Going Places Educational Travel Blog - Ostia Antica: A Little-Known Ancient Wonder
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January 17, 2017

Ostia Antica: A Little-Known Ancient Wonder

Just 30 minutes from the Colosseum lies the remains of the entire ancient Roman city of Ostia Antica – an under appreciated and little-known archaeological site that rivals Pompeii.

Ostia Antica was founded around 620 B.C. and was conquered by Rome in 400 B.C. Due to its location at the mouth of the Tiber River, it was initially made into a naval base, but soon became an important commercial hub with ships arriving into the port from every part of the world.

When Rome fell, this harbor city was abandoned. As the river changed course, tidal mud and silt covered Ostia and it laid dormant for centuries until it was no longer on the shores of the Tiber. In the Baroque era, marble from the site was used to build palaces in Rome, but excavations undertaken in the 20th century have breathed new life into this ancient city. Excavations of the site have uncovered well preserved buildings, mosaics and works of art that are now thoroughly unearthed and excellently maintained. It contains notably the remnants of a synagogue dating back to the 1st century AD, which makes it one of the oldest known synagogues to date.

Recently, the Passports Yuletide in Rome convention offered an optional excursion to Ostia Antica. The unique opportunity allowed convention go-ers and Passports staff alike to explore the ancient ruins. With full blocks of houses, markets, shops, tombs, public baths and toilets, and an amphitheatre, Ostia was the perfect half-day excursion from the city. There were far fewer crowds than Pompeii, as it was much closer to the city (and accessible by public transit), plus the ruins were much more tourist-friendly.

The highlight of the ancient forgotten city was definitely the amphitheatre. Multiple entrances and stairwells were still in working condition to allow the group to go up to the top, where the stage, support pillars, and seating were also still in tact and viewable from the amphitheatre entrances. Large pine trees soar towards the sky behind the open theatre, which makes this section of Ostia Antica is the most picturesque, and worth the quick commute out of the city.

For group organizers looking for a change of pace from Rome while maintaining historical, cultural and architectural exploration, Ostia Antica is a fantastic half-day or full-day excursion. 

 

 

Category: For Teachers, Travel Tips, Travel Inspiration




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