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With American Rich Brunn:
Rome’s ancient port city of Ostia (which literally meant “at the mouth of the river”) served as Rome’s original Republican Colony and military outpost as well as a domestic landing for its cargo boats and warships during the Empire.
It is still possible to feel the pace of everyday life for these working class citizens in this amazingly well preserved archaeological site quite similar to Pompeii, but only a very convenient 30 minutes from Rome.
Not only does Ostia have a Pantheon like structure, but having been abandoned just shortly after the Empire’s wide scale forced conversions to Christianity in the late 4th century AD, it still maintains the same type of religious diversity (from pagan temples, to mystery cult worship centers, to Christian sites and even the oldest Jewish Synagogue in the western world) that one would expect to find in such a well traveled port city of the 4th century AD.
Along with sites of Ostia’s religious diversity, it is truly amazing to see the inner workings of things such as how the water flowed through its various public and private bath structures, to see all the still perfectly intact mosaics and marble slabs as we visit locations such as the granaries, bakery, taverns, theater, private homes and fountains that help reconstruct so well the life of any average 4th century working class citizen of the empire.
Best done from 8:30 AM in about 5 hours, this tour is only recommended for decent walkers and especially younger people with a sense of adventure! It is closed on Monday's.