With over a week to spend in Rome, we decided that it would be nice to also do a day trip. Our original thought was to go to Pompeii. However, 6-8 hours (appx) of traveling roundtrip with a baby seemed a bit much in one day. Luckily for us, we came across information on Ostia Antica. Let me tell you, we were NOT disappointed that we went here instead.
We read about Ostia Antica in our Rick Steves Rome 2016 and used the guide at the site as our tour guide as well.
We usually try to take public transport wherever we go and this trip was no exception. From our hotel near the Pantheon, we took a bus to the train station and then took a train to Ostia Antica. We bought our tickets from a local news stand (1.50€ per ticket for Lee and myself, the baby was free. 1 ticket is good for 100 minutes and is good for both the bus and the train. Just remember to validate it once you get on the bus and you'll need it to get in the gate for the train.)
From the train station, it was about a 5 minute walk to the entrance of Ostia Antica. While the train station has an elevator, once you're out of the station you must cross the road via a set of stairs. If I remember correctly it's probably 10-20 steps per side. So if you bring a stroller, be ready to carry it.
We had pre-purchased our tickets online. However, there was virtually no line to get in. Not sure if this is always the case but it was mostly school groups while we were there.
Here lie the ruins of Rome's ancient seaport. Around 2000 years old, it was once home to about 60,000 inhabitants. Before entering the city walls, you walk through an ancient necropolis.
Crossing into the city, you get a glimpse of what life was like in the Roman Empire's first conquered city. In the very well preserved ruins you come across the remains of a well, warehouses, apartments, mansions, merchants quarters, baths, and maybe most impressively the still intact theatre. This theatre is in fact still in use for concerts today!
When reading up on it, I underestimated just how impressive it was. While if you breeze through it you may stay just an hour or two. If you're as taken as I was with it, you can easily spend an entire day there. And if you get hungry, there is an excellent cafeteria on site! (No seriously, this is not your normal bland cafeteria food. Check it out.) Oh, and they had a high chair!
As you can see from the pictures, we decided to forgo the stroller. If you have a stroller that can handle a very uneven surface (and can be carried up and down stairs if coming by public transport) than by all means bring it. While we were there, I saw many children (school aged and younger) but none in strollers.
Overall we were highly impressed with just how massive and well preserved the site was. It's easy to get lost in the past and imagine what life was like for people living there 2000 years ago. This is certainly a must for adults and children of all ages. If you have the time while in Rome, you have to go!
Need more travel ideas for Rome? Check out:
Top 11 Rome: Insider tips and honest reviews on the top 11 things to do!
How did you plan for your trip? Tell us in the comments below.