Rome Day 15 / Ostia-Antica

This morning started early – we hopped on the A subway, transferred at Termini to the B line, then got off at Piramide where we found the train station. Tickets were only €1 per person each way to Ostica-Antica which ended up to be about a 25 minute ride from the Piramide/San Giovanni starting point. We really didn’t know what we were in for so we just followed the other pedestrians about two blocks and paid our entry into what turned out to be a ruins site (we were looking for a beach).

Walking through the ruins, we got a taste of what it was really like to live in an ancient colony – there were multi-story apartments, a forum, theater, bath house, merchants and more. The buildings were very well-preserved considering they were 2-3000 years old. Among the ruins there were many, many black and white mosaic floors – both inside and outside buildings – depicting sea life and other aspects of their community. We saw many similar floors in the Vatican Museums as they had been moved there from Ostia several years prior. Many of the sculptures in the Vatican were also from this anient city.

We followed along the recommended pathway toward a place marked “ancient beach” on the map, only to realize that the beach was no longer there – it was now a freeway and apparently the coastline is now about five miles away!

After a disappointing and overpriced lunch in the museum’s cafeteria (spent among countless Italian schoolkids), we took a walk back to the train station and asked the guy at the newsstand how to find the beach. Following his advice, we continued on the train to the end of the line (about 4-5 stops) which ended up being directly across the street from the beach. Of course it is March, cold and rainy, and especially on a Thursday nobody is really anxious to sunbathe. We made our way through a closed resort and passed through a small gate before coming upon the sandy shore. There was a lot of wind, cold, and rough waves but it was nice to see the water after being landlocked for so long. We did see a storm coming in the distance so we didn’t linger – instead we opted to have a bottle of wine at an (indoor) seaside restaurant before taking the train back to Rome. On our train ride back we encountered some gypsies playing the fiddle and accordion but fortunately we made it back to the B&B with all our gear/wallets/bags etc.

This night we went to dinner with our B&B hosts Max and Lavinia at Lo Scopettaro where I had been the week before with my group from work. It was a lot of fun – Max & Lavinia are nice people and it was great to get to know them better. I feel like we’ve made new friends, not just business associates. We were out until late that night just enjoying each others’ company. Tomorrow is our last full day before heading home.

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