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Ostia Antica Tours

 

History

Founded around the 4th century BC as a military base between the mouth of the Tiber and the coast, Ostia soon became the commercial port of ancient Rome and for this reason was tightly connected to its history. The goods destined to the support of the capital, but also to its urban development and entertainment industry, came through here. Grain, oil, wine, precious marble, animals for the circus, arrived here from all over the Mediterranean, and were often transferred onto smaller boats that went up the river hauled by oxen on the river banks, up to the port in Rome.

The city was very well connected to Rome by the Tiber river and the ancient roads of Via Ostiense and Via Portuensis. These roads were noted as being the busiest in the Roman Empire!

It is easy to imagine Ostia as a thriving town of 80,000 people as we walk through the rather well preserved remains of the forum, the baths, temples, and residential neighborhoods that must have housed many foreigners as well.

The existence of Ostia was not interrupted suddenly as occurred in Pompeii; its decline in about the 4th century AD coincided with the invasions that destroyed Rome as the centre of the Roman Empire, and that also caused indescribable damage of the city of Ostia. This was made worst by the the gradual silting up of the port and by floods that changed the course of the Tiber, favoring the spreading of malaria.

Ostia was never inhabited again in a significant manner after that, and this allows us to follow the various phases in the evolution of an ancient city without the adding of structures from later times.

Ostia Antica can also be reached easily by the train to Ostia Lido that departs from Porta San Paolo (Ostia Antica stop).

Sightseeing

To begin with an exploration of the secrets of the necropolis, an ancient cemetery outside the city walls where columbaria and elaborately decorated Sarcophagi held the remains of important families.

From here we follow the ancient basalt road through the city entrance where the twin colossal statues to the goddess Minerva guarded the entry gates. At the Baths of the Cart drivers we will admire the whimsical mosaics showing portraits of favorite horses.

From here we will end up at the Baths of Neptune where the customs of bathing in public will be discussed and we can note just how civilized these people were! Amazing mosaic floors showing the god Neptune along with his mermaids and other mythical sea creatures are on display here which we will view from the second storey of the bath complex.

One of the most important features of Ostia were the warehouses full of goods from all over the Roman Empire and thus it became necessary to have a guard against fires so the Emperor Augustus established a Fire Station which we will visit. We will see their important Altar to the Emperors as well as their bathroom with marble seats and coved ceilings. After passing a row of shops we will step inside the Tavern of Fortunatus to see his floor mosaic welcoming his guests with the greeting "Fortunatussays if you are thirsty drink wine from the crater" with a picture of a giant drinking goblet!

Next stop, a beautiful Roman Theatre in brick from the 1st century BC (used today for evening concerts in the summer. Here up to 4,500 people were seated and entertained with tragedies, aquatic shows, music and bawdy comedies. Behind the theatre we will explore the Square of the Corporations a rare site surrounding the Temple to Venus showing the offices of merchants with mosaics displaying each of their specialties ranging from transport of anything from wheat to live elephants.

After lunch we will continue our journey with a visit to the small museum with displays of many sculptures and frescoes found on site. Next an intriguing visit to the Thermopolium, an ancient bar and restaurant that looks like it could still be serving food today! Across the street we will see the famous House of Diana, one of the most important surviving apartment buildings from ancient roman times.

After visiting a full production bakery and seeing a field of giant pottery containers for oil and wine we will arrive at the Curia and the Forum- the civic heart of Ostia and site of the temples to Hercules and the Goddess Roma.

Along the way we will see temples to the most important gods and goddesses of the ancient world including the field for the worship of the great mother goddess Cybele, many Mithraic Temples as well as a rare Jewish Synagogue and an important Christian site. At the end of the tour we will visit the luxurious pompeii-style houses with their interior courtyards and statues and the impressive Baths of the Forum famous for their delicate design which follows the path of the sun, large corinthian columns, the hexagonal gymnasium and public men's and women's bathrooms.

After an exciting day of wondrous sites you return along the River Tiber on a river cruise to Rome.

Sites

ostia 1

Among the sites that deserve to be seen, are the ancient theatre, still in use today, and the Square of the Guilds, a structure consisting of 60 representative offices of the different associations of artisans and merchants who worked here.

ostia 2

 

ostia 3

 

Details

Colosseum

colosseum
Learn more

The Colosseum or Coliseum, originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is a giant amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome. Originally capable of seating 45,000-50,000 spectators, it was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles. It was built on a site just east of the Roman Forum, with construction starting between 70 and 72 AD under the emperor Vespasian. The amphitheatre, the largest ever built in the Roman Empire, was completed in 80 AD under Titus, with further modifications being made during Domitian's reign.

The Colosseum remained in use for nearly 500 years with the last recorded games being held there as late as the 6th century - well after the traditional date of the fall of Rome in 476. As well as the traditional gladiatorial games, many other public spectacles were held there, such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, reenactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. The building eventually ceased to be used for entertainment in the early medieval era. It was later reused for such varied purposes as housing, workshops, quarters for a religious order, a fortress, a quarry and a Christian shrine.

Although it is now in a severely ruined condition due to damage caused by earthquakes and stone-robbers, the Colosseum has long been seen as an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome and is one of the finest surviving examples of Roman architecture. It is one of modern Rome's most popular tourist attractions and still has close connections with the Roman Catholic Church, whose Pope leads a torch lit "Way of the Cross" procession to the amphitheatre each Good Friday.

Colosseum Tours

 

Roman Forum

forum
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The Roman Forum (Forum Romanum, although the Romans called it more often the Forum Magnum or just the Forum) was the central area around which ancient Rome developed, in which commerce, business, prostitution, cult and the administration of justice took place. Here the communal hearth was located. Sequences of remains of paving show that sediment eroded from the surrounding hills was already raising the level of the forum in early Republican times. Originally it had been marshy ground, which was drained by the Tarquins with the Cloaca Maxima. Its final travertine paving, still to be seen, dates from the reign of Augustus.

Forum Tours

ostia mosaic

Step back 2,000 years and visit Ostia Antica

Located : 20 miles (approx 30-45 minutes) southwest of Rome, between Tiber River and the Tyrrhenian Sea, the ruins Ostia Antica is a superb example of a superbly preserved living Roman town.

The archaeological ruins apartments, inn, bars, pubs and grocery shop in Ostia Antica are in intact and offer a unique opportunity to understand the aspect of daily life, otherwise difficult in the busy capital.

It used to face directly onto the sea but now due to silt buildup over the centuries, lies inland three kilometers. In fact it was the sand blowing in gradually from the coast that has so well preserved the city for our eyes today. 'Ostia' means 'mouth' and refers to this city's important position at the mouth of the Tiber River.

 

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ostia ruins

Tours to Ostia

Scheduled Tours

Visit an extraordinary archeological site, as important and enticing as Pompei, awaits us: the impressive excavations of Ancient Ostia. This was the city-harbor funded by ancient Romans, at the mouth of the Tiber, and which later was hidden by floods and oblivion at to our days.

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From 55 €

Escorted Group Tour

Duration: 4hrs

Cost: $69.00 pp

Itinerary Details & Secure Online Booking

To request a private guided tour or for larger groups use the above Inquiry Form

Follow the sea road to Imperial Rome's historic port at Ostia on a half-day morning tour. It takes only 30 minutes to reach Ostia Antica, at the mouth of the Tiber river, and you’ll have plenty of time to explore the wonderfully preserved ruins. The ruins are convenient, compact and shady, and provide a tantalizing glimpse into daily life in ancient Rome.

Ostia was Rome's flourishing trade and business center, until the port was abandoned following the Barbarian invasions. The archaeological excavations undertaken at the beginning of the 14th century have brought the ancient city back to life. During your walk through the ruins your guide will provide enlightening insights into the cultural and social life of this historic settlement.

Your visit to Ostia Antica (ancient Ostia) starts at Via delle Tombe, which leads you to the Porta Romana, one of the city's three gates. This is the beginning of the Decumanus Maximus, the main thoroughfare that crosses the city from north-east to south-west.

You will then arrive at the Terme di Nettuno, where you can admire the beautiful black and white mosaics representing Neptune and Amphitrite, the theatre built by Agrippa, and the Forum which formed the center of the city. Here you will discover the main public buildings, Il Capitolium, the temple of Rome and Augustus, the Basilica and the large thermal baths.

Near the Forum square you will also find the House of Diana and the Thermopolium, an ancient Roman bar with a marble counter and a fresco depicting the fruit and foodstuffs that were sold there. At the end of Via dei Dipinti, a museum displays some of the ancient sculptures unearthed at Ostia.

Duration: 4hrs

Cost: $59.00 pp

Itinerary Details & Secure Online Booking

To request a private guided tour or for larger groups use the above Inquiry Form

Escape to Ostia Antica and see why experts are calling it "The Better Pompeii". It is just a step away from Rome and you'll travel in a personalized small group with maximum 25 people! The perfect half day trip from Rome for those seeking to learn more about ancient Roman ruins but do not have time to travel to Pompeii.

The beautifully preserved ruins of Ancient Ostia were founded in the 4th century BC and were once inhabited by over 100,000 people. Ancient Ostia is commonly referred to as "The Better Pompeii" due to the astonishing, highly-preserved condition of its buildings. Structures include taverns, baths, apartments, groceries and theatres - and their intact state so strikingly exceeds that of the Roman Forum, Imperial Forum and Pompeii, that it seems a misnomer to call them 'ruins'.

Walk the main street, the Decumanus Maximus, while your tour guide brings the stones around you to life. The Roman statues that line the walkways are in such perfect condition you'll feel as though you are walking amongst the ancient Romans themselves! You'll even be enticed to take a dip in the Baths of Neptune, which are crowned by a impressively intact mosaic of the sea god being drawn by a four horse chariot. And if you are a theatre fan, you'll enjoy Ancient Ostia's amphitheatre – whose structure is still so stable that you will be able to take your place in the stands as 3,500 Roman spectators once did back in 12BC when it was first constructed.

Your fluent English speaking tour guide takes care of all train tickets and making sure you everyone gets off at the right stop. All entrance tickets are included and all of the major sites will be covered in a 2.5 hour leisurely walk through the ruins - including but not limited to Ostia's Amphitheatre, Forum of the Corporations, the Collegiate Temple, the public tavern and public baths.

ostia painting

Ostia Antica + Ostia Lido

Something Different - VIP Tours

Discover the mysteries of this beautiful archeological park, with many wonderful mosaic floors, frescoes, statues and private and public buildings that remain intact today.

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Private Tours

Option 1 - Tour, Picnic Lunch and Cruise

Departures: Friday Saturday and Sunday

Itinerary:

08:30 Pickup from hotel with guide and transfer by car
09:30 Sightseeing
12:30 Picnic Lunch opposite the Ruins
01:30 Arrive at Dock
02:00 Return by boat
04:30 Arrive Rome Marconi Bridge

Price based on number of guests: 210 € pp based on 2 persons

Includes: Private transfer to Ostia, Private licensed guide for 4 hours of sightseeing, morning coffee, picnic lunch with wine, Cruise tickets, Private Transfer from the port to your hotel.

 

Option 2 - Tour and Seaview Restaurant

Departures: Monday to Thursday

Itinerary:

08:30 Pickup from hotel with guide and transfer by car
09:30 Sightseeing
12:30 Shuttle to Ostia Lido (10 mins)
01:00 Complete Lunch with a Sea View
02:30 Private Transfer to Rome
03:30 Arrive Rome   

Price based on number of guests: 254€ pp based on 2 persons

Includes: Private transfer to Ostia, Private licensed guide for half day sightseeing, morning coffee, lunch at a restaurant by the sea, Private Transfer to central Rome

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