I still remember those history classes, when 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 interest towards the history had grown inside of me and now here I am, travelling around the world in search of lost stories. When I moved to the Europe, the first place I ever visited is Rome and it didn’t disappoint me.
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 then got into life and stood as an emblem of Roman glories. They say “Rome was not built in a day” and hence definitely a day or two will not suffice to visit all the monuments. But we managed to see the major ones in the first two days.
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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.
abandoned port city!
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 had lost its importance as the harbour got silted up. Also fall of the Roman Empire made this place deserted. Millennium seized the whole city into its hands.
It was on a cloudy winter morning, we took the train from Rome and reached Ostia Antica. I could feel the numbness in my feet even though I had stuffed myself into cosy clothes. Soon, with the birds chirping all around, we crossed the Roman gate (Porta Romana) at the entrance and found ourselves in the Decumanus Maximus, which is the main street of this ancient city.
Walking among the ruins
There were brick walled buildings, which looked like someone’s half-finished work. The main attraction there 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 depicted in it.
Capitolium, once worshipped as the temple for Capitoline gods such as Jupiter, Juno and Minerva was standing just as a ruin. Hotels, bars, apartments, toilets could also be well identified. 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. Suddenly it started to snow. We could see no one around us. Before it was getting much darker and colder we started our return journey towards Rome.
If you are planning to visit a place just outside the Rome, this place could be one best option. What are your thoughts on this? We would love to hear from you.