The archaeological evidence found by scholars makes it certain that the territory on which Civitavecchia stands has been inhabited since the Neolithic. The city (known in Roman times as Centumcellae) was particularly loved by the emperor Trajan, who decided to settle in a villa near the port, which was under construction (the works on the port ended in 110). Since Roman times, the Civitavecchia area was renowned for the presence of the Terme della Ficoncella and Terme Taurine (or di Traiano).
In 828 the city was the object of the devastating raids of the Saracens: the invasion led the population to find shelter in the mountains and subsequently in a site called Cencelle. The inhabitants returned to Centumcellae (whose name was changed to Civitas Vetula) only in 889.
In the Renaissance period (but also later), it was the Papacy that gave new life and centrality to Civitavecchia, which underwent a process of militarization. Absolutely decisive in this sense were the interventions of Giulio II della Rovere (under whose reign the works of the Fort Michelangelo began), of Sixtus V (who in 1588 established the permanent papal fleet) and of Alexander VII, who endowed the city with a mighty arsenal.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century (1809), the annexation of the Papal State to the French Empire determined considerable advantages for Civitavecchia, especially at the infrastructural level: for example, the construction of the Chamber of Commerce, the Court and the station date back to this period. meteorological.
In 1859, thanks to the efforts made by Pius IX, the Civitavecchia-Rome railway section was built. It will be one of the last public works built in the area at the behest of a pope: on 16 September 1870, in fact, Civitavecchia was liberated by men led by General Nino Bixio, thus becoming Italian.
Battered by the bombings (76) which took place during the Second World War, the city has always stood out for the strong anti-fascist sentiment of its population.
As in many inhabited centers of the Belpaese, characteristic events take place every year in Civitavecchia. Among these it is necessary to mention the feast of Santa Fermina, patron saint of the city, during which a procession in costume takes place (at the end of the same, the statue of the saint is taken to the ancient lighthouse with the help of a tugboat).
Other notable recurrences are also the procession of the Dead Christ (on Good Friday), the "shepherdesses" (who go around the city singing on December 23), the markets of Epiphany and Santa Fermina , the Olympics of Culture and Talent and International Tour Film Festival.
In Civitavecchia a famous scene from the cult-movie "The second tragic Fantozzi" (1976) was shot : we refer to the disastrous launch of the ship by Countess Serbelloni Mazzanti Vien dal Mare.
As for the typical dishes, we can mention - among the many - the fish soup, the poached octopus, the stuffed squid, the "rigatelle" (= snails ) with sauce, the covered pizza and the dead beans. Among the wines, the main guides recommend Tarquinia DOC and Cerveteri DOC.