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Ostia Antica, Rome's answer to Pompeii, is a must see

By Tuesday, 02 April 2024 10:16

The ancient harbour-city of Ostia Antica is Rome's answer to Pompeii and is a must-see archaeological site.

The ancient site is just 30 kilometres from Rome

Ostia Antica is quite easy to reach from the capital. Being just some 30 kilometres away, it is close to Rome’s international Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino airport. The ancient site is just half an hour from the city on the trains that depart every 20 minutes from Rome’s Piramide train station, which connects with the Metro Line B. This ancient harbour-city, which once had over 100,000 inhabitants, was an important naval and trading base, built by the emperor Claudius on the coast in 42 A.D., and today is the Ostia Antica Archaeological Park. 

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An example of what an ancient Roman city looked like

Not to be confused with the little borgo (town) of Ostia Antica which is a five-minute walk away and developed around the medieval Castle of Pope Julius II, it is worth spending two or three hours walking around the ancient Roman town and port. The site is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10.30 o 16.30, and audio guides in various languages are available at the entrance. While it is less majestic than Pompeii, what makes it quite unique is that it is one of the best examples of what an ancient Roman town looked like. Visitors can see the layout of the different city neighbourhoods such as the business district, residential apartment buildings and aristocratic villas exactly where they were originally built. 

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The ancient theatre is the symbol of Ostia Antica

Many of the buildings have been preserved up to the second floor, adding to the sense of what the city really looked like, and there are remains of mosaic floors and columns throughout the site.The Decumanus maximum which was the ancient main street has religious buildings shops and warehouses, and the forum or main square has the remains of a large temple. Ostia Antica’s most symbolic building is the theatre and it is still used for concerts and theatrical performances during the summer months. 

Ostia Lido is a popular seaside resort

The modern town of Ostia, also called Ostia Lido, a few kilometres west of the park is on the sea. It has modern apartment blocks, commercial streets and many rental homes and apartments, and for its golden sands and lido beaches it is a popular day-tripper destination from Rome. For information: www.ostiaantica.beniculturali.it

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