|OSTIA VISITING THE RUINS|
|Hints and tips for visiting Ostia, Portus and the Villa of Plinius.|
For information about visiting Ostia, please consult our Tourist guide.
[Two apartments in Ostia Antica, for 2-3 and 2-6 persons]
The entrance of the excavations. Photograph: Jan Theo Bakker.
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The cafetaria near the museum. Photograph: Eric Taylor.
The ruins of Portus are spread out amongst many roads and highways leading to Leonardo da Vinci airport. If you do not have a car, the visit will be a particular challenge. A taxi can drop you off at the museum. Make sure to write down the number of the taxi central, that you will have to phone to leave after the visit.
We suggest that you prepare your visit by reading the pages about Portus on the Ostia website, and by having a good look at Google Earth: open the ostia.kmz.
Free and guided tours begin at the Museo delle Navi, Museum of the Ships (Via Alessandro Guidoni, 35, Fiumicino, RM, Lazio 00054, Italy). You need to book in advance by phoning the Museo delle Navi at 00 39 06 652 91 92. You can also try this e-mail address: ostia at arti.beniculturali.it. The visit will be cancelled when it rains. Near the Museum you will get a general introduction to Portus, in Italian. Next, the cars drive to the entrance of the excavations, near Trajan's basin (Via Portuense, Scavi del Porto di Roma). If you do not have a car you can probably get a lift from one of the other visitors. The guided tour, in Italian, takes a couple of hours. This is on the part of the excavations that is now owned by the State. You can see the basin of Trajan only from a distance, because it is still on private property of the Torlonia family. However, it is possible to visit the basin in another way. From the entrance go east in the direction of the Episcopium. After having passed the Episcopium on your right you can enter the Oasi di Porto. According to their website they are open only on Thursdays and Sundays (!), from 10.00 to 16.00, from mid-October to mid-June. Phone: 00 39 06 5 880 880 or try info at oasidiporto.it. Here you can walk and drive around the basin in horse-drawn wagons.
Remember: if you do not have a car, there is no way of getting back to anywhere safely. If you have the phone number of a taxi central you can ask them to pick you up and take you to the airport. We highly recommend the visit, but please be prepared well. Take some food and drink with you also.Back to index
Isola Sacra necropolis
Currently closed to the public
On the Isola Sacra, the "Sacred Island" between Ostia and Portus, a very large part of an enchanting necropolis has been excavated. Few people can find the time to visit it, which is a pity, but makes a visit even more attractive.
Directions to Isola Sacra: take the Rome-Ostia line to Lido Centro (2nd stop after Ostia Antica). Exit the station, and walk back inside to the main ticket window and buy two Linee Laziali bus tickets. The bus that passes the site of Isola Sacra is marked Ostia-Isola Sacra-Fiumicino (an orange bus; the line does not have a number). The bus stop is currently on the strip of sidewalk immediately outside the train station near ticket booths. Essentially when you walk back outside from the ticket booths, you are standing by the bus stop. There is a schedule for the bus posted next to the train schedules inside the station.
When the bus comes, expect a 20 minute ride through the centre of town, on the highway past the edge of Ostia Antica, and other interesting bits of ruins, and finally on a multi-lane divided road. When the bus crosses the Tiber, start looking for the next landmark - a large water tower on the right hand side. Ring the bell for the bus stop just before the bus passes the tower - the bus stop for the Isola Sacra necropolis is the next stop.
When you step off the bus, you will be in the middle of a divided road. Walk a few steps up to the traffic light and crosswalk, and cross the part of the road to your right. A smaller road intersects with the main road here. Walk along this smaller road, which runs past fields and a few walled houses, until you come to an intersection, and turn left at the intersection. This road will take you right to the entrance to Isola Sacra. There is a hand-painted sign hanging at this intersection that says "Necropoli" with a left arrow. Admission to the site is currently free, but after you walk through the gate, turn right and sign the guest book in the gatehouse. There are bathrooms and water, but there is no food nor any place to eat nearby. The hours are the same as for Ostia Antica.
See also a description by Caroline Lawrence.
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The sign visitors should look for. Photograph: Saskia Stevens.
So-called Villa of Plinius
See a description by Caroline Lawrence.Back to index
[JThB - last updated: 15-Apr-2011; for this page I would like to thank Barbara Cooper, Caroline Lawrence, and Kathryn McDonnell]