Ostia Antica

Ostia was the port of ancient Rome (since ancient Rome was situated a bit inland, at the first place where the Tiber River could be easily forded). Ships transported people and goods to and from the extent of Rome's Mediterranean empire. But the harbor began to silt up, and dunes eventually covered the old town unless modern archeologists rediscovered it. It provides an amazing glimpse into the past.

The roads into and through Ostia still show the wear of ancient feet--and the ruts worn into them by ancient wagons.

In some places, little survives but the foundations of buildings.

In other places, much more--rows of commercial stalls or ancient equivalents to apartment buildings.

Parts of the ancient walls surrounding the town also survive.

Even the fragments are impressive, considering that much of what you see is more than two thousand years old.

There are temples in Ostia--or at least the steps that once led up to great temples.

The forum--the heart of all ancient Roman towns and cities--still contains some of the columns from its
public buildings and monuments, as well as the steps and walls of the most important temple,
the capitolium, where the principal gods of the Roman religion were venerated.

There are the remnants of everyday life: a latrine (above left) and the hypocaust of a bathhouse,
where slaves worked to stoke the fires that kept the water above hot (above right).

There is even an ancient restaurant, with its main counter still recognizable.

Throughout, an amazing array of details of ancient life--like the fresco on the wall of this house.

Among the treasures are a wealth of mosaics.

Some commercial establishments had mosaics at their entrances that showed the kinds of goods they sold or transported.

A few buildings have clearly been restored by modern archeologists.

But we had great fun wandering in and out of courtyards and across temple steps and along ancient streets.


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