Ostia Antica, Rome Overview

Ostia Antica is now an archaeological site which once served as the harbour city of Rome. The town which was once buried for ten centuries is now located 25 kilometres southwest of Rome. The word Ostia or ‘os’ is a latin word for mouth, hence the name of the town since it was at the mouth of the river Tiber. However, it is now situated 3 kilometres away from the sea as a result of siltification. It was one of the most important cities in ancient Rome since it acted as a harbour point for Rome as the city did not have any of its own. However after the fall of the empire, people eventually started leaving the city and it has remained abandoned for centuries.

Many features of the centuries old city still remains for the public to see now. The main arterial street which used to be the most crowded is still there now with houses, shops and restaurants on its sides that were once bustling with traders. There are public latrines, public baths, open air theatres, churches and temples of very unique and ancient designs. These designs give us insight of how the people lived during those times.

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History

During the period of 509 BC - 27 BC under the rule of Julius Caesar and Tiberus, Ostia Antica was the main port for Roman Republic. That time the city had good access of grain and the economy was improving. There were docks, markets, houses, theatres and complexes where traders and shopkeepers came in huge numbers. Even under Tiberius’s rule, Ostia flourished even better. However after his death, the next few rulers introduced other new ports that had now started getting more importance than Ostia Antica. Hence people started evacuating the place to other ports and the main city of Rome. A Malaria epidemic also started spreading that led to further abandonment of the city. Ostia was forgotten for many centuries until now when it was recently rediscovered.

Tips

  1. Take a cab to the site.
  2. Book tickets online on the website.
  3. Wear comfortable footwear as there would be a lot of walking to do.

How to Reach Ostia Antica

Metro: Piramide (line B) and then take the Roma Lido commuter train to Ostia Antica. From there it is at a walking distance of 500 metres.

It is recommended to hire a car or take a cab since it is outside the city and there isn’t much availability of public transport.

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