Ostia Antica is a great day trip destination for visitors
to Rome. It has been described
as Rome"s Pompeii. Although
it does not have the volcano eruption, it does have all
of the history and archaeological
wonder, plus a modern touch.
The history of Ostia Antica is wrought with intrigue. This town has seen the likes of Roman emperors Trajan and Constantine, and even pirates. This charming area, only miles from Rome, is an ancient port town on Italy"s western shore near the mouth of the Tiber River. Legend says that Ostia Antica was founded by the fourth king of Rome in the seventh century BCE, though archaeological finds only date back to the fourth century BCE. In its time, the harbor at Ostia was an extremely important harbor for commercial goods. In fact, it was three times larger than the town of Pompeii. At one time, the harbor at Ostia was the main port for goods entering and exiting Rome.
Somehow after hundreds of years of sacking, razing, and then being rebuilt, the ruins of Ostia Antica still stand as a reminder of the centuries that this ancient town has withstood. Today, thanks to the dropping of sediments along the coast, Ostia Antica is no longer a coastal town, but in fact lies inland, almost two miles. Though the ancient city is no longer on the shore of the sea, it is still located near the Tiber River. A modern town has also been built within the last 150 years called Ostia Lido. Visitors to this area can enjoy the site of an ancient Roman city as well as the site of a quaint modern Italian town.
The ruins of the ancient harbor at Ostia are a popular destination and a top contender for things to do for visitors seeking a few hours outside of the bustling city of Rome. Visitors can get to Ostia Antica from Rome with great ease. This little-known wonder is located only about 30 minutes from Rome, by modes of transportation that are easy to take. A train can be taken on the Rome-Lido railway line allows visitors to easily get to Ostia Antica from Rome. During the summer, a boat ride from the city center, down the Tiber River, and to Ostia Antica is also offered.
The ruins of Ostia Antica, which span over 10,000 acres, are open to the public seven days a week. Admission to the site is reasonable. Visitors are encouraged to wear good walking shoes and to allow a couple of hours for strolling through the ruins. Guided tours are also offered, or visit the onsite store to purchase a guidebook to help you understand what you are looking at. Once inside, visitors can easily take a step into the past. This area has been greatly preserved. Buildings present amongst the ruins include those of bathhouses, an amphitheater, a forum, and temples. Preservation has been so great that some buildings still display artwork, such as many detailed mosaics, still intact. Ancient apartment buildings are still standing. Visitors could find it hard to keep their minds in the present era.
After a stroll through ancient Ostia, a stroll through modern Ostia is a good idea. The town offers several dining establishments, a number of bars, and even a outside theater that showcases small productions during the evenings in the summer. It is a great destination for visitors wanting to witness both the old and new Italy outside of Rome. A trip to Ostia Antica from Rome will easily be worth some time.