I enjoyed a lot of things in Rome.
Free water from the fountains.
The gorgeous blue skies
And Ostia Antica. Huh? What’s that? Well, I’ll tell you!
When we were planning our trip to Rome, a number of us wanted to go to Pompeii and walk through a preserved ancient Roman city. Pompeii is near Naples, which means it would be three hours by train from Rome (and three hours back). Plus, we’d want to have lots of time to explore the site. It just didn’t seem very wise. The more I looked into Pompeii, the more another name kept coming up–Ostia Antica. Almost every site I visited said that it was just as nice as Pompeii and only a 25 minute Metro train ride out of Rome. My decision was made. Ostia Antica it was!
I was not disappointed.
Ostia Antica was a harbor city on the Tiber River. The word “ostia” means “mouth,” as in “the mouth of a river,” and that is where it was located. (The river has shifted course since then and is now about 2 miles away.) There is speculation that this city was one of the earliest in Rome, founded in the 7th century BC, but the earliest archaeological remains are from the 4th century BC. Either way, it’s old.
Ostia had all the things a city of that time would have had, including a Jewish synagogue. In 200 AD times, Ostia probably had a population of 75,000. (That’s like State College in the summer.) It fell into decline in the 400′s and was totally abandoned by the 800′s. The river silted over a lot of the city which helped to preserve it, but like most of the other ancient ruins in Rome, the marble and statues and things were scavenged by others.
But what remains is a whole city–falling down, yes–but a whole city! It’s over a mile to walk from the entrance to the baths which are the outer edge of the city.
Michael was delighted! He climbed and jumped and ran and had a grand time!
Rachel enjoyed it as well.
And what was not to love? It was a museum you could climb on! No one cared if you touched the mosaics or climbed on the roof of an apartment building.
As you can see in the picture of the kids, they do have metal fences to help you not to kill yourself, and if something really was unsafe, it was chained off. But very little was.
It was lovely weather, too, and the site had wildflowers growing all around and a sense of peace, despite all the people who surely were there.
It was amazing to see the remains of frescoes on the walls, unprotected from weather or graffiti.
Here was a curious thing. There were several windows with glass in them. The Romans did use glass, but it seemed odd that it would have lasted so long without being broken. Yet why would anyone put glass in unprotected ruins?
There were plenty of mosaic floors, mostly in black and white.
There were some places that still had marble on them.
This building was probably my favorite of all. It was called the Domus del Ninfeo. I don’t know what it was, but it was lovely.
The theater was well-preserved, so much so that they still have concerts there. They were setting up for one while we visited.
I’m on stage! (What a tragedy.)
The original drainage systems were still there!
I don’t know what this field of buried jars was. I couldn’t find any information there or on Google. The jars were pretty big, too. The internet said they were six feet high.
Just enjoy some pictures and imagine you are there.
We took this picture of graffiti for
And the koi picture for her, too!