L&R 2014 – Ostia Antica

Part of my study abroad trip to London and Rome in September is a series of blog posts about the things we see and do while on the trip. This is the second of six required posts about Rome and is about an archeological site, building or fragment from classical Rome. This post this is about Ostia Antica.

Ostia Antica was amazing. Ostia Antica was everything I wanted the Forum or the Coliseum to be. It was simply amazing.

An ancient Roman trade city, on the coast and the banks of the Tiber, at the time it was Rome’s first colony and gave them a sea port from which to expand out into the Mediterranean.

Flooding changed the river’s course in a night, and with the passage of time sediment deposition has moved the coastline 4km away from where it was in ancient times. Swampy marshlands and lack of trade lead to the city being abandoned, the river later buried it in mud preserving it as an archeological site.

It was amazing to walk through. A huge area that you can walk through, ruins you can walk through and climb over, and so much of it is still intact and there to be seen.

Ostia Antica gave the sense of being ancient, of being archeological, far more than the Forum or the Coliseum did to me. While I know both of those places were ancient, you never got a moment of quiet there to really absorb and process that, always too many loud tour guides or pushy tourists to sit and really ponder how old and how long those stones had stood stacked one atop another.

Rick Steves claims it is only a 2 hr visit. Robert and I spent almost an hour just getting through the Necropolis which was the first area of the site. Definitely need to head back someday and make a picnic of it, worthy of spending a whole day walking around the city and trying to assemble in your head what it once was.

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