Ostia vs. Pompeii

Old May 2nd, 2005, 11:48 AM
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Ostia vs. Pompeii

I am traveling in July to Rome with two teenage boys. We only have three full days in Rome. With that in mind, we plan to dedicate two full days to seeing the traditional tourist attractions and planned to see something "outside Rome" for the remaining day. Therefore, would you visit Ostia or Pompeii? Both my boys have studied Latin and are interested in seeing Pompeii, but a trip to Pompeii would require a very long trip as I understand that it is a 3 hour trip by train each way. Ostia is much closer and would be a much easier trip. Some have suggested that Pompeii is well worth the 6 hour train trip but I am not sure the lengthly train trip is worth it. Advice please.

Thanks!
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 12:23 PM
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Pompeii is fairly large and requires a minimum of 4 hours on-site to really enjoy it and see anything. Therefore it's just NOt a good choice as a day-trip from Rome, as special as it is.

Haven't seen Ostia but it sounds interesting to me!

We had 3 full days in rome and definitely didn't run out of things to do! rome is just packed with historic wonders. Consider what we did...it was terrific for us...1 day for Ancient rome (the Pantheon, the Colosseum, the Trevi fountain which isn't far from the Pantheon, the Roman Forum, etc.) 1 day for the VAtican and St. peter's. And 1 day, the last day in rome, as spontaneous free choice day. If you choose a hotel with a good location near lots of sights, such as near the Pantheon, by the tiime your last day comes, everyone will know just how they want to spend that last day. Worked great for us.

But you can still do your research and have a tentative plan for the last day in case everybody doesn't have a clue what they want to do. But I promise you, this won't happen in Rome!
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 12:24 PM
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I have not been to Ostia, which I understand is quite worthwhile. However, I have made the day trip from Rome to Pompeii twice and highly recommend it, especially since your sons are interested in going there. You can take the train to Naples and the Circumvesuviana commuter train from there to the Pompeii Scavi station, which is right at the entrance to the Pompeii site. Or you can take the shuttle bus offered by Enjoy Rome (www.enjoyrome.com). I have done it both ways. The bus ride is more relaxing, but you have to go at the times they are scheduled. The train gives you more flexibility.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 12:37 PM
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Given your short stay, I think Ostia is a fine choice. There is a LOT to see there, and make certain you climb up to the top of the "terms", the thermal baths. The views from the top are amazing---one of them looks down on a Greek-style of theater. I went to both Ostia and Pompeii on my last trip to Rome, and I was really glad I did. It's interesting to compare the two, but each certainly has its own merits which deserve to be explored. I really enjoyed Ostia a lot, and am glad I went.

BC
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 12:37 PM
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AnnieGoo, while Pompeii is pretty cool, keep this in mind...with only three full days in Rome, the 6 hours you would spend just in transportation to Pompeii is a considerable chunk of time that you would be wasting...this same 6 hours would be enough time to take in something else in Rome which you would otherwise miss. Pompeii is better as a day-trip from Sorrento on the circumvesuviana train, much shorter train trip, but that's another trip for you.

by the way we saw Pompeii without a guide much to my regret. You need a guide in Pompeii. They give you a map but it's intricate and confusing. I couldn't find anything! If you decide you simply have to visit Pompeii, get a private guide. don't get a group tour, though...get a private guide.

I think you should see Ostia instead if you want ruins closer to Rome, but I haven't seen them mysefl.

The colosseum, roman forum, etc. are all ruins too.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 12:43 PM
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Thanks for the wonderful comments and suggestions. 6 hours on a train would NOT be my choice unless it was something absolutely wonderful. It is likely that neither boy will become a history major or archeologist, so we probably can miss Pompeii. Melissa5 your suggestions are great and we probably will leave our last day "open". Thanks again for the great comments!
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 12:46 PM
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Pompeii was sure interesting, and we surprised ourselves by spending ALL day there, fascinated with it. Still, we were often disappointed with how many times we'd hear "if you go to the Naples Archeological Museum you will see what came out of this house".

We also enjoyed Ostia -- just this past summer. I'm not sure if we hadn't previously seen Pompeii if Ostia would have impressed us as much as Pompeii did -- or if that original impression of Pompeii was partly because we'd never seen anything even remotely like it. In a sense there is almost as much to see at Ostia as there is at Pompeii -- though much of it is not as complete. And we really enjoyed the small museum at Ostia where you'd see sculptures from buildings we had just visited. (How great it would be if you had the opportunity to immediately visit the Naples Museum to see the things removed from Pompeii, while it is all fresh in your mind).

The bottom line? I'd opt for Ostia and forget the 6 hours by train to Pompeii.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 01:04 PM
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I've been to both and found both to be great.

The daytrip from Pompeii was actually quite pleasant in my opinion. We woke up early, trained to Pompeii, spent 4-5 hours wondering around, and were back in Rome in time for dinner. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

With that being said, Ostia is wonderful in itself. The huge benefit to visiting Ostia, besides its proximitey to Rome, is that it had much fewer crowds. Ostia is huge and you can easily spend a better part of a day wandering around.

While I personally probably prefer Pompeii, I think Ostia is wonderful as well. You can't go wrong either way.

Tracy
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 04:20 PM
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Without a doubt, under your circumstances I'd see Ostia.I'd strongly suggest looking into Context Rome's Ostia excursion.You'll be going with an archaeologist who will make the place really come alive for you.Pompeii is great,but Ostia is a jewel in its own right.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 04:34 PM
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Logistically, it's no contest. Ostia is a quick 30 or 45-minute subway ride from Rome, while Pompeii is a 3-hour-plus schlep.

Ostia has everything Pompeii has except a volcano, tourists, and water. It does, however, have trees! Ostia is a great place to bring a picnic lunch and see Old Roman Stuff(tm) -- just make sure to bring water with you.

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Old May 2nd, 2005, 07:20 PM
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Actually there is now a very nice cafeteria/snack bar at Ostia where you can get water as well as snacks or full meals. That was a surprise to us, as the guidebooks had mentioned none existed. It seemed very new this past summer, so I assume it is.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 07:47 PM
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Hello AnnieGoo, one more hand raised for the vote to go to Ostia. If you were spending more time in Rome then Pompeii would be a good trip to do but with three days in Rome Ostia IMO would be the location to go to. Enjoy this special time with your sons. A trip I am sure you will all always remember.
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