Rome Family Vacation: Day 5 – Ostia Antica

For our final full day in Rome, we decided to take a train outside the city to visit Ostia Antica, a well preserved ancient Roman city.

If you’d like to hear about our previous days in Rome, please check out Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4!

At least we saw this really cool fountain at the Spanish steps

We started the day off pretty well and left the apartment bright and early to head to the train station. Our plan was to take the metro to the train station and then hop on a train to Ostia Antica. When we got to the metro station stairs, a man selling tours convinced us that it would be easier with the stroller to just take the bus to the train station instead.

Worst.Idea.Ever.

First, we couldn’t find the right bus and then we waited forever at the bus station and so finally we ended up walking to the Spanish Steps and hopping on the metro there to get to the train station.

It took up most of our morning and honestly, the metro wasn’t that hard to maneuver with the double stroller. The stairs are always tricky, but we’ve found that people are generally nice and willing to help us out when we need an extra hand.

They had several cats at the ruins that were all very friendly and well-taken care of. We loved saying hello to all of them!

Ostia Antica is about a half hour from Rome (if you don’t have to spend the morning wandering around the city looking for a bus…).

It was used as a seaport for Rome and had around 60,000 residents at it’s peak. Eventually it was abandoned after the fall of the Roman Empire and luckily the mud that came to cover it up helped to keep it well preserved and protect it from being sacked.

The theatre entrance

We ate lunch at the little restaurant there and then began to explore the ruins. Again, we listened to a free Rick Steves audio tour as we walked around. It was a nice to get an explanation of some of the sights that we saw.

The theatre seating

One of the most impressive sights was the theatre that is still used at times today. It’s one of the oldest theatres in the world! It was really neat being able to sit there and imagine how it was 2,000 years ago. Also, the view from the top of the stairs was fantastic!

The beautiful view from the top of the theatre

We also saw the Square of the Guilds which is where merchants would sell different items or services. This was really amazing because the mosaics used to describe the businesses are still there today! We loved walking around and guessing each merchant by the mosaic left behind. London had a great time learning about what a mosaic is and how it’s made. She also loved pointing out what each picture was.

Squire of the Guilds
Such amazing mosaics!

We strolled further down and into the city and learned about ancient apartments back then. The apartments were so small that they didn’t even have kitchens inside them! Instead they would eat at the local restaurant for their meals.

Outside of an ancient Roman apartment

The restaurant was across from the biggest apartment building and was still in great shape. The counter was still intact and you could definitely imagine what it would have been like back in the day. I really couldn’t get over how well-preserved it was!

At the restaurant counter
The public bathrooms

We really enjoyed wandering around the ruins. I only wish that we would have had more time there! It was great for the kids because our toddler could walk most of the time and run around in the grass. Tons of pretty wildflowers were everywhere and London had a blast picking a few of them.

Ostia Antica closed around 5 or 6 pm (in February… They might be open later in the summer).

We had a wonderful day exploring this ancient town! It was great getting out of the city and away from the crowds for a day. I highly recommend checking this place out, especially with how close it is to Rome! It gave us a great picture of what everyday Roman life was like and really helped to complete our tour of the ancient sites.

Our 6th and final day in Rome was spent packing in the morning and heading to the airport. We took a metro to the train station and took a train straight to the airport with no issues. Our plane was a little bit delayed, but other than that was okay. It was a really fantastic trip overall and one that we will always remember!

For more information about Ostia Antica, check out:
https://www.ricksteves.com/watch-read-listen/read/articles/ostia-antica-near-rome
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ostia_Antica

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