I still remember those history classes, where my teacher was wonderfully narrating the stories of great empires, bygone civilizations, lost cities and their glorious past. I always marvelled, both at my teacher and the tales from the past. Unknowingly that is when, an ingenious interest lurked into me and now here I am travelling around the world in search of lost stories
While walking in the streets of Rome, I could see the Roman ruins near and far and it was definitely a sight to behold. All the pictures from textbooks now got into life and stood as an emblem of Roman glories. They say “Rome was not built in a day”. It is definitely true as a day or two will not be sufficient to sneak and peek all the monuments. But we managed to visit the major ones in the first two days.
Ostia antica was next in our list which is about one hour train journey from Rome. Centuries back It was a port city on the Italian coast and now just a ruin telling its stories to all. It was a cloudy winter morning and could feel the numbness in my feet even though I stuffed myself into cosy clothes.
Ostia antica is located at the mouth (ostium) of the Tiber River. This town was founded around 7th century BC and during the Roman period it had become the major port city reaching its peak glory. But in the later centuries, it lost its importance as the harbour got silted up and fall of the Roman Empire made this uninhibited. Millennium passed and seized the whole city into its hands.
Soon, with the birds chirping all around, crossing the Roman gate we found ourselves in the Decumanus Maximus, which is the main street of Ostia. There were brick walled buildings, which looked like someone’s half-finished work. The main attraction was a semi-circular amphitheatre, that can hold up to 3000 people at a time. Baths of Neptune showed us beautiful mosaics on the floor with sea god pictured in it. Capitolium was once the temple for Capitoline gods such as Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. Hotels, Bars, apartments all from the old city were kept intact. A museum in this excavation site offered a chance to see some of the beautiful statues.
At the end of this town there is a sea gate called Porta Marina, which indicates the end of the city. It took us almost 5 hours to walk across bars, hotels, fish markets, temples and make a tick on the map which we were carrying. Slowly the air around us grew colder and colder and suddenly it started snowing. We could see no one around us. It was only we two in the whole big city. Before it was getting much darker and colder we already on our way back to Rome.