Mirabilia Urbis: Rome Walking Tours

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Ostia: Rome's Ancient Seaport
Ostia Antica If you don't have the time to get to Naples to discover the ancient cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii, Ostia Antica is a gratifying substitute. Even if you do travel to Naples, Ostia Antica offers visitors unexpected surprises and beautiful glimpses into antiquity.  Only 30 minutes from Rome by train, it constitutes the perfect day trip. 

Mosaic at Ostia Antica Unlike its Neapolitan counterparts, the Roman city of Ostia was not fated to meet a fiery death by volcano.  After hundreds of years of economic prosperity, Ostia followed Rome's downward trajectory in the 400s A.D. The city that once enjoyed a singular--and very strategic--position on both the Mediterranean Sea and the Tiber River eventually lost its importance and its neglected port slowly silted in. However, its demise did not diminish Ostia's spirit. Once it was excavated in the early 1900s, this ghost town, with its theaters, baths, apartment buildings, temples, villas, restaurants, bars and cafes, still feels like a living, thriving metropolis!

We walk into town using the same road that ancient travelers, businessmen, vacationers and residents would have used when coming directly from Rome: the Via Ostiense. This highway takes us to the Decumanus Maximus, which was one of the two main axes that all Roman cities were built on.   Bar and Menu

As we stroll, the curious can poke around in the tombs of the wealthy that line the road.  Be we should watch out for ancient drunken sailors on shore leave and speeding horse-drawn wagons heaped with goods, heading to the markets in Rome!

Let's get out of that ancient traffic and loiter around some public piazzas...  We'll peek into a temple or two and stop in at several eateries.  At one highbrow cafe, we'll find senators and magistrates attending business lunches.  At a greasy spoon, locals consume their fried chickpea patties while gulping down local white wine.  Ancient vacationers idle and play games, while the waitress brings them another plate full of green olives.

We'll stop in at a public bath and discuss ancient Roman hygiene while peeking into a public latrine.  Our walk through town will also include well-built Imperial tenements for dockworkers and sailors as well as a stroll through the city's high-end residential district, where homes were frescoed gaily or their walls were wallpapered in marble. 

After a day at Ostia, you'll easily imagine ancient families coming back from the beach to get some lunch or couples meandering down to the shore in the late afternoon. For visitors from all different centuries, Ostia has been and still is the perfect day!

Entrance fee -- to the site € 6
Note: Ostia is a full-day excursion.  There is a cafeteria conveniently located in the middle of the archeological area if visitors want to stop for lunch.  Those who prefer picnics are encourage to pack a lunch.  If you prefer, we'll organize one for a nominal fee.