General Information

common image found in Rome pillar with tear shapes Mithras bath house

We planned our trip to Ostia Antica using the It told us what train to take, where to get off, what road to cross, provided maps to the site, old videos of archaeologists, and is rich in detail of the different highlights of the site. After our confused visit to the Necropolis of Portus during a prior trip, we admitted we needed all the help we could get.

View down a road Statue in garden off the beaten path Storage room for artifacts Romantic statue near the end of the site

The directions proved to be perfect to the letter and we found ourselves at the gates of Ostia Antica only to find that the place was closed for a staff meeting. It would open after lunch. A woman who was also trying to visit said this was the third time she had come to Ostia Antica this kept happening and she had never set foot through the gates. We did have friends visit a few months after we did and they had no troubles at all. It seems to be pretty random.

Shrine of Mithras

In Italian, this is referred to as Mitreo delle Terme del Mitra, if that helps. This place was difficult to find. When looking for it, we never found it. When we found some stairs leading into the ground at the end of the day and decided to see what was down there before we left, we happened upon what we had our eyes open for all day.

Mithras in the damp tunnel Detail of Mithras

The face of the stature is illuminated by the sunbeam coming through a small grate. Here, found in situ, Mithras is in the act of slaying the bull. It is believed that the missing knife and helmet were made of metal. He is located at the end of a wet and mossy hall. The scene before us was striking and dramatic.

Round carving in floor at the Shrine of Mithras Moon carving in floor at the Shrine of Mithras Round carving in floor at the Shrine of Mithras

As we made our way down the hall, we discovered small objects carved into the stones in the floor. They resembled things like the moon and possibly the sun.

Painted Walls

scene with ocean creatures, part of a woman, and two other beings on either side

We did not find much in teh way of platered walls or paintings until we made it almost to the end and turned left. Most of the major painted walls were removed very long ago, and might be in the museum, but we did nt have enough time to visit the museum. We really needed the ful day in order to fit that in, but with a late opening, we were able to still hit a lot of amazing parts of the ancient seaport.

golden yellow walls with red painted lines. Detail on fresco Red painted room

There were a few small painted areas covered in plexiglass to preserve them. Maybe a foot or two in size. There were a few rooms that still had something significant in size, and one room had a beautiful (remains of a) painting with sea creatures in it.

Fresco wall Detail on wall Bird on wall


Mosaic with fish Bath floor with dolphin

From close to the beginning of the path at the bath houseon the right all the way to the end, there is one mosaic floor after the next. Most are black images against while, but there are a few places where colored marbles and small mosaics on the walls avn be found.

Horse or donkey drawn cart with men on mosaic floor Marble floor and remains of a wall

Images of Ostia Antica from "360 Cities"

Ruins at the end of the road