Italy is known for its stunning landscapes, rich history, and delicious food. But if you’re looking to experience a less-travelled destination that offers all these and more, Ostia should be on your list. Situated on the Tyrrhenian Sea, it’s the perfect spot for a summer getaway. Here are the top 10 things to do in summer in Ostia.
Things to do in Ostia Antica
Explore Ostia Antica, the ancient Roman harbor city. Inhabited since at least the 4th century BC, Ostia Antica was Rome’s first colony and played a crucial role as the city’s seaport. Today, it is one of the best-preserved ancient cities in the world.
Walk through the old cobblestone streets, marvel at the impressive public buildings like the theater and the Baths of Neptune, and visit the former homes adorned with still-visible mosaics and frescoes. Insider tip: Don’t miss the “House of Cupid and Psyche” with its exquisite mosaics. The site is open from 8:30 am to 7:00 pm, Tuesday through Sunday. Admission fee is €8.
Castello di Giulio II
Next, visit the Castello di Giulio II, a 15th-century fortress built by Pope Julius II as a defensive bastion against pirate raids. From its towers, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the surrounding area, which includes the archaeological park of Ostia Antica.
The castle also hosts an exhibition space, offering a blend of history and contemporary culture. It is open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, Tuesday through Sunday. Admission fee is €3.
Beaches of Ostia
The beaches in Ostia are the main attraction during the hot Italian summer. Ostia’s coastline, once a marshland, was turned into a seaside resort in the early 20th century and became popular among Rome’s inhabitants.
It features both public beaches, where you can rent a beach umbrella and a sunbed for the day, and private beach clubs known as ‘stabilimenti’, which offer amenities like restaurants, pools, and locker rooms. Local tip: Head to La Vecchia Pineta for a quieter, less crowded beach experience.
Lido di Ostia
Lido di Ostia is another great beach destination and is often considered the ‘sea of the Romans’. With its wide sandy beaches and calm waters, it’s an ideal spot for swimming and sunbathing. The promenade is filled with restaurants serving local seafood delicacies. Insider tip: Try a plate of spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams), a classic beachside dish.
Venture to Porto Turistico, Ostia’s modern marina. This elegant harbor area features a variety of yachts and boats. Here, you can relax at one of the waterfront cafes or restaurants, or stroll around the marina, watching the boats sail by. For a more active experience, you can also rent a boat for a few hours or take a sailing lesson.
Parco Leonardo is a large shopping and entertainment complex in nearby Fiumicino. It features a wide range of shops, from Italian designer boutiques to international brands. Additionally, it hosts a cinema, a bowling alley, and a multitude of restaurants. If you’re seeking a shopping spree or looking for a break from the sun, this is the place to go.
No visit to Ostia would be complete without indulging in the local Italian cuisine. Seafood is a specialty in this coastal town. Be sure to try ‘fritto misto di mare’, a mixed fried seafood platter, or ‘spigola al sale’, sea bass baked in salt. For dessert, indulge in a delicious gelato or a ‘tiramisu’, a popular Italian dessert. A local tip: Visit Pasticceria De Bellis for some of the best pastries in town.
Nightlife in Ostia
As the sun sets, Ostia’s nightlife comes alive. There’s a venue for every taste. For a laid-back evening, head to one of the beach bars like Il Curvone, a popular spot among locals. For a more lively night, visit one of the nightclubs such as Shilling Club, known for its live music and dance parties.
Take a Boat Tour
One of the most exciting ways to explore Ostia is by boat. Numerous companies offer tours around the coast and to the nearby islands. You can choose between a relaxing sightseeing tour or a more adventurous trip including snorkeling and diving. This is a unique way to see the region from a different perspective and to discover hidden coves and beaches that are inaccessible by land.
Visit a Local Market
Finally, don’t miss the opportunity to visit a local market in Ostia. The Mercato di Ostia, open on weekdays, offers a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood, and local products. It’s a fantastic place to experience the local culture, practice your Italian, and maybe even pick up some cooking tips from the locals. Insider tip: Try some ‘supplì’, a typical Roman street food, made of fried rice balls stuffed with cheese.
Ostia in the world of cinema
Ostia’s unique blend of ancient ruins, picturesque beaches, and vibrant streets has made it an attractive location for filmmakers over the years. A number of well-known movies have been filmed in Ostia. The most notable among these is perhaps Pier Paolo Pasolini’s “Mamma Roma” (1962), a poignant story of a middle-aged prostitute trying to start a new life.
Ostia is not only the backdrop of this movie but also plays a vital role in setting the mood and tone of the narrative. In more recent years, Ostia was also featured in the popular Italian crime movie “Suburra” (2015) by Stefano Sollima, showcasing a grittier, contemporary image of the district. These films have helped spotlight Ostia, bringing its unique charm to international audiences.
How to reach Ostia from Rome
Reaching Ostia from Rome by public transport is quite straightforward and economical. The most common and convenient way to get to Ostia is by taking the Rome-Lido railway line, often referred to as the ‘Ostia train’. The train can be boarded from the Piramide station, which is connected to Rome’s metro Line B. Here’s a quick guide:
|Transportation||Departure Point||Arrival Point||Frequency||Travel Time||Price|
|Rome-Lido Train||Piramide Station||Ostia Centro Station||Every 15 min||~30 min||€1.50|
Tickets cost €1.50 and can be purchased from automated machines or ticket counters at the station. The ticket is valid for 100 minutes and can be used for a single journey on the train plus unlimited travel on buses and trams. Make sure to validate your ticket before boarding.
Please note that schedules and prices can change, so it’s always a good idea to check the latest information on the official ATAC (Rome’s Public Transport Company) website before planning your journey.
Experience the Ease and Comfort: Why Opt for a Private Transfer to Ostia
Booking a private transfer to visit Ostia offers a wealth of advantages and conveniences that can greatly enhance your trip. Firstly, it eliminates the stress and uncertainty that can come with navigating public transportation, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with the system or don’t speak the language.
Private transfers offer door-to-door service, picking you up directly from your hotel or the airport and taking you straight to your destination in Ostia. This not only saves time but also spares you the hassle of carrying luggage on crowded buses or trains.
Another major benefit is flexibility. Unlike public transportation, which operates on a fixed schedule, private transfers can be booked for any time of day or night, allowing you to set your own itinerary and pace.
Private transfers also provide a higher level of comfort, with air-conditioned vehicles and professional drivers who can offer local insights and suggestions along the way.
While private transfers can be more expensive than public transport, the added convenience, comfort, and time-saving can be well worth the extra cost, especially if you’re traveling in a group or value a stress-free travel experience. Many companies in Rome offer private transfer services to Ostia, with a variety of options to suit different needs and budgets.