Italy 1200BC-500BC-Iron Age Europe Archaeological sites, ancient temples

Ostia Antica – the harbor city of ancient Rome

Ostia Antica, Rome, Holiday and Trips
Ostia would have been a busy port town, exotic and full of life. Now is an archaeological site where you can travel 2600 years back in the past.
Age 2620 years
Type Ancient City
Location Viale dei Romagnoli, 717, 00119 Rome RM, Italy, Europe
Getting there Unless you have a car or wish to book a guided tour, Ostia Antica is very close to Rome and is easy to get to by public transport.
To get there using public transportation take the metro (line B) and get off at Piramide. Here, take the Roma Lido commuter train to Ostia Antica. Once at the station, all you have to do is follow the crowd. It is a 10-minute walk away.
The train to Ostia costs 1,50 € (like any other one-way journey). Since you are going to use quite a lot of public transport, you might want to buy a day pass
When to visit Tuesday – Sunday: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm and from 6 pm – 7 pm (depending on the season)
Monday: closed
25 December, 1 January: closed
Tickets You can buy normal tickets at the entrance on the site. Adults: 8 €
EU Citizens (ages 18 – 25): 4€
Youth (under 18): free entrance
The first Sunday of every month: free entrance
Wear a sunhat and trainers, and dress in layers. Ostia can be cool and foggy in the morning and blazing hot by the afternoon

Ostia Antica – The harbor city of ancient Rome

  • The archaeological site, Ostia Antica, still houses the remains of most of the city’s buildings before it was abandoned.Ostia Antica 3
  • Ostia would have been a busy port town, exotic and full of life. In the first century AD, Ostia’s main function was to receive grain from Egypt and Sicily and to ship it on to Rome and its one million inhabitants. This grain was stored in Ostia’s many warehouses and sometimes made into bread before being transported by barge along the winding Tiber to the capital city, fourteen miles away. In addition to the usual residents of a first-century Roman town, there would have been sailors, stevedores, ship-owners, storehouse managers, customs officers, rope-makers, sail-makers, and plenty of unsavory types.

Oldest settlement – The Castrum

  • The oldest settlement that has been found in the so-called Castrum. It was a rectangular, military fortress (194 x 125.7 meters), with walls of large tufa blocks. Remains of the walls have been found around the later Forum. The two main streets, leading to four gates, were called Cardo and Decumanus. Historical events indicate, that the Castrum must have been built between 396 and 267 BC. The oldest pottery from the Castrum has been dated to the period 380-340 BC.Ostia Antica

Decumanus Maximus

  • Ostia Antica’s main arterial street, called Decumanus Maximus in Roman cities, cuts through the whole city, while the arcades on both sides of the street show the houses and shops which once thrived here. There are also taverns, inns, shops, public baths, and a large reconstructed theatre, which is still used during the summer.Oastia Antica 5 Oastia Antica 4
  • The harbor city had a very cosmopolitan population, visible thanks to a Jewish synagogue, a Christian Basilica, and the 18 temples dedicated to the Persian god Mithra.
  • According to ancient tradition (authors such as Ennius, Livius, Cicero, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus), Ostia was founded by the fourth king of Rome, Ancus Marcius, who was thought to have ruled in the late seventh century BC. Even the year is mentioned: 620 BC. So far no archaeological remains have been found in or near Ostia dating from this period. If a settlement existed, then it must have been a small outpost, not even a village. The existence of the settlement is likely because Livius mentions Ostia twice in his accounts of the fifth century. Livy mentions floods of the Tiber in 414 and 363 BC (AUC 4.49.2-3 and 7.3.2).
  • The oldest: 1400 BC To the east of Ostia were salt-pans, where salt was probably already extracted in the Middle and Late Bronze Age (1400-1000 BC). There may have been a small village near the salt-pans in the Early Iron Age (1000-700 BC).