Any Mediterranean cruise will offer you a star studded raft of ports, sprinkled across its sparkling blue carpet like so many fabulous stepping stones. The sights, sounds and lifestyle of this entire enchanted region will stay with you long after you leave it behind. Yet, of all the sights on your voyage of discovery, none will affect and stamp itself into your memory like Rome.
The drive in from the port of Civitavecchia is pleasant enough, with a gentle, rolling landscape dotted with numerous farms and small villages. But the city of emperors and empires emerges like some giant exclamation mark, taking you on what is in many ways, two different journeys at the same time.
Modern Rome has some of the smartest shopping in the world, and a vibrant café society that would make it a stand out destination alone. Gangs of scooters zoom by like so many maddened wasps, stung to action by the summer heat. Local children and tourists alike cannot resist the fabulous local gelato.
And all of this is played out against a stunning, colossal backdrop of the city's imperial and renaissance past. St. Peter's is flanked by the cool, ordered elegance of the columns that crown the approaches to Bernini's stunning courtyard. Piazza Navona is a riot of fountains studded with renaissance statuary, and ringed by cafes. Nearby is the quiet, majestic Pantheon, a sublime escape from all the joyful madness outside.
The Forum today is a skeletal rump of stunted, Doric columns glinting eerily in the mid day sun. Not too far way, the ruined, hulking grandeur of the Colosseum still looms over the city, just as it did in the days when mock naval battles were staged there, as well as gladiator fights, chariot races and all the other gruesome ‘spectator sports' that brought out the Romans in their thousands. Today, the scooters that buzz past its crumbling, mesmerising façade merely emphasise that Rome is both a vibrant, modern city and an astounding trip back in time, both in the same instant. One visit will never be enough.
Ensure you return by throwing a coin in Trevi Fountain, just like Audrey Hepburn, or maybe take in the sweeping Spanish Steps. Many cruises now start or finish in this amazing city port, allowing you to add on a couple of days before or after your cruise.
Those more curious can also choose to follow the trail so enigmatically laid out in the Da Vinci code, or explore the grim glut of catacombs that wind through the city's dark underbelly. More contemporary, if much less imposing, is the balcony from where Mussolini used to harangue his increasingly less than enthusiastic people over three decades.
If you would like more information on cruises to Rome, please call one of our Cruise Experts on 0800 008 6677.