That would be me, Mrs. Moglie. Married to a native Italian, Mr. Marito.
Mother to a daughter in high school, Ms. SmartyPants and a son in middle school, Mr. Uometto.
Employed at a private British School as an English teacher and Coordinator of Children's Studies.
Part of a small, but growing Protestant church in Frascati, a small town in the hills just outside of Rome.

This is where I sometimes gripe, complain and grumble about the things I dislike, have yet to get used to or simply don't understand about bella Italia.
I do, however, have many people, places and things that I dearly love and I am more than aware of being blessed by each and every one of them.
Also - a few helpful posts for visitors to Rome or for newly arrived ex pats. Check the side bar for tags. I've even some recipes that I've borrowed, tweaked or invented. One thing I've come to love about Italy is how it's changed the way I eat - slow food !! Although ... I do miss Taco Bell ... and Jack in The Box ... and KFC ... and ::sigh::
Thanks for stopping by !!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ostia Antica is Better Than the Roman Forum

If you live in the Rome area, you're probably familiar with Ostia. It's proper name is Lido di Ostia, but most everyone calls it, simply, Ostia. If you're just visiting, especially in the summer months, you'll probably hear about Ostia's beaches. Summer camping is popular among Italians ... but it's not quite what you think. Camping here usually means renting a "bungalow" -- but let's clarify what that means too. To be sure, there are bungalows as you are imagining them. It's just that when an Italian says, "We're renting a bungalow," it, more often than not, means a very small cabin about the size of a typical American bedroom or small living room. Anyway, that's not the subject of this post ... but let me finish what I was saying about camping before I move on. Summer camping here, typically means renting a bungalow for a weekend at or near a beach. The main point of this type of camping is not so much "camping," but tanning and swimming at the beach. Many of the "camp sites" will offer activities for the kids, as well. This way, you can bake in the sun without the nuisance of having to play with or care for your children. Evviva! No, seriously, it's a good thing.

What I'm writing about today is Ostia Antica. This ancient city used to be on the coast, but has moved inland over time due to the fact that earth and sediment have changed the contours of the land. Instead, Lido di Ostia is on the coast and Ostia Antica is now 3 kilometers inland. Most people visiting Rome will no doubt want to see the Coliseum, St. Peter's Basilica, Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps and the Foro Romano. And with good reason. These are all amazing places. But if you like the Foro Romano, I think you'll love Ostia Antica. Here, there are hardly any areas fenced off. You can freely walk about, enter (most) any ruin, climb, crawl, sit - whatever you like. There's lush greenery everywhere. Trees and grass and shrubs and flowers. It's akin to a day at the park, only with ancient Roman ruins, statues and artifacts. 

There is only one entrance and it serves as the only exit too. So if you aren't used to walking, you'll not want to go too far as you'll need to walk back to where you started from in order to leave. Still, the archaeological site is open until late afternoon (8:30AM - 4/5/6PM depending on season) so if you arrive early, you'll have more than enough time for a few breaks from walking. Plus, there is no lack of places to sit - you can rest on, lean upon, lie down on just about anything here. There's a snack shop, bathrooms (both at the half-way mark so you'll need to walk a bit), a small amphitheater, a museum and off the archaeological site, within the actual habitable part of the city you can visit an ancient castle and a few of its old roads. The castle is free and you can come and go as you please, but the site will cost you about 6€ per person (they offer reduced fares for children, Seniors and handicap). But, really, that's quite cheap compared to the prices in other Roman museums and sites.

Most people will visit in the hotter summer or spring months, but even if you come during the dead of winter, do bring water. Walking makes us thirsty and just because there is a snack shop here does not mean that it will always be open. Remember, this is still Italy ^__^ Hours advertised are not always hours kept. So wherever you go, always bring water. And wetnaps. Trust me, you'll be thanking me for this bit of practical, albeit obvious, word of advice. 
Ostia Antica site in English or Italian
Prices, hours, transportation - you'll find the info you need at these sites.
The Italian is much more comprehensive while the English site offers only basic information.
Actually, the English site is done rather well and while there are some mistakes with grammar and syntax, you shouldn't have any problems understanding the gist. Also, the main page ends by humbly welcoming any corrections the English reader may have to offer. That's quite refreshing since a lot of  the web sites for the bigger more frequented monuments and museums have horrible English and they, of all people, should be more than able to hire or educate their web design team. Sheesh. This alone, the humility expressed in their website, makes Ostia Antica all the more endearing to me -- be sure to visit !! 

Photos after the jump

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