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Ostia

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  Introduction
History
Guided Tours
see the map
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Viale dei Romagnoli 717. 
Site is 25 km (16 miles) southwest of Rome. . 
How to arrive with pubblic transport:
Magliana on line B. then train to Ostia Antica
Excavations open winter: 9am-4.30pm daily;summer: 9am-6pm daily. 
Closed
1 Jan, 1 May, 25
Dec. 
Museum open
9am-1pm daily. Closed public hols. Adm charges


In order to get an understanding of the structure of a medium-sized Roman town (about 100,000 inhabitants), a visit to Ostia is essential. Located at the mouth of the Tiber, Ostia was Rome's port. Although originally founded long before the Imperial Age, what we see today is for the most part the result of Emperor Hadrian's town-planning policies. He had the old centre of the town transformed, and had whole new districts built surrounding the two harbors : the one built by Claudius to the right of the Tiber, and the hexagonal one commissioned by Trajan further upstream. A tour of Ostia will be fascinating not only be­cause of its temples, the Theatre, the Museum and so on, but also because it gives the visitor the opportunity of understanding more about everyday life in ancient Rome, the way the houses were arranged, and the shops along the streets, the taverns and the laundries. All simple elements of daily life that tell us a great deal. The splendid umbrella pines that grow around the ruins, and a Very special light created by the gentle sea breeze, all contribute to the charm of this place.

Ostia Antica....Pages of History to discover!!!

  Price  per person
Entrance fees and misc.
Total

lit. 50.000
lit. 15.000
lit. 65.000

Supplement for fish menu lunch at a restaurant 
in Fiumicino (per person) lire 35.000

Bus Tour to Ostia Antica....for more details click here

  History of Ostia Antica

IN REPUBLICAN TIMES Ostia Was Rome's main commercial port and a military base defending the coastline and the mouth of the Tiber. The port continued to flourish under the Empire, despite the development of Portus, a new port slightly to the northwest, in the 2nd century AD. Ostia's decline began in the 4th century, when a reduction in trade was followed by the gradual silting up of the harbour. Worse was to come when malaria became endemic in the area and the city, whose population is reckoned to have been nearly 100,000 at its peak, was totally abandoned.
Buried for centuries by sand, the city is remarkably well preserved. The site is less spectacular than Pompei or Herculaneum because Ostia died a gradual death, but it gives a more complete picture of life under the Roman Empire. People of all social classes and from all over the Mediterranean lived and worked here.
Visitors can understand the layout of Ostia's streets almost at a glance. The main road through the town, the Decumanus Maximus, would have been filled with hurrying slaves and citizens, avoiding the jostling carriages and carts, while tradesmen pursued their business under the porticoes lining the street.The floor plans of the public buildings along the road are very clear. Many were bath houses, such as the Baths of the Cisiarii (carters) and the grander Baths of Neptune, named after their fine black-and-white floor mosaics. Beside the restored theatre, three large masks, originally part of the decoration of the stage, have been mounted on large blocks of tufa. Beneath the great brick arches that supported the semicircular tiers of seats were taverns and shops. Classical plays are put on here in the summer.
The Tiber's course has changed considerably since Ostia was the port of Rome. It once flowed past just to the north of Piazzale delle Corporazioni, the square behind the thatre. The corporations were the guilds of the various trades involved in fitting out and supplying ships: tanners and rope- makers, ship builders and timber merchants, ships chandlers and corn weighers. There were some 60 or 70 offices around the square. Mosaics showing scenes of everyday life in the port and the names and symbols of the corporations can still be seen. There were also offices used by ship - owners and their agents from places as far apart as Tunisia and the south of France, Sardinia and Egypt. In one office, belonging to a merchant from the of Sabratha in North Africa, there is a delightful mosaic of an elephant.
The main cargo coming into Rome was grain from Africa. Much of this was distributed free to prevent social unrest. Although one men received this annona or corn dole, at times over 300.000 were eligible. In the center of the square was a temple, probably dedicated to Ceres, goddess of the harvest. Among the buildings excavated dedicated to Ceres, goddess of the harvest. Among the building excavated are many large warehouses in which grain was stored before it was shipped on to Rome. The Decumanus leads to the Forum and the city's principal temple, erected by Hadrian ( see also Hadran's Villa) in the 2nd century AD and dedicated to Jove, Juno and Minerva. In this rather romantic, lonely spot, it is hard to imagine the Forum as a busting center , where justice was dispensed and officials met to discuss the city's affairs. In the 18th century it was used as a sheepfold. 
Away from the main street are the buildings where Ostia's inhabitants lived. The great majority were housed in rented apartments in blocks three or four stores high known as insulae. These varied considerably in their comfort and decoration. The House of Diana. Was one of the smarter ones, with a balcony around the second floor, a private bath house and a central courtyard with a cistern where tenants came to collect their water. Around the ground floor of the block were shops, taverns and bars selling snacks and drinks. In the bar at the house of Diana you can see the marble counter used by costomers buying their sausages and hot wine sweetened with honey.
For the wealthy there were detached houses (domus) such as the House of the Dioscuri, which Has fine coloured mosaics, and the House of Cupid and Psyche, named after a charming statue found there. This is now in the site's small museum, along with other sculptures and reliefs found in Ostia.
Among the houses and shops there are other fascinating buildings including a laundry and the firemen's barracks. The religions practiced 4n Ostia reflect the cosmopolitan nature of the port. There are also no fewer than 18 temples dedicated to the Persian god Mithras, as well as a Jewish Synagogue dating from the 1st century AD and a Christian basilica. A plaque records the death of St Augustine's mother in a hotel here
in AD 387.

see also...

Capitoline Hill

Circus Maximus

Colosseum

Domus Aurea

Ostia

Pantheon
Trevi Fountain
Tivoli
Quirinal Palaces
Vatican Gardens
e-mail

photos of Ostia

click the photo to zoom

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The Capitolium, also called the Temple of the Capitoline Triad

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The ground floor of an insula on Via dei Balconi, a typical ancient Roman constructions with shops and living quarters,

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Mural from Ostia of merchant ship being loaded with grain

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interior of the tavern 

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varehouse with food stuff

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A poltry seller's shop sign, in the Museo Ostinese

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View on the entrance to the Theropolion on Via di Diana

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View on the Agrippa's Theatre

 see also

archeological areas 

monuments and museums 

 villas and gardens

Bus Tour to Ostia Antica....for more details click here

Bus Tour to Tivoli, Hadrian's Villa and Villa d'Este

Porta Santa Opening

On Decembre 24 Porta Santa of  Saint Peter Basilica will be open.
For information and reservations
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