Ostia

Ostia is in Lazio, Italy, close to Rome's major airport of Fiumicino.

Ostia's ancient theatre

Understand

Not far from the center of Rome, Ostia is a residential area, the capital's beach, and a well-known "Tourist Port" with moorings for boats from 8 to 60 metres in length. It also contains many Roman ruins, dating back to the days when Ostia served as Rome's port (a function now taken over by Civitavecchia). Ostia Antica is one of Lazio's major attractions, less crowded and, for some, more enjoyable than the ruins of Pompeii. So if you can't make it down to Pompeii don't worry. Just head out to Ostia.

Italy might be a Catholic country, but you won't detect any religious conservatism in the skimpy bikinis on display here. There's a carnival atmosphere, with dance halls, cinemas, and pizzerias. The Lido is set off best at Castelfusano, against a backdrop of pinewoods, which provide the summer residence of the President of Italy. This stretch of shoreline is referred to as the Roman Riviera.

If you're flying out of Fiumicino, this town is a good stopover for the night before. You can return your rental car if need be, and catch a cab for a few minute, few kilometer ride to the airport, and forget about the trains and the traffic from Rome.

Get in

If you want to see both ancient and modern Rome, grab your swimsuit, towel, and sunblock, and take the Roma-Lido Train from Piramide/Porta San Paolo; ATAC tickets and passes for Rome are valid on this train. Departures are about every 15 minutes, or during Sunday and public holidays every 30 minutes, the trip takes about 40 minutes. The train lets you off across one of the highways that connects Rome with the coast. It's just a short walk to the Ostia Antica excavations. Later, board the train again to visit Lido di Ostia and the beach.

There is also a bus, number 070 departing from EUR Fermi (metro B) and going to the Castelporziano beach.

From the Fiumicino Airport there is a regional bus (COTRAL) departing from Terminal 2 heading to Ostia central station every 40 minutes, the trip takes about half-hour.

Get around

Beaches at Ostia are crowded during the summer months and are full of deck chairs and sunbeds that you have to rent. If you would like a bit more space and a chance to sit on the sand without paying for the privilege you can take a bus from the Cristoforo Colombo train station or hire a bike with specialized company for make a tour around this area. This heads south towards Torvaianica. After a couple of miles of beach and dunes that are closed to the public you come to public beach areas, the dunes of Castelporziano, These have good restaurants, toilets and showers and all the area is a natural reserve and the biggest pinewood in Rome (if you get lost ask for "Cancelli" everybody knows this area as this name)

See

Ostia Antica

Some of the ruins at Ostia Antica

Arriving from Rome, get off at Ostia Antica station, a couple of miles from the beach area. From 08.30. Closing time varies according to the season. Closed Mondays. Admission €8.00 (€4.00 for EU residents between 18 and 25), maps €2.

Originally a colony of Rome, Ostia grew to become the major port of the city. It was situated on the mouth of the Tiber, the word Ostia meaning mouth. The town's growth started in the late Republic, but expanded rapidly under the Emperors Claudius and Trajan. The town was deserted after Rome's fall in 476 AD, and the buildings fell into ruins which were in turn covered by sand and mud from the Tiber, preserving them. The ancient town remained farmland until excavations took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and now most of the old town is uncovered, giving the visitor an idea of what life was like in an Ancient Roman commercial town during the height of the Empire. The ruins are similar to those in Pompeii, but there are no wealthy houses in Ostia. Note that the archaeological site is vast, with plenty to see to occupy a full day. You will need to wear good footwear.

In Ostia Antica, you should buy a guide book from the ticket office when you enter. Without a guide book, you will see lumps of stone everywhere. With a guide book, you will understand what buildings stood where those lumps of stone now lie. On your tour look out for:

Near the arena

Other attractions

Eat


Drink


Sleep

Go next

Routes through Ostia

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