Ostia Antica is an ancient Roman port town forgotten for many centuries. It was buried by the silt from the Tiber river that gracefully hid its treasures. The ruins are now an accessible, magical place to visit.
Google maps helped me figure out what train we needed to catch from Rome. Ostia Antica is a good 40 minutes away. We were let off at a quiet station where we crossed road over a little bridge and arrived at the entrance of Ostia Antica. After paying our 8 euros and buying a little map for 3 euros we tuned our headsets to a Rick Steves description. Rick the popular travel guide had mentioned this place so we used his audio Europe guide as we walked. Before he was halfway we flipped off the tape and went from tourists to pilgrims enjoying both the sights and the atmosphere. We love Rick but our purpose had changed and we began to feel Ostia presence in addition to its history.
Ostieo Antica has everything ancient, downtown Rome has: tall buildings, graceful columns, public squares, intricate tile work, frescos, statues and baths. A small museum of Ostia Antica finds holds several delicate treasures but there are plenty left right where they stood, This gives the town its great authenticity.
While we were there, children played in and out of small rooms and houses, climbed the stairs and ran around carved columns and tombs. No guards blew whistles and there were only a few roped off areas. Many floors of beautiful tiles were covered however as restoration work continues.
Ostia also has one of the oldest synagogues in the world and the oldest outside of the Middle East. You can see a menorah relief carving on the remaining walls. Here is the link https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ostia_Synagogue
One of the most impressive aspects of Ostia is the size and completeness. There is a cemetery, an ampitheter, a tavern row, temples, a government building, and an apartment house. All of these are about 2000 years old.
We had a picnic lunch sitting in the forum with flowering trees all around, birds singing, in an atmosphere of quiet. There were many hidden passageways that we didn’t have time to explore in 4 hours. If you go there – spend the whole day.