Ostia Antica Travel Guide

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Ostia Seaside

Ostia Seaside

Michiel Alkemade

Ostia is the old Harbour of the Romans. Visiting Ostia is like visiting Tivoli and Hadrian's villa: a relaxing trip, that takes you away from the noise and incessant police-sirens of Rome. Reserve a whole day for your visit - not just to relax, but also because Ostia deserves it.

The best way to reach Ostia from Rome is by using the metro. Trains leave at station Piramide: get off the regular metro at Piramide, go up the escalator, turn immediately left and down the steps into the Roma-Lido station. Trains also leave at station Magliana, but we advise Piramide: this way you're sure to find a seat on the train. A normal metro ticket will suffice for the entire journey. Get out at the stop Ostia Antica.

There is a bar on the site, but it may be a good idea to get some food and drink in the small, enchanting modern village Ostia Antica, only two minutes away. Turn right towards the mediaeval fortress to get to the modern village. Here you will find a good alimentari. You can have a bread roll filled with something (ham, etc.) prepared for you at the alimentari. They also have soft drinks and mineral water sold from cold cabinets.

The best ice cream (made on the premises) is to be found at "Il Gelataio" which is next to the alimentari. Stamps can be bought at the Post Office (mornings only) or from the tobacconist next door, who also sells postcards. There is a Bancomat (automatic teller) outside the Banco di Roma, which is in Piazza Ravenna, past "Il Monumento" restaurant. Food shops close at 13.30 and open again at 17.00, closing at night at 19.30-20.00.

To reach the site from the pedestrian bridge: keep walking straight ahead, cross a busy (!) road and after 100 meters turn left to get to the entrance (two minutes).

Many visitors of Ostia make the "mistake" of spending too much time inspecting the first few buildings that they encounter. It is not a bad idea to start your visit by following the modern road towards the right, which leads to the museum (closed in the afternoon). Here you will find a good bookshop, where you can buy a guide to the excavations. Unfortunately the best guide, written by Carlo Pavolini, has only been published in Italian (basic guide books can also be bought all over Rome from souvenir shops / kiosks). A cafetaria is nearby. Here or in front of the museum, enjoying the shade of a pergola, you can plan your visit. Behind and around the museum are the offices of the Superintendency / Soprintendenza.

It is not a good idea to pick up stones with your bare hands, in view of the presence of what the archaeologists call "our little friends": black scorpions (not deadly, but still to be avoided). There are a few snakes on the site. Please don't scare them too much.

At the end of a long day you may want to get back to Rome as soon as possible. But remember the modern village, which has three restaurants: near the entrance to the excavations is "Lo Sbarco di Enea" (here the waiters dress as Romans; all major credit cards accepted; you passed this restaurant when you walked to the dig); near the fortress is "Il Monumento"; nearby is a brand new restaurant. A little further on is a nice bar. Lunch in the restaurants from about 13:00. The last train for Rome leaves from Ostia Antica a little past 22.30. After that you will have to take a night bus, which stops on the main road outside the station (Via Ostiense), not in the little road leading up to the station. The stop at Ostia Antica is to the right of this little road.

The theatre season will be held in the ruins (in the theatre, of course!) from 9 July to 30 August, in the evenings. Programme and tickets (for the performance on the same day) can be obtained from the ticket kiosk. Any good hotel will book tickets for you.

A visit to Giulio II's fortress is still free of charge and English- and French-speaking guides are available on request. Warning: the time given for the last tour, at the entrance to the fortress, is in fact the closing time, therefore the last tour starts half an hour before.

Part or or all of this text stems from the original article at: http://www.world66.com/europe/italy/lazio/ostiaantica/modify

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