This is the best B&B experience that I can remember. And I have enormous gratitude for the support Adrian gave me when I lost everything to a Rome pickpocket and needed help.
Location 10 - central, an 11 min walk from the beach and train station, a supermarket and ATM across the street, 3 minutes to bus stops to nearby towns
Facilities 10 - Large room, well designed, fully furnished, recently renovated, kitchen well-supplied for cooking - even with fresh garlic, and everything perfectly clean, polished, and organized.
Quality sleep 10
Breakfast and kitchen 10 - Breakfast sensitive to my dietary needs, and everything you might want to cook occasional meals
B&B host 10 plus - service beyond the normal with compassionate equanimity.
A solo, after 6 weeks of touring, I wanted a quiet place in Italy to immerse myself in Italian life.
Why Civitavecchia for an extended stay?
The paradox: While Civitavecchia is a cruise ship port city with excellent connections to Rome and the rest of Italy, its tourist multitudes flow from ship to bus, train, plane or rental car with few stopping for a meal or an overnight in seaside hotels and restaurants leaving Civitavecchia primarily local. I wanted to immerse myself in a small, tourist-free Italian city by the sea, where I could walk the streets, get the feel of the place, its common sights, noises, smells, the sound of the language, to learn to read signs, menus, and newspaper headlines, and where and how to shop for groceries and other necessities.
But is there enough in and around Civitavecchia to justify a two-week stay in this small town on a first visit to Italy? Well, it depends on your values, interests, lifestyle. I can share my perspective. I had had enough of tourist crowds and lines, and frequent changes of cities. While, of course, I wanted to see Italy’s great cities, churches, ruins, museums and spectacular geography and to taste the regional foods and wines, I found that my June visit slot was already crowded with tourists in all these places. I was told that Cinq Terre felt more crowded than St. Peter's Basilica. I decided that quality visits to popular destinations would require return trips in late October or in April. So be it.
Adrian’s website shares his research on points of interest in the city and neighboring medieval towns less than 30 minutes away. The first night he sent me to Pan, Amore Y Fantasia for the best dinner of the trip in a totally local restaurant complete with a large family in extended celebration. Then there were easy day trips by bus to nearby Tolfa and Tarquinnia - quality medieval towns with almost no tourists. Of course I made a day trip to Rome, an hour away by modern train, but finding hordes of tourists and long lines at all popular sites, I walked my 25,000 steps around city highlights and between them using tourist-free side streets and ate in local restaurants saving the inside attractions till low season.
While the weather was generally fine, I’m sensitive to direct sun, so my perfect days were often arising early and walking to the Tyrrhenian Sea 12 min away and walking the long shoreline sometimes on the promenade and sometimes at the water line from the port to the southern reaches of the city, and then finding my way to San Georgio Hotel for a quality breakfast from 6:30 am to about 10:45 am. Many mornings, an umbrella protected table on their balcony overlooking the sea was one of my finest offices in memory. With laptop and notebook, I was able to keep a journal, write a trip blog, keep up correspondence, and to read and watch videos about Italy and its history.
Adrian and my Rome Adventure
As Adrian saw me off to walk to the train for Rome, he clearly warned me about the highly skilled pickpockets in Rome. Having invested in a pickpocket-proof Scottevest, I was confident that I had protected myself. However, after 25,000 steps I stopped in a local restaurant for a late dinner. After paying, and getting up in my well-fatigued condition, I inadvertently put my wallet in my side pocket as I do at home--not in the Scottevest. Nuff said. One bump in a mini-market near the train station and my wallet likely changed pockets there.
Adrian had experience in these matters. He guided me through the necessary steps, lent me the money for a trip to the Canadian Consultate in Rome, wrote a note requesting the proper police report, sent me to the less busy police station at the Civitavecchia train station, and was calm and supportive in other ways. While he was willing to trust me to pay my owing rents and repay his loan him till I had returned home, I found an easy way to pay him and send myself extra cash through him using PayPal. Adrian’s grace helped me find perspective in my situation, that I was one of the many thousands who had lost their wallets in Rome. It may seem strange but I very much enjoyed meeting three police officers at the station. They were interested and helpful, joked, and showed each other photos on our smartphones. Also staff at the Canadian consulate were wonderful. Fortunately, I had photocopies of my passport, citizenship, and birth certificate and they were able to provide emergency travel documents within 24 hours. During the two-hour wait in their offices, I met the other five Canadians who had to replace their passports that day. We had a great time sharing our stories and laughing. Luckily my loss was only a couple of days before my flight home. Otherwise, it would have been a different matter.
Overall, my two weeks stay in Civitavecchia, most of it at B&B Civitavecchia, was just what I wanted and needed. A "10" experience.