Ostia Antica is a large archeological site located near Rome on the Tiber River. During ancient times, it had a status of Rome’s harbor or port city. After the Roman Empire fell, the city became abandoned and remained untouched and preserved for centuries. Today, Roman ruins of Ostia Antica, which served as old city’s seaport, attract visitors from all around the world.
Ostia was founded around 620 B.C.
In 400 B.C., Rome conquered the city and made it a naval base. By 150 A.D., Ostia served as a commercial Rome`s ancient port. However, with the fall of Rome, the port was abandoned and the harbor silted up over time.
A small museum of Ostia offers statuaries of tangled wrestlers, kissing cupids, gods, where most of the artworks are from the 2nd-3rd-centuries A.D. Most of the masterpieces are inspired by Greek originals and many of them are from different religions. Since Ostia was a port, it accommodated people from all parts of the world.
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Nowadays you can walk on a huge territory full of ruins and amazing buildings that went through centuries. The main street, Decumanus Maximus, once was full of carrucas, the four-wheeled carts that ferried merchandise and luggage between Rome and Ostia. Moreover, two-wheeled cisia was used as a public transportation for commuters.
One of the main sites to see is Ostia’s amphitheater
Founded in 12 B.C., it is a marvelous and well-preserved building, which fascinates with its sizes and beauties. Behind the theater is the Forum of Corporations, which served as the building with the offices of sixty-four maritime companies. You will still find mosaic names, pictures on the ground in front of each office and a covered corridor. In the age of Claudius, the place was raised by a second level to create the seats of the collegia, which is the association of trades for business making. The Temple of Ceres is over the middle of the Forum. Also, there are the Baths of Neptune with mosaics of the sea god. Additionally, the site located right near the modern café, where you can book a tour.
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Don’t forget about the high podium of the Collegiate Temple. Interestingly, it was a social club for men of the poorer classes, where they afforded themselves a kind of a banquet, while the rich could afford it every day. The dinners became at 3 pm and lasted until the rise of the sun.
Women weren’t invited to the banquets
Moreover, slaves were doing washings in the small terracotta tubs into the brick counters. Their heads were shaved as a distinguish sign. The laundry located near the public baths.
In the period of its development, Ostia reached 50,000 inhabitants, but around the third century A.D. a deep crisis decreased a trade and commerce. Consequently, part of the inhabitants left the city. After the fifth century A.D., there economic recovery of the city led to the move of all commercial and administrative activities to the Port of Trajan. The port was highly protected from storms and enemy incursions.
The temple, at the center of the square, was built over a podium in the age of Domitian, among gardens and open spaces decorated with statues.
The three Masks turned to the stage of the Theater
Closed: Mondays, December 25th, January 1st, May 1st
Ostia Antica is a great choice for a day trip because it is located near Rome and there are many things to explore. Also, your children will like this city because there are many buildings and lots of space to run and play games. Undoubtedly, Ostia Antica is full of history and beauties of ancient ruins.
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Author: Kate Zusmann
For the last 6 years I live in the Eternal City. Traveling, exploring new things, writing blogs, shooting vlogs are my main hobbies, but the thing that I like even more is to share my experience and thoughts with you! Explore Rome with Us :)
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