A day at the beach in Ostia
Ostia, Rome’s iconic seaside neighbourhood, is the perfect destination for a day trip in the sun. Part of Rome’s southern district, Ostia has long been a popular summer destination when Romans were in need of a day at the beach. With a seafront 10 km long, and many different bathing facilities, Ostia is a common solution to the hot summer weather. Easily reachable both by car and public transport, you’ll want to make space on your agenda for an excursion to this waterfront.
Today’s Ostia is actually an extension of the ancient “Ostia Antica”, which used to be Rome’s harbour back during the Roman Empire era. In fact, a popular destination for history buffs is the Ostia Antica archeological site – which stretches out across 34 hectares. The site is one of the biggest in Italy, and is often compared to Pompeii’s for its history and size. With many different buildings standing, walking through the site is a unique experience. Thanks to the excellent conditions many of the buildings are still in, strolling through Ostia Antica has you feeling like you’re back living among the Romans.
However, do keep in mind that bringing adequate shoes for your stroll will allow you to enjoy the sights much more! Also, if you’re planning on reaching the site by public transportation, Ostia Antica has its own stop on the “Roma-Lido” metro line. Catch the train from the “Porta San Paolo” train station (the one right in front of Rome’s pyramid found in the Ostiense district) and take the train that is directed to “Cristoforo Colombo”. Once you’re on the metro, keep your eyes open for the Ostia Antica stop, get off, cross the overhead bridge, walk straight for about 5 minutes, and you’re there!
Nevertheless, if you aren’t too keen on archeological sites and are looking for a day at the beach, don’t get off at the Ostia Antica stop, but rather continue on and get off at any stop after you pass Lido Centro. Like I mentioned before, Ostia is a central hub for beach aficionados, so make sure you pack your bathing suit!
Once you’re off the metro, you’ll be able to reach the beach in no time. Thanks to the neighborhood’s vicinity to the waterfront, you’ll find the beach anywhere you go. If however, you find yourself strolling and unsure what bathing facility to go to, I highly recommend heading towards La Vecchia Pineta; one of the most renowned bathing facilities in Ostia. Thanks to its long wooden walkway great to tan on. If you’re looking for a hipper, and younger place, V Lounge is also a great spot for your beach escape. What sets it apart from the rest is the option of choosing to lay out either on the sand, or on the grass- either way, remember to bring your sun lotion! Other than La Vecchia Pineta and V Lounge, you might also want to try the Battistini facility. Similarly renown like La Vecchia Pineta, Battistini is located right next to Ostia’s pier, which makes it a great bathing facility if you’re planning on staying in Ostia for the whole day.
There’s nothing better than leaving the beach after a day in the sun, and going to grab a bite to eat. Whether that bite is for lunch, dinner, or aperitivo, Ostia is full of places that can meet your post-beach day mood. If you’re looking for a lunch spot, my favorite is definitely La Buzzicona. Serving typical Roman dishes in a fun and homey location, a delicacy that you absolutely have to try is the pasta con le telline. The telline are similar to the vongole, but smaller. At La Buzzicona they are fresh and delicious, and are brought directly by the fishermen that go out in the early morning to collect them. Thanks to their delicate flavour and small size, when they’re added to the spaghetti they are a wonderful combination that will have you forget about pasta alla vongole.
In case you’re looking for an aperitivo spot, you can either decide between Il Curvone, or Hakuna Matata; two kiosks located directly on the beach. What makes these two spots special is the ease with which you can lay back and enjoy your drink as you gaze out at the sun setting over the water; a truly great photo op!
Instead if you’re looking for a place to go for dinner, and are in the mood for fresh fish, La Caletta is a safe bet. A bathing facility by day, La Caletta is wonderful thanks to its cozy and authentic ambiance, making it perfect for intimate dinners. Of course, here too you will be able to try pasta con le telline, but do keep in mind that they run out of the telline quickly. If that were the case, you can easily switch to either the classic vongole, or give the cozze (mussels) dish a try.
Regardless of where you decide to go, the spots I mentioned (both restaurants and bathing facilities) are only some of the many you will find while in Ostia. With a seafront so long, and a neighborhood so lively, you will have many a places to choose from. So pack your beach towel, comfortable shoes, and sunglasses, Ostia is only a stone’s throw away!