The beautifully preserved ruins of Ostia Antica, Rome’s ancient seaport, lie twenty miles from the modern metropolis, in the meadows between the Tiber River and the Tyrrhenian Sea. Founded, probably in the 4th century BC, as a military colony to guard the river mouth against seaborne invasions, Ostia served as a busy commercial port when Rome controlled all the Mediterranean in the 2nd century BC.
With the fall of Rome, the port was abandoned and shepherds with their herds settled in. This once thriving city of around 60,000 people gives a peek at Roman lifestyles with docks, warehouses, apartments and mansions, shops, baths and temples.
As you walk along Ostia’s main street, the Decumanus Maximus, your feet settle into deep ruts left by the carts used to ferry merchandise and baggage between Rome and Ostia and you will discover the second best-preserved ancient Roman town after Pompeii.