FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Ostia Antica

Posted in Italy, Rome by folkestonejack on October 3, 2013

A day trip to Ostia Antica, the harbour city of ancient Rome, provided a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the modern city (well, if you ignore the occasional plane coming in to land at Fiumicino). It was remarkably easy to get to the site which can be reached in thirty minutes by train from Porta San Paolo railway station on the Roma-Lido suburban line. From the railway station it is just a five minute walk to the gates of the ancient city.

It is quite something to be able to walk down the cobbled main street of a city that has long been abandoned, exploring remarkable buildings on each side. It takes a while for the full scale of the site to hit you, even when you have been staring at the map for a while. Once you get up to a higher viewpoint and see the spread of the city it is quite astonishing (and impossible to replicate in any photo!).

Ostia Antica: a city awaiting exploration

Ostia Antica: a city awaiting exploration

In a moment of genius I had forgotten to load a memory card after downloading yesterday’s photos, so it was down to the assistant photographer to record the occasion on his mobile phone. In many ways it was a good thing – without a camera I could focus on navigating us on our wander through the site and enjoying the remarkable sights. Even so, it was hard to resist composing pictures in my head from time to time!

The map available at the ticket office is well worth the two euros it costs as it can be hard to orient yourself once you are amongst the buildings and it really helps you to focus on the key buildings that you need to see. That said, we found plenty of fascinating buildings not marked on the map too! It took us a good five hours to feel like we had done the place any kind of justice and probably still missed plenty.

The rather wonderful Ostia Antica website includes plenty of fascinating information and a superb free tourist guide that gives some of the background on the buildings in the city.

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