Although Ostia Antica is outside Rome, you can ride the metro to the ruined city and be sitting in the theater in the time it takes to wait in line for the Vatican Museums. Ostia Antica was Rome’s port for 600 years and, after Herculaneum and Pompeii, it’s the best-preserved Roman town in Italy. You walk in on the Decumanus Maximus, passing the warehouses, the baths (posh and not so posh), and the pub on the way to the theater.
All these sites can be readily recognized without a degree in archaeology. Most impressive of all is the Forum of the Corporations, where 61 maritime offices are ranged around a great temple, each identified by its own descriptive mosaic. Farther into the city are more signs of how rich and poor rubbed along together. There’s the meat market, the latrines, and a whole host of temples, including the 2nd-century remains of the city’s synagogue.
If you can afford the time, take a cruise out to Ostia from the Marconi Bridge in Rome. If not, at least try to hang on until dusk, when the sun glances off the sea and bathes the umbrella pines and ancient buildings in a glorious warm glow.
Address Viale dei Romagnoli 717, Ostia Antica;
Getting There Take metro Line B to Piramide or EUR Magliana, then get the Ostia Lido train to Ostia Antica. You could also take a Battelli di Roma boat from the Marconi Bridge.
Opening Times 8:30am–6pm Tue–Sat; 8:30am–noon Sun (8:30am–5pm Mar and Oct; 8:30am–4pm Nov–Feb).