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Ostia Antica is a site of beautifully preserved ruins or scavi, just 20 miles from Rome, easily reachable by public transport and a nice half day trip from the centre of Rome.
Ostia Antica sits by the meadows by the Tiber River. Ostia was ancient Rome's port city for Rome itself so must have been a very colourful and important place with goods and people transiting from the whole of the Roman Empire.
To get to Ostia Antica there are frequent trains that run from the centre of Rome. Ostia Antica has its own rail station about 800 yards from the front gates. Alternatively, you can book an organised tour directly from Rome if you prefer a guide to lead you around.
Ostia now sprawls over 10,000 acres around a main street that runs for more than a mile. It is still easy to imagine the site back in the days of the Roman Empire.
The countryside around the site is very flat and rural so there is little that is modern to detract from your experience.
It is a very large site too, with some areas away from the main street overgrown with unkempt paths and free access which sometimes gives a flavour of something much less visited.
In some respects it's like a port version of the more famous Pompeii. Most of the site is row after row of houses and apartments, mostly in a grid pattern off the main street.
For many the highlight most remembered will be the well preserved amphitheatre next door to the bar.
There is a museum (Museo Ostiense) and modern restaurant and toilet block in the middle of the site but apart from this island the site is totally non-commercial.
Like all ruins it is hard for the layman visiting to see beyond the ruins and an audio guide (or even a personal guide) is a good investment from the ticket office to make sense of what you are viewing.
It's quite a good site for kids too as there is lots of room to explore and the ruins can be seen close up as they are not roped off like elsewhere.
The site is exposed to the sun as well, and you will be exposed for quite a long time so do bear that in mind if you visit during the summer months.
Ostia Antica is open daily (except Monday) from 8.30am.
From 25 October to 28 (or 29) February: last entry 15.30 with exit 16.30;
From 1st March to 31st March: last entry 4.15pm with exit 5.15pm;
From 1st April to 30th September: last entry 6.00pm with exit 7.00pm;
From 1st October to 24th October: last entry 5.30pm with exit 6.30pm.
For current admission prices please see the Ostia Antica website link at the top of the page.
Children under 17 from the EU get in free. Audio guides in Italian, English and French are available at the ticket office.
It is possible to reserve a guided tour from Tuesday to Sunday by contacting the ticket office or by completing a form online from the website above.
It is very easy to visit Ostia Antica independently from Rome. A suburban commuter train service runs several times an hour to the coast and stops at Ostia Antica station.
It starts at Ostiense which is twinned with the Piramide Metro station in the south-west of the city. The platforms are adjacent to the Metro station platforms and you just walk across directly to the train.
The train ride is covered by the daily transport passes that covers Rome's Metro and bus public transport system.
At Ostia Antica it's then just a 5-minute signposted walk to the fascinating Roman port ruins of Ostia Antica.
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