The excavations at Ostia Antica outside Rome constitute the biggest archeological site in the Lazio region. Better preserved than Pompeii, the ruins of this ancient port give insight into the way the Romans used to live in the heyday of the Empire.
Ostia Antica Rome
History and description
In those days Ostia was a flourishing city with around 100 thousand inhabitants. Huge ships from all over the Mediterranean dropped their wares at Ostia. From here they were shipped to Rome by means of flat barges, the river Tiber not being very deep.
Ostia was at its most powerful during the reign of the emperors Claudius and Trajan and remained an important port until the end of the 5th century, when the Barbarians attacked Rome.
After that the ancient city was abandoned and forgotten, until in the 19th century the Pope ordered excavations. Later Mussolini had an even bigger part dug up.
The well-preserved ruins include temples, baths, theaters and even a huge business complex.
What to see
Piazzale delle Corporazioni: A huge square with more than 70 corporations. The mosaics give an idea of the nature of each business.
Theater: One of the oldest buildings in Ostia Antica and once the background to performances of classical Greek drama. Nowadays, during the summer months, still used for its original purpose.
Ostia Forum: With a temple for the Gods Minerva, Jupiter and Juno. A number of its ancient columns are still standing.
Casa Diana: An apartment complex, built around a central courtyard.
Thermopolium: Thermopolium means “sale of hot drinks”, hence a cafe.
Capitolium and Forum: This 2nd century temple was the biggest one of its kind in Ostia. Its altar was preserved in a relatively good state.
Synagogue: The oldest European synagogue of which ruins have been found.
Terme die Cisiarii: Ancient Roman Baths with beautiful floor mosaics.