs are like rooms in an Etruscan home. The major illuminated tombs are signposted and have steps which allow access. The majority of the tombs contain stone beds with carved pillows, some even contain stone chairs. The finest tomb, Tomba Bella, is the burial ground for the Matuna family. Common household articles and even house pets were painted in stucco relief. Presumably, these items were representations of items needed for the family in their afterlife.
Next you drive to the to the archaeological park of Ostia Antica. There is a caf̩e on site where you can enjoy a break and some lunch under the umbrella pine trees.
Historians believe that Ostia Antica reaches far back in time to about 6th Century B.C., when King Ancus Martius founded it as the first Roman colony. The oldest remains (the fortified citadel), however, date back to the 4th Century B.C. The name Ostia comes from Latin meaning "mouth" as named because it was located at the mouth of the Tiber River. The residents of Ostia were ship owners, craftsmen, merchants, laborers, freed-men and slaves speaking many different languages and practicing different religions. Ostia served as the gateway for all the riches from the far corners of the Roman Empire. Ostia has a very cosmopolitan feel which can be seen in the temples and shrines dedicated to the Persian, Phrygian, Egyptian gods, as well as the local gods. At one point in time, Ostia had around 80,000 residents.
These ruins and excavations are very extensive and can rival those at Pompeii. There are many wonderfully preserved mosaic floors, frescoes, statues and private and public buildings, including a gymnasium with men's and women's bathrooms, a necropolis, temples, a bar, patrician homes and a Jewish synagogue. One of the most important features in Ostia are the warehouses, which, during Ostia's hey-day, were full of goods from all over the Roman Empire. Due to the important nature of the goods, a fire station was built to protect these goods in case of fire. Among the many sites you will see at Ostia are the Roman Theatre (seating for 4,500), used for concerts in the summer, as well as the Square of the Corporations displaying mosaics depicting the specialties of all of the offices of the nearly 75 merchants. There is a small museum at Ostia Antica which houses many of the sculptures and frescoes found at the site.
Ostia flourished for about 8 centuries before it began to wither away. Eventually Ostia became a hot bed for malaria, a buried ghost town that faded into history. In the 19th century a papal-sponsored commission launched a series of digs to unearth Ostia, however, most of the major work was done under Mussolini. The city is only partially dug out today, but most believe that the major monuments are uncovered.
Note: The sites have audio guides for those who wish to gain maximum knowledge about the sites.
Mobility: NO wheelchairs
If you cannot find what you are looking for, our Civitavecchia Shore Excursions can also be customized to fit your needs. If you have a larger group, we can offer you a private Civitavecchia tour using a mid-size bus or full size coach. Please contact us with any questions or to receive a customized quote.