Ostia was probably Roman Empires first colony.
The city, situated at the mouth of the Tiber River, was Rome’s seaport. Thanks to years of silting the site is now located 3 kilometers from the sea.
In 68 BC Ostia was attacked by pirates and partly destroyed. When it was reconstructed protective walls were added.
When Constantine I became Emperor Ostia started a slow decline. Other ports were built and the city turned into a country retreat for rich people. With the end of the Empire Ostia was abandoned.
During the Baroque period many architects used the site as a marble’s warehouse; several of the Baroque palaces present in Rome were built with Ostia’s marble. Also ancient objects and statues were “sacked” during this period.
The Popes started to gain interest in the site, but only under Mussolini the site was explored by archeologists. The excavations, interrupted by the Second World War, helped to rediscover many buildings from the republican period.
A Synagogue was also discovered around the second half of the 20th century. The Ostia Synagogue is the oldest one found in Europe.
Extremely interesting is the visit of the public latrinas literally latrines. It seems very strange to us now but in the times of the Romans, public latrines were places to socialize. This area of Ostia reveals the importance of this custom.
The amazing theatre of Ostia is also a must see. This well preserved site offers a wonderful view of the ancient streets. A wonderful spot from which to cast yourself back in time!