Day 4 (December 20, 2009)   Ostia Antica


   Today we go out from the city taking a train from “Piramide” station to Ostia Antica, the ruins of the ancient city which was the harbour of the Roman Empire capital. In our return trip, we’ll take advantage of this same train stopping by Basilic of Saint Paul Outside the Walls for visiting it.

Ruta del Día 4

   The spots marked at the image are:

 0- Grand Hotel Tiberio
 1- Piramide
 2- Ostia Antica
 3- Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls


   We start early this journey as there is a long way out of the city to Ostia Antica. We start the trip around 9 AM. It is the same way than yesterday’s but leaving two stops after “Colosseo” station, in “Piramide”.

   We must go out to the street to get “Porta de San Paolo” (Saint Paul’s Gate) train station and we can see what is giving the name to the train station and, also, to the metro one.

Caio Cestio's PyramidSaint Paul's Gate

   There, we get into the train with destination C. Colombo which, in less than one hour, covers the seven stops until our goal. There, there is a short walk from the station to the entrance to the ruins of the city which was the harbour of the ancient Rome. We save the 8€ admission fee completing the two visits from our Rome Pass.

   At the moment of setting one foot in the complex we already know we’re going to enjoy this visit: we’re alone and can interact with the ruins at will and everything seems to be well signed to know what we’re seeing.

Map of Ostia Antica

 0- Entrance
 1- Baths of Neptune
 2- Theater
 3- Thermopolium
 4- House of Diana
 5- Capitolium
 6- Baths and Temple of Augustus and Rome
 7- Horrea Epagathiana
 8- House of Amor and Psique
 9- Baths of the Seven Sages
10- Trajan's School
11- Harbour

   We can see in the maps of the ruins set in display every when and then along the way this place is very large and we’re following the main stoned road, Decumanus Maximus, with no plan.

Begining of Decumanus Maximus, Ostia's main roadDecumanus Maximus

   After a short walk between trees and building foundations which seems to grow around from the ground as the vegetation itself, the way has taken us to what really looks as a city. We have the Baths of Neptune at our right, with a couple og magnificent mosaics as floor for two of its rooms.

Baths of NeptuneMosaic in Baths of Neptune

   Then we reach the Theater, where the other visitors appear, with even a school group trip with their teacher giving history lessons in one of the more appropriate school rooms I can imagine for such matters.

Ostia Antica's TheaterOstia Antica's Theater

Ostia Antica's TheaterOstia Antica's Theater

   Things are getting more difficult when we arrive to a place where streets and blocks are appearing at both sides, so it is not just a thing of following one main road, we must explore a larger area instead to get as much as possible.

   We reach a street with big houses (the called by Romans as “Domus”). It should be a good neighborhood where the rich people lived. We explore the Thermopolium also, the remains of a tavern, which we can show in this video:
House of Diana in Ostia Antica

   Then we arrive to the Forum, which we already could see before leaving the Decumanus Maximus road to explore the houses at our right. We can see the remains of Capitolium and the Temple of Augustus and Rome here.

Capitolium in Ostia Antica's ForumOstia Antica's Forum detail

   Then we take the “Via della Foce” to explore that remote area completely alone. We find buildings where we still can go upstairs to the second floor. We enjoy exploring the Baths of the Seven Sages, which I show in this video:
Mosaic in Baths of the Seven Sages

   It’s 12:30 PM when we understand we must start our return trip and we’re not going to visit the harbour, the most remote spot of this complex. We try to come back through unexplored areas.

Ostia Antica landscape
Street in Ostia AnticaHorrea Epagathiana's Gate

   This has been an excellent visit: exploring an ancient city at will is rare pleasure.

   It’s 1:20 PM when we leave the archaeological area and 1:40 PM when we leave the train one stop before the end of the line. We are in “Basilica S. Paolo” station and going to visit the Basilica giving name to this station and known as Saint Paul Outside of Walls.

   It is huge, as we can deduce from the walk all along its side to the entrance. Inside, it’s size is shown in magnificent white marble, big statues and column and the remote ceilings very decorated with paintings. The altarpiece has the relic giving sense to the whole thing: the chains used against Saint Paul.

Inside Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the WallsSaint Paul's chains

   There is a beautiful and animated Nativity scene here. Outside, a small garden completes a beautiful image of one of its façades.

   It’s 2:15 PM when we complete today’s last visit and only have in front getting our lunch. Our first thought is going to the hotel and lunching somewhere around as I think I’ve found aCourtyard of Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls shortcut for our trip from this morning: instead of taking the metro in “Piramide” to switch to train for one stop until hotel, we can directly take the train stopping at hotel, as the map I’m checking shows line FM3 – our line – starting in Piramide too.

   We do that but, when we see the name for the first station is “Trastevere”, and knowing the amount of restaurants on that neighborhood as yesterday we were there, we decide to go out here. Unfortunately our decision comes just one second later than the train doors are closed and we leave in the next station: Quattro Venti. We think one station cannot be far from Trastevere.

   Somehow we find a residential neighborhood which is not appearing detailed in any map. As we’re hungry and we can see a restaurant from far, we walk down some meters to getting in Bruno ai 4 venti. It looks good and modern and, once we get the menu, expensive too.

   We order one single course for each of us thinking one dish of pasta by more than 10€ must be big, but it results to be standard size and we add a few “antipasti” to get full. We pay a some more than 30€ in total.

   We come back to the train to cover the three train station to the hotel, where we only go out for some snacks as diner, just around. We’ve walked enough for today.