Ostia Antica Archaeological Park Rome

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 at the mouth of the river Tiber provide an invaluable insight into the way the Romans used to live in the heyday of the Empire.

Ostia Antica Rome

History and description

Rome - Ostia Antica - Cardine Massimo
What used to be the main street of Ostia Antica.

Ostia might have already existed in the 7th century BC, but what is certain is that a Roman castrum protecting the river mouth and the Etruscan salt mines at nearby Maccarese was constructed in the 4th century BC. This military stronghold developed into a commercial harbor, from where goods arriving by sea were transported to Rome itself.

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. In the early 20th century, 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. Several 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.

Practical information (2024)

Opening times

The Parco Archeologico di Ostia Antica is closed on Mondays, January 1st, December 25th.

The area opens at 08:30. Closing time depends on the time of year. From October 25th till February this is 16:30; in March 17:15; April to September 19:00; October 1 till 24 18:30.

Last entry is one hour before closing time.

Tickets

The ticket is 18 Euros. EU citizen aged 18 to 25 pay 2 Euros. Children younger than 18 get free entry.

The attraction is free on the first Sunday of every month.

By car and public transport to Ostia Antica

From the GRA (the big roundabout around Rome), take exit 28 and follow either the Via del Mare or the Via Ostiense.

From the center of Rome, take metro line B to the Piramide stop and then the local train to Ostia Lido. Get off at the Ostia Antica stop.

Ostia Antica Rome

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