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Rome: Ostia Antica Daytrip Directions March'05


May 14th, 2005, 03:17 PM
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Rome: Ostia Antica Daytrip Directions March'05

I have posted these directions in the past but I have updated them after my recent visit. Ostia is closed on Mondays and hopefully they are once again renting audioguides.
Ostia is a close 2nd to Pompeii but has one advantage over Pompeii, almost total freedom to explore the ruins as very little is closed-off.
Hit the main sites and then wander off the beaten track, that is where this site gets' interesting, by making your own little discoveries. 3 daytrips and I'm still finding cool little things . Regards, Walter

This trip requires 1 easy change of trains, from the metro to a commuter train. You can get there and back (R/T) with either 2 Rome Metro/Bus tickets (1e each & valid for 75minutes-watch your time!), a 1 Metro/bus Daypass (4e), a 3-day pass (11e-if they still sell them?) or a Weekly pass (16e).  
 So the *exact* same ticket you used to board the metro (or bus) is also valid on the Ferrovia Rome-Lido commuter train to Ostia Antica.

It takes ~50min** from the Termini metro stop to Ostia Antica's train station and then a 5 minute walk to the site. **I include waiting time for the metro and train, in 3 trips to Ostia I've done it in less than an hour. Once from Ostia's entrance gate to my Termini area hotel in 55min.

Take Metro Line "B" towards "Laurentina" and get off at the "Piramide" stop (4 stops from Termini-6 minutes). It's a small station, the Metro stop is outside and below streetlevel and the Lido trains are unseen but parallel to the metro tracks at street level.

Exit the metro car and turn left and you will see escalator/stairs and a sign "Ferrovia Roma-Lido".
 Top of stairs, turn left (crossing over the metro tracks) and you will see 6 platforms. Before you enter the platform area you will see an electronic signboard showing at what time and from what platform the next train is leaving from.
 There are also electronic signboards at the head of each of the 6 platforms.
And don't worry, *All* of these trains go Lido and *all* stop at Ostia Antica. But not all are used during the off-peak non-rush hours, which is why you might have to wait a bit (30min max if you just missed the train).

There is a w.c. inside the station and on Platform 6. If you have time step *right* outside the station and see the Pyramid of Cestius c.18-12BC and the Ostia Gate & Walls AD 271-5 which has a small museum or visit the Protestant Cemetery nearby (resting place of Keats & Shelley-well his heart is buried there.
Also the snackbar in front of the station has some cheap decent food.

Board the train and to ease your mind look above the door at the train station map. Ostia Antica is the 7th stop and takes ~23min.
 Notice when you 1st get off the train at Ostia Antica: Across the tracks is the small station just to the left is a w.c.
  40M in front of the station is a blue pedestrian bridge that you'll want to take. There are stairs to take you beneath the tracks and over to the station. If you have a problem with stairs there is an elevator past the stairs.
Exit the station and walk over the highway on that pedestrian bridge and then just go straight. In ~100m you cross a 2 lane road, then in ~30m thru an open green gate and then into their parking lot. 80m to the left is the ticket booth, entrance and w.c. Bottomline: Just exit the train station and go straight and you'll run right into the site, it is also signposted. 
Tickets are ~5e and I suggest getting the audio guide *if* it is available, it wasn't available in Mar'05 for some reason! Hopefully this is just a temporary thing, the audioguide is very good and costs ~4e (have a picture ID or CC for security).
 There are guidebooks and maps sold at the ticket booth.

Don't forget to visit the museum (w.c.) and the very historic Synagogue (a bit off the beaten track though).
 *Also* be sure to bring water or even better yet pack a small picnic lunch and have a quiet picnic it any of the hundreds of secluded out of the way spots.
There is also a restaurant behind the museum (cafeteria style-decent prices), along with a book & gift shop.

After the audio guide tour is over be certain to visit the western end of the site. You can walk around so alone among the maze-like buildings and paths and make amazing discoveries on your own.

I like the area in the V section of Decumanus Maximus and Via Della Foce. Look for a 2 storey building that you can climb on top of in this area (good view) but also that particular area has some excellent areas to explore and find mosaics, frescos and some pretty cool rooms.  
 One overlooked really cool site is the Baths of Mithras where the "Mithras and the Bull" statue was found, now in the museum but replaced by a copy. On the main road thru the site (Decumaus Maximus) ~75m west of the Capitolium/Forum area, you come upon a main intersection. There is a road (90deg) to your left & right and the main road goes straight but at a slight left angle, at a 45deg angle to your right there is a road/path, take it. You will see on the right 2 red tile covered protected sites followed by 5 trees in a row, take a right after the 5th tree, you will come upon the Baths on your right (it's the last ruin, 2 columns and a taller lone column with a capital on top. Now see the short (3 sections, 1m high) modern cast iron fence (NW corner of the Baths) below that is the entrance to the underground Mithraeum and the statue.

 Now walk back out to that road/path, the 5 trees are on your left. Look 45deg to the right and across that road/path and explore that bldg (House of Serapis) and those behind it (Baths of the Seven Sages & House of the Charioteers). These 3 bldg are connected and between two main streets (Via della Foce & Via Degli Aurighi) and a wonderful site to explore.

Another good area to explore is the southern middle of the site, roughly between the Theater and the Forum.
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May 14th, 2005, 04:37 PM
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ParadiseLost, what a wealth of information!! How nice of you to take all this time and trouble to post such a detailed description for everyone.

BTW, anyone that wants to "save" this can email it to themselves. That is what I am going to do! Thanks again PariadiseLost.

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Oct 23rd, 2005, 09:12 AM
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TTT and also from reading recent posts (summer '05) the audioguide is once again available, I *believe* it was revised and possibly expanded.
Regards, Walter
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Oct 23rd, 2005, 09:22 AM
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provided a link to this on Helpful Information Italy
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Sep 17th, 2006, 10:12 AM
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The NYT has an article about Ostia Antica with info for taking the boat from Rome to Ostia Antica (2hrs).

Also I went to Ostia in May '06 on a 'Context Rome' tour and the sign on the ticket booth said 'No Audioguides'.

So while in Rome you might want to pick-up an Ostia Antica guidebook. This way you could study it before you go rather than getting one at the site.

Bookshops at Rome's historical sites (Roman Forum, Colosseum, etc) and museums will usually carry it and tourist souvenir stands might have it also.


[In case that URL goes dead someday, here's the boat info]

The boat departs around 9:15 a.m., Friday to Sunday (reservations, 39-06-678-9361, www.battellidiroma.it ; 12 euros one way, 13 euros round trip) The main pier for tourist boats is at the foot of the Marconi Bridge. The signs are baffling. Ignore the sign in the parking lot indicating the direction for the Ostia Antica boat. Simply walk down the little concrete walkway to the right of that sign, which advertises the Battelli di Roma, and there is the boat, the Calpurnia, across the Tiber from a horse stable. Regards, Walter
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Dec 3rd, 2006, 11:06 AM
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Walter, Thanks for doing all the work of posting this valuable information. I am considering a visit to Ostia Antica in January. I do not want to spend the 100s of Euros for a ContextRome guide; are there freelance guides at the entrance to this site, do you know? (In January?) I know I can see the site myself but like the idea of a guide and since the audio guides no longer appear to be available....
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Dec 3rd, 2006, 11:38 AM
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In 4 trips there (Feb, Mar, May) I have never seen any guides hanging around the entrance or noticed ID wearing guides within the ruins.

And there is a November '06 trip report posted that also mentions no audioguides still .
Pity, they were really good audio tours with options for more info at most of the sites.

But doing the visit with just their guidebook is still a pretty good tour.
Regards, Walter
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Dec 3rd, 2006, 11:46 AM
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Walter thanks so much for the quick reponse. I guess we will just have to wing it with the guidebook...pity about those audioguides, though.
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Dec 3rd, 2006, 11:47 AM
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As I mentioned in my trip report, there were no audoguides, no human guides, no maps, and no guidebooks in English available at the ticket booth in October of this year. You might try in Rome before you go.

While some guidance would have been helpful, the trip was still very worthwhile. With so few people about, you almost got the feeling that you were an explorer stumbling on these ruins for the first time. It only took a short walk away from the main paths, and one was completely out of sight of everyone.

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Dec 3rd, 2006, 10:42 PM
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We had the explorer feeling too! And there are no hawkers, guides to hire, or really anyone just hanging around. It is so empty, it is a great place for photos.

I knew from past experience there were not audioguides. Looked through several guidebooks and the Rick Steves Rome had the most information on Ostia compared to the main brands. Many just had a paragraph on Ostia, but Steves wrote a chapter,with illustrations and little maps. He explained the mosaics of certain buildings, etc. My kids loved the guild area and the 18-seat toilet. Of course your best bet is to hire Walter.
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Dec 4th, 2006, 06:45 PM
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Walter, can we hire you to take us to Ostia Antica? I love how you point out all of the WC's...priorities in place.

Thinking of trying to get there on our own via public transport, although that bus system still mystifies...

thanks for all of the details! Also, there is a link to Rick Steve's info, I printed it out:


click on the second link, I don't know why it duplicated, but the first one doesn't work...
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Dec 4th, 2006, 09:57 PM
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No buses are needed, it's train to the door. Watch for signs when you emerge from the station. You walk about what, a block or two?

I should vouch that Walter's description of the train route is VERY accurate, especially the changing trains part. Print it out and bring it.

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Dec 11th, 2006, 08:26 PM
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Walter, this is great. Thank you for the detailed info! Looking into side trips from Rome and this will be very helpful if we do indeed go to Ostia Antica.
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Mar 12th, 2007, 12:39 PM
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Great info! Thank you as always, Walter. Did anyone see the photo of the Decumanus Maximus in the recent National Geographic Traveler? I'd love to be there at sunrise...
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Mar 12th, 2007, 01:10 PM
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Walter - great info. It is really easy to find your way there.

Another advantage to Ostia Antica is the lack of crowds. We splurged and took a Context Rome tour. As it turned out, we were the only two in the group, so we wandered everywhere we wanted to go with a guide. I would recommend a guide book if you don't have a guide.

When we were there several years ago there were local guides inside the gates. They were the "official guides" and followed us until they were satisfied that our docent wasn't a hired guide (we acted as if she were a friend!). Evidently they were the only guides that you were suppose to use. Guess that's changed.

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Mar 12th, 2007, 01:48 PM
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Did anyone run into one of the snack bar waitstaff wearing a toga and sandals while walking around Ostia Antica? We were there on a hot August afternoon and there were literally no other people there. I came around a corner and ran smack into a long-haired guy in a toga and sandals filling an earthenware jug up at one of the water spigots and for about 10 seconds I was convinced I'd traveled back in time!
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Mar 17th, 2007, 08:56 PM
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No, but it would have been fun, StCirq. We were told that in the summer time they do operas there, maybe it was an actor?

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Apr 30th, 2007, 05:09 PM
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AUDIO GUIDES as of 4/27/07:

According to the box office attendant, audioguides are available but only in the morning.

Unfortunately we were there in the afternoon so we didn't get to use them. Definitely heed ParadiseLost/Walter's great advice and review a book on Ostia Antica ahead of time if you won't have a (live or audio) guide. English language guidebooks and maps were available for purchase during our visit and there were no guides for hire at the entrance...there were lots of school groups and other tourists though so I'd definitely recommend a morning visit.

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May 2nd, 2007, 09:01 PM
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May 27th, 2007, 03:24 AM
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I just wanted to add Fodors' Miniguides' info and directions. Regards, Walter
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