Opening hours Opens year-round at 8:30. Closing time between 16:30 and 19:15 depending on time of year (longer hours in summer; ticket office closes an hour before). Closed Mondays, Christmas Day, Jan 1st, and May 1st.
Ticket prices €8.00 per person, €4 reduced rate. Free entry for under 18s, people with disabilities, archeology students and teachers. Free entry for all on first Sunday of month.
Ostia Antica, once the bustling port town of ancient Rome, fell to ruin after the harbour silted up. Now it's a rich and varied archaeological site, and well worth leaving Rome for a few hours to explore. It's also surprisingly quiet, given the quality of the ruins and the proximity to Rome.
Don't confuse Ostia Antica with the other Ostia; stay on the train until it reaches Ostia Lido if you're after the modern seaside town and popular beach destination.
Things to see
Depending on how long you have to spend and your stamina, you might want to stick to the central area including the baths of Neptune, which houses many of Ostia Antica's remarkable mosaics. The theatre still sometimes hosts performances of classic Roman plays, as well as the odd modern band.
The thermopolium (pictured right) is the remains of a tavola calda (a kind of café serving hot food and drink, still a popular way to eat in Italy), from the 2nd century AD.
Don't underestimate the size of Ostia Antica: there's a great deal to explore there. It's definitely worth taking half a day or even a whole day if you have it. (There's a cafe on site and a few restaurants nearby for lunch.)
Bear in mind that you will be out under direct sunlight all day, so take precautions if you have sensitive skin. It would be sensible to take a bottle of water too.
Grafitti and other damage
Sadly, one area where Ostia Antica's size works against it is in the conservation of the ruins. Such a large area is wonderful to explore, but very difficult to preserve and police. As a result, there is a considerable amount of damage where people have left grafitti and other marks on plaster walls almost two thousand years old. Please take care when exploring that you don't leave litter, and make sure that any young people travelling with you know to respect their surroundings.
Visiting Ostia Antica
The easiest way to get to Ostia Antica is to take the train that leaves Ostiense station, reached through Piramide metro station on Linea B. The train costs just €1.50 each way (it's the standard biglietto, available from tobacconists and ticket machines at the stations) and takes roughly half an hour. At Ostia Antica station, cross the footbridge and walk straight ahead. It's only a couple of minutes' walk from the station and is well signposted.