Italy Tourism

Ostia Antica, Rome’s working port city

 

 

(Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

Despite my misgivings about social media these days, I find it is one of the finest places to learn about ancient history and archaeology. I am now following multiple websites that showcase the civilizations of the Mediterranean from about 2,000 BC onward, particularly Rome. One of my favorites, run by Carole Raddato, covers the world of the Roman Empire in the era of Hadrian. On it, you can explore Roman life, history, and historic ruins, which can be found in Asia, Africa, and Europe.

These websites have inspired me to dig up some of my photos I took in 2006 of the ancient port city of Roman called Ostia Antica. I never published these as a series until now.

The city dates from 620 BC, lying at the mouth of the Tiber River. It was once a vital port, supplying critical goods like wheat to the mighty city of Rome. Today, it is a beloved archaeological treasure, a short trip from modern Rome by subway. It is well documented in travel guides, such as those published by Lonely Planet and Rick Steves. If you want to really work up an appetite for a trip, see this drone footage from the regional tourist agency.

I recommend using the links I just referenced to learn about its past and take a walking tour of the great Roman ruins there, reportedly the finest in Italy outside of Pompeii. You will find remnants of a great bathhouse, apartments, the market of the guilds, public bathrooms, tombs, and more. Mosaics are still intact that capture startling realistic renditions of the natural world and charismatic fauna like tigers, bears, and dolphins.

The city is referenced in the HBO miniseries Rome, which is well worth watching to catch a surprisingly accurate view of life in the once mighty empire at the time of Julius Caesar. If you do go to Rome, by all means put this on your list. Of all of the Roman ruins I have seen on three continents, it is among the best to give one a feeling for the lives of ordinary people in a working city more than 2,000 years ago.

Advertisements

Wandering the streets of Assisi and San Vitale

One of my favorite stops in Italy was in the ancient hill city of Assisi, famous as a pilgrim’s destination to the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. There are also Roman ruins in the town’s center. I also visited a neighboring hill town called San Vitale. I loved walking the cobblestone streets closed to all motor vehicle traffic, all dating from the medieval era. (Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

 

Tourists of Rome, and everyone is loving it

Rome has been on my mind lately. So I dug up some of my old shots from my only trip there in 2006. It was perfect, in every sense. Even the horrible trip coming back to the United States, getting stuck in Paris, getting harassed by French security officials, train stoppages and bus mishaps–it all faded in the dazzling memories Rome left behind. Here are tourists in Rome, quite of few of them in nuns’ habits. They were having a grand time too. (Click on each photograph to see a larger picture in a separate picture page.)