Christine, my pastry-chef wife, and I will be the "culinary talent" on a Silversea cruise next year, May 29-June 5. We will be conducting cooking classes, on shore culinary explorations and other food related activities. The ports of call are Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy • Sorrento, Italy • Taormina, Italy • Day at Sea • Kotor, Montenegro • Dubrovnik, Croatia • Venice (overnight), Italy. I will be posting interesting points of interest on each port of call and some of the culinary options in each of those ports. For more information, log on to my web page and click on the link for the cruise.
Our port of departure is Civitavecchia, the port of Rome. The port is located about 50 miles from Rome and serves as a major port for cruise lines in the Mediterranian area. In planning your trip, allow a few days to see the sites of Rome.
Civitavecchia is the ancient port that has served Rome over 2000 years. The architectural heritage of the city was badly damaged during World War Two but still has a few sites worth a visit as well as a museum.
The massive Forte Michelangelo ("Michelangelo's fort") was first commissioned from Bramante by Pope Julius II, to defend the port of Rome, and was completed in 1535 by Giuliano Leno and Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, under Paul III. The upper part of the "maschio" tower, however, was designed by Michelangelo, whose name is generally applied to the fortress. The edifice, measuring 100 x 82 m, has four towers with a diameter of 21 m. The main tower, of octagonal shape, has sides of 12 m. The walls have an impressive thickness of 6-7.6 m. The fortress was built over an ancient Roman construction, probably the barracks of the classiarii ("mariners") of the Imperial Fleet.
The Rocca ("castle"), re-built in the late 15th century by Pope Sixtus V. A Palazzo Apostolico was added by Pius IV in the 16th century.
The cathedral of San Francesco d'Assisi was built by the Franciscans over a pre-existing small church built from 1610. The current edifice, with Baroque-Neoclassical lines, was erected in the eighteenth century.
North of the city at Ficoncella are the Terme Taurine baths frequented by Romans and still popular with the Civitavecchiesi. The modern name stems from the fig plants among the various pools.
Next to the town is the location of the cruise ship docks that service all of the Rome area. All major cruise lines start and end their cruises at this location, and many others stop for shore excursion days that allow guests to see Rome and Vatican sights, which are about 90 minutes away.