Welcome to Rome Day 2 – Ostia Antica! I’m super excited because I will be writing about my favorite place in Rome. (If you haven’t read about Day 1, where we visit Vatican City and Trevi Fountain, you can find it here, or Part 1 of Day Two here, where we visit Colosseum, Roman Forum and the Pantheon.)
Are you a history geek? Do you love ancient sites? What about a tranquil park with minimal crowds? If your answer is yes to any of those questions, you’ll love Ostia.
To be honest, I would not have heard about Ostia if our packed itinerary didn’t allow time to visit Pompeii. My sister heard about an alternative to Pompeii that was close to Rome, so we did some research, and there you went! Ostia was perfect.
Getting there is easy – a simple 45-min metro/train ride from central Rome to Ostia. Take Metro line B to Piramide (15 mins), exit the Metro, and follow signs to Lido – continue to the Roma-Lido train station. All trains depart every 15 minutes and stop at Ostia Antica (30 mins). Leave the station and walk over the skybridge; after that just head straight and you’ll find the parking lot and entrance. Better still, use Google Maps to guide you,which I did.
The Roman countryside is a far cry from central Rome. It was tranquil, serene, and the pace of life slowed down quite a few notiches. Listen closely and you can hear bird song. A much-welcomed break from the constant hustle of Rome.
The moment we arrived at the train station, we knew we were in the Roman countryside. The air was fresher, there wasn’t the constant whirr of car engines, and there was a lot of open, green space. Also, some funky-looking flowers that look like they might chomp my finger off.
Ostia Antica was a thriving ancient Roman port town. It offered the complete Roman experience: baths, shopping arcades, apartments, and public bathrooms with plumbing.
Armed with my Rick Steves Rome guidebook (there is a dedicated section for Ostia Antica), we entered the ancient ruins…
You start your journey at the Necropolis. Yeah, it’s what it sounds. Cool, huh? An ancient cemetery!
Then you’ll pass the Warehouses, where they stored wares, horses etc. Walk further and you’ll reach the Baths of Neptune, Theater, Guilds, Shopping Arcades, an actual ancient cafe, and a Museum.
You can also find ancient public bathrooms. Water flowed through and flushed waste away. Such was the genius of ancient Romans. The seats are made from real marble!
Look for an actual ancient cafe, complete with a small patio for al fresco dining!
Photography at Ostia Antica
Ostia Antica is a mecca for photography enthusiasts. The ancient history of the site lends itself to some dramatic photos.
Ostia Antica was a dream for the photography geek in me. So much ambience! So much mystic!!
It was amazing how well the ruins were preserved. The Roman government did a great job. I can’t wait to return with my DSLR.
Cats at Ostia Antica
There was a little cafe at the far end of Ostia Antica, where several stray cats hung out. The cafe was closed when we got there, but being crazy cat ladies, of course we had to check the kitties out…
The museum was closed when we got to it, which gives us extra reason to come back soon. I will be back, Ostia.
On our way back to central Rome, we got a glimpse of Roman traffic. Let’s just say I’m never hopping behind the wheel in Rome.
I hope you enjoyed the photos. I didn’t bring my clunky DSLR – we used our iPhones – but I definitely will next time.
Next up: Florence, Italy. Home to the Renaissance and SO MUCH BEAUTY. Another one of my favorites.
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This post is part of a whirlwind 14-day trip in Western Europe with my sister prior to her exchange programme in Glasgow, Scotland. Thank you for a trip of a lifetime!! (And here’s to many more!!)
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