Ostia Antica is one of the most underrated attractions in all of Italy. Like Pompeii, Ostia Antica is an archaeological adventure into the past. Unlike Pompeii, there are no crowds, even in peak season.
Take this fascinating tour to Commercial Port of Ancient Rome and together we’ll explore the temples, houses and edifices that made up this industrious Roman town while your guide reveals what life was like for its 100,000 inhabitants.
Since it’s a private tour, there’ll be lot of opportunity to quiz your guide and really take advantage of their expert knowledge.
Conveniently meet us in the centre of town
Located 20 miles (30km) outside of Rome, Ostia Antica is easily accessible by public transport but don’t worry if you’re not familiar with the city – we’ll make the short journey together. The guide will meet you at the Ostiense train station (which adjoins the Piramide metro stop) and take the local train to the archaeological park. Return train tickets and entrance to the site are, of course, included in the tour price.
Today an evocative and well-preserved sprawl of ancient ruins, Ostia Antica was once Rome’s thriving port city and a bustling commercial centre. Due to the fall of the Roman Empire, it was eventually abandoned and, as the river changed course, covered in silt and mud – which protected the city until it was later excavated.
A trip to the theatre
One of Ostia Antica’s most striking sights is the grand outdoor theatre which hosted plays and even gladiator fights. Built in the 2nd century AD, it seated up to 4,000 rowdy spectators and is an impressive building even by today’s standards. Concerts and plays are still held here some 2,000 years later.
Suppliers of grape and grain
Opposite the theatre is the Square of the Guilds. Here, ship owners and merchants tried to make their fortune. Look out for the mosaics too – most sailors and merchants were illiterate or couldn’t read Latin so the designs on the floor explained what goods or services were on offer. Exploring the ancient ruins, our tour guide will reveal why Ostia was such an important city for the Romans – after all, wine, oil, grain and other goods arrived here from all across the empire.
Rest and relaxation, Roman-style
It wasn’t all work and no play for the ancient inhabitants of Ostia though – just down the street are the public bath houses where people would lounge in pools, work out and clean themselves with olive oil. The Baths of Neptune boast an impressively intricate mosaic which depicts Neptune and his four horses crashing through the waves of the sea – a fine artwork not for a private home or villa, but for a public space.
A surprisingly sophisticated abode
And where did the average Ostia citizen live? In multi-storied apartment blocks known as insulae. We’ll take a walk to the House of Diana and see where the ancients laid their heads at night. Houses were without kitchens so people ate at restaurants or bars, just like we do today. Your guide will take you to an ancient fast food joint where you can still see the painted menu on the wall.
There’s lots to explore at Ostia Antica on our 3.5-hour tour but some of the buildings can be difficult to identity without the help of an expert. That’s why having one of our professional tour guides at your side is so invaluable – we’ll reveal this ancient city and uncover its stories on our unforgettable journey back in time.
20 minutes before the tour starts
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