Ostia was the portal city of Rome. Ships arrived in Ostia and proceeded up the river Tiber, pulled by oxen walking along the banks, all the way to Rome. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the city of Ostia was abandoned. Over time, the river floods completely covered the city in mud. It was this mud that preserved Ostia over the course of the centuries, just as lava preserved Pompeii. Today, Ostia Antica is one of the best preserved examples of city life in the Roman Empire, maintaining intact such treasures as the most ancient synagogue in Europe.
Our tour will begin in Rome, where we will take a train toward the coast. (The participants in private tours have the option of traveling by car. However, due to traffic this option may take more time.)
The docent will provide geographical context for the city, but above all he will provide a strategic and socio-political perspective.
Among the places to be visited will be, without fail, the Thermopolis (an ancient Roman pub), a splendid amphitheatre, and several temples dedicated to the cult of Mithras, as well as marvelous mosaics and various other pagan temples.
As a portal city, Ostia experienced trade daily, thanks to the ships that brought new merchandise. It will therefore be important to visit the market and the insule, or Roman condominiums, as well as a fullonica, or ancient dye-work, where fullers dyed cloth using urine as a fixative.
At the end of the tour you will be able to decide whether to return with our docent or stay to enjoy the wonders of the city. However you decide, we allow for the return in the cost of the tickets. Please note: the Ostia Synagogue is located outside the archaeological area. In the private tours it is possible to include the synagogue in the itinerary, but the group tours do not have this option. If you wish to visit the synagogue, you may do so independently at the end of the tour.
Why is Ostia Antica more interesting than Pompei? Ostia is much closer to Rome than Pompeii. From Rome to Ostia is only 25 minutes by train, while the journey from Rome to Pompeii by train is three hours.
Furthermore, it is believed that Ostia provides better insights into the life of the Roman working class, far better insights than can be found in Pompeii. In addition, the commercial fame of Pompeii means that it is frequently invaded by tourists, while Ostia, almost unknown by the majority of tourists, rewards its visitors with a feeling of peace and pleasantness – you will often feel entirely alone in the course of your visit!