One of the most popular day trips from Rome is a visit to Ostia Antica. This ancient city is easily accessible from the city. To get to Ostia Antica ride the metro to the Piramide station, located on the Metro Line B. Here exit the metro and go up the stairs/escalators at the north end of the tracks. Once at the top, head LEFT and you’ll see a different set of tracks. This is the ROMA-LIDO (beach) train. Your metro pass can be used on this train… and it will take you to the Ostia Antica station. The trains leave about every 15 minutes during peak season.
Once you exit at the Ostia Antica station (about 25-30 minutes usually), it’s a short walk – less than 1/2 mile – to the Ostia Antica site. You’ll exit the station, then cross a pedestrian bridge, then go straight until you hit the parking lot, and turn left to get to the entrance. Note – If you stay on this train all the way to the end of the ROMA-LIDO line (C. Colombo Station), you’re directly across the street from the Mediterranean Sea!
This is a map of the Ostia Antica grounds; Note the signage welcoming you to the Porta di Roma, as that’s what is was in ancient times! You’ll find this sign just after you enter the site. Ostia Antica is so quiet and peaceful, quite a change after the “bustle” that is Rome today. The entrance fee is currently €6.50 for site and museum. The site is CLOSED on Mondays.
When you are out here there are no telephone poles in sight. It’s almost eerie… until you realize you are in the landing path of FCO… although the noise from the jets is not noticeable. Note this contrast between ancient day technology and current day technology in this picture!
This is the entry path leading from the ticket booth. As you can see, there are very large “cobblestones” to walk on so definitely wear some comfortable shoes. You can also see a small glimpse of just how big this site is! Be prepared to walk – and bring water with you. I would also dress in layers as it can get hot once the day warms up. You’re only a couple of miles from the sea!
In many places the ruins of Ostia are even more defined than Pompeii. If you can’t do the “all day” trip to Pompeii, then this is a great substitute. We like Ostia Antica because it’s convenient, but also far less crowded. Yes, these pictures were taken in February, but we’ve been out there in season and the crowds are NOTHING like Pompeii.
You’ll find many walkways, streets, and paths all through Ostia. If you like, you can explore this area for hours! By the 2nd century AD this city had grown to almost 100,000 residents so the “sprawl” is huge!
Here is an beautiful mosaic floor in great shape. Throughout the park you will stumble upon finds like these. The detail is amazing and some date from the 2nd century AD. Incredible!
A beautiful path in Ostia – Ostia” in Latin means “mouth”. At the mouth of the River Tiber, Ostia was the seaport of Rome. As a result of the silting of the Tiber, the seaport “moved” to the current town of Ostia. This site is now about 2 miles from the Mediterranean Sea.
Here’s another incredible mosaic. There is evidence suggesting that Ostia was founded by by Ancus Marcius, the fourth king of Rome, in the 7th century BC. There are ruins that date as far back as the 4th century B.C. in Ostia Antica. These mosaics are from a later period in the development of the city.
Okay, so these two pictures are of the public toilets in Ostia Antica – Yep, they had a very impressive “sewage” system, even back in this time. The toilet seats, side-by-side, are made of marble. There are many, many toilets in this one area…. In fact, I would say there are more public toilets in these pictures than in 1 square mile of current day Rome – LOL!
Outside the cafe’/gelateria/gift shop located on the grounds of Ostia Antica you’ll usually find these wild dogs. They are pretty docile and harmless and most often are laying around in the sun. Tourists feed them – so they naturally hang out at the cafe’. It may be unnerving if you’re a cat person!
The Amphitheater in Ostia Antica is beautiful. And it’s a great place to have lunch. When we go to the site, a group of us pack a couple of bottles of wine, water, sandwiches, chips, etc. and we sit here – as you seem folks on the left side of this picture doing. You have a GREAT view (see below) and it’s a wonderful spot to absorb the “magic” that is Ostia Antica!
From the top of the amphitheater looking down, you get a wonderful view of the Market Square. To think that events went on here 2,000 years ago and folks sat in these same seats is incredible!
In the main square, the marketplace, you can see these mosaics which detail what is sold in each shop. Most Romans were illiterate, so pictures were the solution rather than words. Around this square you can still see the mosaics of bakers, vegetable vendors, and here – a shop that sells fish.
After a long day exploring Ostia Antica, simply retrace your steps back to the Metro Station. You’ll go to the opposite platform and ride the ROMA-LIDO train back to the Piramide Metro Station and connect from there. It’s an easy, and an exhilarating, trip. Ostia Antica is an incredible experience – Go have a GREAT time!
Header: Ostia Antica – Photo by Jari Kurittu
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