Ostia Antica: the ancient Roman harbor in Rome
One of Fantastica Italia's favorite archaeological sites in Italy is the Roman port town of Ostia Antica. Rome has so much to see, but Ostia is only 45 minutes out of the city and definitely worth making the trip for. It’s a wonderful sight and makes for a peaceful day away from the noise of Rome...and it is a train stop from the beach as well.
Ostia was founded in about 620 B.C., where the mouth of the Tiber river once was. The town was named after its location, Ostia meaning “mouth” in Latin. The shoreline has since moved seawards, due to silting, so Ostia today lies three kilometres from the Tiber. In fact Ostium in Latin means "river's mouth".
Initially, Ostium wasn't a city but a castrum, a military fort for defense and control. The first village was near one of the most precious products of ancient times: salt. Ostia's salt pans were a great source of wealth for Romans.
A visit to Ostia gives the visitor a better idea of how Romans built cities. You can visit a bakery that served bread to thousands, or a set of public toilets that served dozens of bread-bloated Romans at a time...We find it really interesting!
Preservation of Ostia Antica is very good. You'll be able to climb to the top of apartment buildings called insule to peer down into street-level bars and snack shops. You can almost imagine the people in the picture coming home from work.
If you are planning on spending more than 3 nights in Rome, Ostia Antica is definitely not to miss!