This classic bit of Roman architecture signifies the entrance to the Aphrodite Temple. There are so many bits and pieces to view in this ancient port town with a variety of architectural styles but devoid of palaces and churches.
The ancient city of Ostia Antica was about 2,700 years ago just a place to mine salt from a series of tidal salt flats. Then Rome discovered, conquered, colonized the area and developed Ostia into the port of Rome. It was here that all the wheat arrived from Egypt to feed the eternal city. It was also here where all those Egyptian obelisks scattered around Rome passed customs. To handle the trade in wheat and obelisks, the Romans had to have a port near the point where the Tiber River met the sea. Maybe the planners got the location right in their day, but now the sea is about 2 miles away. It is unknown whether having a missing sea, or a missing empire finally did in Ostia, but the city wasted away over the centuries, fell into ruins and was buried in mud. Long forgotten, the ruins for the most part sat there, unlike the ruins of Rome that were heavily quarried, carted off and recycled. You might call Ostia the Pompeii of the North. What you will find here are plenty of brick ruins, a cemetery, paved roads, some mosaics, some frescoes, an amphitheater, a museum, and baths if you allow about 3-4 hours for your trip. Unlike Pompeii, Ostia is vastly underappreciated, but very much worth a visit. Ostia Antica can be reached by cab from the nearby Fiumicino airport or using a train from Rome for a day trip.
Ostia Antica is the ruin of the ancient Roman port city of Ostia. It is at the mouth of the Tiber on the sea and the name Ostia means "the Mouths" in Latin. It grew to be a large and important city for centuries as Rome's port before the harbor silted up and it withered away. This left substantial ruinsm including apartment blocks, latrines, taverns, basilica, and the "Piazza dei Corporazione" (Italian name), the location of the shipping agents, with still-extant mosaics showing the agents' trade in elephants, grain, etc. It is easily reached by train from Porta San Paola train station (near the Pyramide metro stop).
If you are at all interested in Roman remains, I can't recommend a trip to Ostia highly enough.
Ostia is easily accessible...take the Metro to Piramide, then the overground commuter train from the adjoinging Stazione Ostiense to Ostia Scavi. The journe takes about 30 minutes, and will be covered by your day, 3-day or 7-day ticket...but the fare is very little even if you don't have one of those tickets. The site is about 5 minutes flat walk from Ostia Scavi station, and is well-signed. You can't get lost!
Ostia is the ancient port of Rome, a huge and wonderfully atmospheric site. Imagine a mini-Pompeii without the hordes of visitors, but still with shops, houses (some with second floors), cafes, a theatre, warehouses, baths, market hall, wall-paintings, temples, streets, mosaics, gardens, a palace, tombs on the street leading into the settlement...the list is vast. Ostia is a brilliant introduction to what a Roman town was *really* like, and its museum contains some truly beautiful sculptures
There are cafes and restaurants around, but I like to take a picnic, settle down in a shady place somewhere quiet and just dream myself back 2000 years.
My Ostia pages can be found here
Ostia Antica is a large archehological site where the oldest remains can be traced back to the 4th century BC it lies 20 miles from Rome
The whole Ostia sprawls over 10.000 acres, around a main street that runs for more that a mile. We didn't have a guide with us, and I only saw some of the ruins. I found it hard to believe that this was founded as a millitary colony I felt it was more like a cemetary.
intrance: 8,5 Euro.
Among the ruins of Ostica antica you can see the remains of a theatre. According to the historians, there was enough space for 4000 audients. Some parts of the theatre could be used for water shows.
I sat there for some minutes imaging how it would be sitting there xxxx years ago. And then I tried to connect with FB to update my status. It was a strange experience.
The ancient port of Ostia Antica is a must see! I do not know why this site is not mobbed. It is easy to get to from Rome and just AMAZING. After just a few hours here you will have a much better grasp of exactly what it was like to live in Rome at her height.
There are excellent mosaics, wall paintings, and tons of stabilized ruins. There is a nice museum and cafe as well.
Do not miss this if you visit Rome. It is an easy day trip.
Rome is cool and everything but the crowds at tourist sights can get to be a bit much. Thankfully a fellow VT'er informed me about this place called Ostia Antica. It is a well preserved ancient Roman port city that can be visited quite easily from downtown Rome. The area comprising Old Ostia is quite large, so I was able to kill two birds with one stone. Upon initially entering the site I wasn't so impressed, but as I walked a couple of kilometers down the old Roman roads and further into the ancient city the scale and grandeur of the place struck me. There are many little side trails to wandered down and explore and any number of buildings to look into: some sites have well preserved mosaics or paintings while other places have steps that can be climbed for good views of the whole area. I'm sure that I missed some places, but I did stumble upon a large theatre, a tavern, a site where they had a thermal spa and health center, etc.
Ostia was the ancient port city of Rome. Unlike Pompeii and Herculaneum, it wasn't devastated by a natural disaster like a volcanoe. It was however, eventually abandoned after continuous attacks by pirates. The harbor thus silted up as a result to a drop in sea level. Today, the city is a couple of miles from the sea and is quite well preserved. There are superb remnants of mosaics and wall paintings as well as the buildings themselves.
Take Metro to Piramide and then local train to Ostia Antica.
Budget enough time for this trip. I had originally planned to do Ostia Antica in the morning and a portion of the Appian Way in the afternoon. However, we spent the best part of the day in Ostia Antica by itself and we didn't even get to see everything.
I though that these were the best ruins in the Rome area. We decided to do this over Pompei due to the shorter travel time from Rome and the quality of the ruins. Ostia Antica was a port town that was abandoned when Rome fell and was silted in and remarkably well preserved.
Bring water and snacks because once you are in Ostia, it is no fun to backtrack out. There is a museum, restroom and snackbar outside of the Ostia ruins about half way through it (it is about where the theatre and Square of the Guilds are). The restrooms are good, but the snackbar expensive. We brought a liter of water and a few snacks in a backpack and were grateful we did.
Try to avoid the tour groups and get off of the main road/path throug Ostia. Back amongst the ruins it is like you are in a different world and you have it all to yourselves.
Highlights: Cemetery (right at the entrance/ticket booth area), Baths of Neptune (climb the steps to the top and look around - breathtaking), Theatre (breathtaking - good place for a short rest), Square of the Guilds (the tile murals are beautiful - ancient billboards), Kitchen (a picture from the area has been placed on the wall), Forum Baths (a picture of the ancient toilets are below).
This site has 1 extraordinary feature after another. Pick a nice day and have fun. There is little to no cover here if it rains.
I visited Ostia also at my first Rome-trip,but i had to come back-I love this place.It´s so fun to walk at the streets of the town,and wonder how it would have been to live here.I would have stayed forever,if my husband wouldn´t had enough..he likes these places also,but I´m worse of us..There a snack-bar.Quite simple selection,but not overpiced.
We had little troubles finding the right train here.There wasnt so good signs at trainstaion,and it took a while to understand,that it´s like a metro,even if it´s at trainstaion.
After walking around the ruins we went to Ostia centre by train and walked to beach.It took us an hour to find a public beach!!It´s unbeliveable,that if you want to swim quicly and then leave,you should pay allmost ten euros for that!We walked the wrong direction in the beach,if we would have went to left when came to beachstreet,we would have found the public beach quicly.When we found it,I swam for fifteen minutes,my husband hold our things(we didn´t dare to leave them)and then we left.It would have been expensive fifteen minutes at other beaches.
Time spent at Ostia Antica, ancient Rome's harvour town, is both fascinating and a lovely way to relax a little away from the pavements and crowds of the city. It's a huge site, you could easily spend a whole day here but even just a few hours will give you a good idea of the extent of the town, its importance to Rome and the workaday lives of its citizens.
Once a busy port at the mouth of the Tiber, siltage, disease, time and neglect saw the harbour abandoned and the town disappear under several metres of river sand and rubbish. The shoreline changed and today the town, although still lying on the Tiber, is 3 kilometres from the sea. Very much a working port, there are no great temples, public arenas or grand villas here, rather there are the functional buildings of commerce and workshops, housing for working folk and middle class officials and managers, communal baths and latrines and the usual mix of warehouses, shops, hotels, bars and brothels that you'll find in ports all over the world to this day. Mosaics floors lie open to the sky and fragments of sculpture are everywhere.
Excavations began in 1801, mostly for private gain and use - an marble statue for a garden here, a pillar and an inscribed tablet for a folly there, though some pieces did make their way to the museums of the Vatican and the Lateran. Controlled and serious excavation began in 1907 and continues to this day.
Ostia's an easy 45 minute's train ride from the centre of Rome. Take the metro to Piramide and then the follow the signs to the Roma-Lido station. A 1 euro ticket does for the whole journey. The entrance to the excavations is no more than a 5 minute walk from the Ostia Antica station.
There is a cafe within the site but , as I said, it's a huge place so you might well want to carry some water at least with you. Pick up a panini and some fruit along the way and you'll easily find yourself a quiet, shady spot for a picnic.
Wear a hat!