When we were planning the trip for 2015 we were not really intending to go into Rome, as we thought it might be too hot and busy at this time of year. We arrived at Porto Turistico di Roma with a poor weather forecast, strong southerly winds, so decided that a couple of day’s sight seeing might not be a bad idea after all. The marina is situated at Ostia about 20 miles West of Rome and there are great, cheap transport links to Rome (€1.50 for a ticket that lasts 100 minutes and can be used on bus, train and metro). Edinburgh could learn some transport lessons here!!
Ostia was once the main port for Rome as it was on the sea at the mouth of the Tiber. It fell out of use in 3rd century AD when the river changed its course and eventually it was covered in silt, which preserved buildings, mosaicsc etc. Ostia Antica is an amazing archaeological site. All the buildings are of brick, with a little marble here and there in important places. The construction techniques are obvious and the whole site is enormous and open and you can just about walk anywhere.
We loved walking around and imagining all the life going on 2000+ years ago: ships arriving and grain warehouses being filled, carts rumbling across the shiny cobbles, inns and pubs serving food and wine and the general bustle.
People lived in “insulas” just like our tenements but no penthouse suite in those days. The rooms got smaller as the building went up so the poor people lived at the top.
It was very easy to spend a whole day there and there was even some shade from huge pine trees that are younger than the buildings. Wild flowers and butterflies were everywhere too.
Back at the marina, we noticed seagulls making a nuisance of themselves for the first time this year. Two immature herring gulls had taken a fancy to a motorboat just along from us with the usual consequences. Glad they did not like Vaila.
The next day we went into Rome. What can you say that hasn’t been said before. Its amazing!
Very busy and touristy it is, but we just walked around the old city and did not attempt to go into any places except the Pantheon. The 3rd metro line is under construction so parts of the forum area were being shored up. A bit of added interest for Andy!!
We had a coffee stop just beside one of the forum sites and lunch ( including gluten free pizza for me) just behind the Pantheon. The Pantheon is incredible, a huge dome with a 9m hole in the roof. I can’t get my head round how it doesn’t collapse. Andy knows of course!
A walk up the Capitoline hill gave fine views over the forum area and the Colosseum and a gelato shop was in an old warehouse just like the 2000+ year old ones we had seen at Ostia the day before.
There were people dressed as centurions at strategic places, waiting to take your money for a photo opportunity. We saw a heated argument between a young centurion (complete with plastic 6 pack) and one of the older guys. The young one was obviously on the older ones “patch” and it nearly came to fisticuffs. Wooden Swords were not drawn though! Very funny.
Navtext continues to amaze and amuse. A recent message tells of a hazzard to navigation which is paddle boarders going from Elba to northern Sardinia over 4 days. They have a support boat but what a crazy undertaking! The fridge floating in the Ligurian sea a few weeks ago must have sunk,as it’s no longer being mentioned as a hazard.