Six kilometers from each other and both having Ostia in their names, these places are, however, two historically different places. The first one offers all the water joys of a beach vacation (Lido di Ostia) while the second city (Ostia Antica) has a spectacular view of the most ancient ruins that belonged to the Roman Empire. Keeping the order of going first to Ostia Antica and then cooling off in Lido di Ostia can become a great day trip for you.
Ostia Antica belonged to the ancient Roman Empire. In some ancient chronicles we can read that the place dates back to the 7th century BC. This place can be compared to the ruins of Pompeii and many people report Ostia Antica to be a better place to explore than Pompeii itself. The first reason is that it's much more spacious. Secondly, there are visibly less people here and, thirdly, this ancient city is in a very good state and also allows you to peep into almost every corner as compared to the crowded Pompeii and many restrictions it has. You even can climb to the second floor of some villas, which is not possible in Pompei at all. It can be a good idea to visit Ostia Antica for a whole day. It is definitely worth it.
It is said that the first settlements here were army camps and then due to its strategically good location (estuary of the river Tiber) the place gradually grew into a significant Roman port. It was a place for very rich patricians and an important part of Rome, because it controlled the sea and trades, which was a big part of political power for those times.
An interesting fact about Ostia Antica is that 2000 years ago the city was situated right on the seashore near the estuary of Tiber getting right into the Tyrrhenian Sea. Obviously, otherwise it couldn’t be a port city. With time the sea moved back and the watercourse of the river changed completely, too.
In fact, it is very easy. You need to buy a ticket and go by metro with the blue line B to the the station Basilica di S. Paolo. You go out and down the stairs of this metro station and find other stairs leading up. You need to go up until you get to the platform with the trains similar to the metro ones. Any train that stops here will go to Lido di Ostia, so you won’t be mistaken. It will take you about 15 minutes to reach Ostia Antica. Don’t confuse it with Lido di Ostia, to which you will probably go later with the same train.
In terms of tickets, the best thing is to buy a daily ticket. But one-way ticket can be also good, because you can use it on every train and it is good for 100 minutes, which will definitely be enough for this trip.
This spectacular park possesses a quite vast territory. Time has preserved this area generously for our generation. Many scenes can be found in Ostia Antica and only here. You can see the everyday life of ancient Romans, insulas, antique stores and villa’s of the richest patrician who lived in the place, which once was a famous port.
Some of the places, like Ostia’s Decorated Houses, can be visited only after reservation (no extra-fees). Please, check out the official page for more information about all kinds of events and excursions that happen here.
Ticket Price:10 euro
Open: from Tuesday to Sunday
Closed: on Monday, 1 January, 1 May, 25 December
More detailed information about the opening hours, please, check on the official website. Note that there is a significant difference for the visitors that depends on the time of the year.
Official Website: ostiaantica.beniculturali.it
If you want a little beach experience you can go to Lido di Ostia, which is very near to Ostia Antica and is the closest beach to Rome. There are some public beaches there within walking distance from the station. Don’t expect anything extraordinary though, just a beach with people and nothing in particular. The shore is sandy and the sea can be good for cooling off and making a change in the scenery, but staying the whole day here won’t cut the mustard.
Although you can find some beaches with no payment, most of them will ask you for a day fee, but in return they will provide you with a comfortable clean and well-equipped area. The seashore is divided into areas, which are called stabilimenti. The payment for each stabilimento varies from 10 to 35 euro depending on the proximity to the sea and many other factors. Some of the best equipped beaches of Lido di Ostia are, for instance, Le Palme and Battistini. Public beaches can be good for a short stay, but if you want to rest properly in less crowded places choose to pay and you will enjoy it more.
If you go from Rome, then follow the same steps as in the case with Ostia Antica, because we are talking about the same direction and the same train here.
In case you go to Lido di Ostia after Ostia Antica, you can return to the same station, from which you arrived to the place and proceed to the next station. You won't have to wait much for the next train as it comes every 15 minutes, so you will get there very quickly.
To go back you just need to reverse the directions. Easy as a pie. Good luck with your journey!