Ostia--Rome's Port Town

1:37:00 PM Unknown 3 Comments

According to Rick Steves', Ostia is a big "missed opportunity".  13 miles west of Rome, sitting on the Mediterranean Sea and at the mouth of the Tiber River, Ostia was Rome's port city.  Ostia was a working town with warehouses and markets, but like all Roman cities it had a theater and baths for the locals.  Ostia has been compared to Pompeii because of its preservation, the difference being Ostia wasn't covered by volcanic ash, but rather mud.  As the empire fell, the river silted up and the city eventually filled in with mud. This helped to preserve the entire town.  It's not as splendid as Pompeii; it's lacks the wall paintings and colorful mosaics,  but it's also much easier to get to--If you are crunched for time, Ostia is only 30 minutes by train from Rome.  Bob and I went out early one morning and the entire trip took us just over 3 hours.  If we hadn't been so pressed for time I would have stayed longer, but 2 hours onsite allowed us to see the highlights.
I am fascinated by the mundane, at least ancient mundane.  Those are ceramic pipes on the left used to heat the bathing complex.  Top pic is a drain cover.  As Ostia was a port town the goods and services sold here were of a nautical nature therefore most of the mosaics are appropriately themed.

Theater complex.  Anciently you would not have seen that treed area. There was a tall stage in front of the semi-circular orchestra blocking the view behind.
 The local pub--Roman's didn't have kitchens, instead they  ate out at small cafes like this one.
It really couldn't be easier to get to Ostia--Take the blue or B line to Piramide. When you get off the train, head up the stairs and literally make a U-turn to the regional train heading towards Ostia.  They all go in the direction of Ostia, so get on which ever is leaving next and get off at the Ostia Antica stop.  Leaving the Ostia Antica station there will be a foot bridge to your right...cross it and follow the signs to the Archaeological site. Best thing, it only costs the price of a metro ticket, so about €1.50 each way.

That sign below was on the entrance gate into the city.  Those small niches held the remains of their cremated dead.

This alter was used for animal sacrifice then the entrails would then be read by the temple priests.
You can read what Rick Steves' has to say about Ostia here.


  1. So interesting! Enjoyed your photos and commentary

  2. Just popped in to say that Ostia is not outside Rome - it's a neighbourhood like any other which faces the Tyrrhenian sea (and not the Mediterranean per se). Anyway, loved your trip report! :-)

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