This magical site will bring you back in time to wander its Roman streets, watch a play in a Roman theatre, visit one of its many Roman baths complexes.
Ostia was the commercial port of Ancient Rome. It would have been a busy port town, exotic and lively, brimming with people from all over the Roman empire: Greeks, Egyptians, Nubians, Jews, Syrians and Gauls. 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 unsavoury types.
Today, Ostia is no longer bustling and dangerous, but quiet and peaceful. Over the past two thousand years the mouth of the Tiber has silted up, pushing the coastline away from Ostia. The site is landlocked and long deserted. Wandering around its ruins, you will find the remains of baths, temples, houses, shops, taverns, latrines and even a theatre. You can see traces of frescoes on the walls, half standing columns, marble thresholds and millstones from bakeries. One of the most distinctive features of Ostia are its black-and-white mosaics. They are everywhere…
Photo reference: Sailko, Marie-Lan Nguyen, FoekeNoppert, Kalajoki et al., Wikimedia Commons