Discover the treasures of Ancient Ostia, guided by a multilingual expert. One of the best preserved sites of Roman antiquity, Ancient Ostia lies some 20 miles southeast of Rome, in the meadows between the Tiber river and the Tyrrhenian Sea. Once Rome's port city and outpost, the city was basically abandoned during the Barbarian invasions. Since no construction has taken place there for over 1,500 years, you’ll have the one-of-a-kind opportunity to see what an important city looked like during the height of the Roman Empire.
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Situated amongst cypress and Mediterranean pine trees, the ruins of what was once the port of ancient Rome reveal more than any other monument in the capital what everyday life must have been like in ancient times.
Leaving Rome along the Via del Mare leading to the sea it takes about 30 minutes to reach Ostia, the Roman city of the Imperial age whose Latin name Ostium means “mouth of the river.” The Latin name refers to the position the city had on the Tiber river in its early days – nowadays, a silty strip of land separates Ancient Ostia from the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Ostia was founded around the 7th century, and turned by king Ancus Marcius into a military colony to guard the river mouth against seaborne invasions. During the centuries when virtually all imports reached Rome via the Tiber, Ostia gained prominence as the domestic landing place for cargo ships. By the 2nd century AD, it had become a flourishing commercial center inhabited by upwards of 100,000 people, whose apartment buildings, taverns, and grocery shops are still intact. Ostia was a working city, the port of Rome.
The decline of Ostia began after the Barbarian invasions, when the port was abandoned and began to silt up. Ostia has had no continuing construction for over 1,500 years, which makes it a unique and perfect example of an ancient city. The archeological excavations undertaken at the beginning of the 19th century have brought the original city – a rare witness to 900 years of Roman civilization – back to light.
Your visit to Ostia Antica itself starts at Via delle Tombe which leads to the Porta Romana, one of the city's three gates. This is the beginning of the Decumanus Maximus, the main thoroughfare that crosses the city from north east to south west. Then you will arrive at the Terme di Nettuno where you can admire the beautiful black and white mosaics representing Neptune and Amphitrite, the theatre built by Agrippa, and the Forum which formed the center of the city.
Here you will discover the principal public buildings, Il Capitolium and the temple of Rome and Augustus, the Basilica and the large thermal baths. Near the forum square you will also find the House of Diana and the Thermopolium, an ancient Roman bar with a marble counter and a fresco depicting the fruit and foods that were sold there. At the end of Via dei Dipinti, the Museo Ostiense displays some of the ancient sculptures and mosaics found among the ruins.
After this fascinating stroll through the past you will be taken back to central Rome.
Price per person: € 60.00
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