If you are coming to Rome this summer, especially from July through August, be prepared for the city’s infamous heat and humidity! Be sure to pack light clothing and drink plenty of water. On this point, two quick tips: 1) If you plan on going inside St. Peter’s Basilica make sure you bring extra clothing to cover yourself. There is a dress code! and 2) Rome is filled with fresh, potable water fountains that have been running for centuries. These are ideal places to cool off and refill empty water bottles.
To escape the oven of August, most Romans leave the city completely and head to the sea. One place they have been going since ancient times is the seaside town of Ostia, located on the Tyrrhenian Sea and just a 30 minute car/train ride from Rome’s center. In fact, this is a perfect day trip for travelers in Rome who wish to get some relief from the summer heat that grips the city. One who decides to add this excursion to their itinerary can explore ancient ruins, take a swim in the refreshing Mediterranean, and enjoy a delicious Italian seafood lunch or dinner; all in one relaxing day.
If this is something that interests you and you are adventurous enough to go about it alone, here is how we suggest you plan the day. Head out of your hotel around 9 or 10 am. You probably will not have a rental car, so ask your hotel’s reception how to get to the train station of Piramide. From their, hop on a train headed for Lido Ostia (train is emphasized because this is also a metro stop). Get off at the stop called Ostia Antica. This was the location of the ancient Roman port-city of Ostia, now located a few kilometers inland because the sea has receded since the millenia that have passed! But don’t worry, the air here is already much cooler and fresher than that of downtown Rome. Here you will find an archeological park that allows you to stroll the ancient cobblestone streets of the well-preserved excavations; excavations that include intact apartment blocks, mosaics, statues, a beautiful Roman theater, and even ancient public toilets! The experience gives you a good sense of what life must have been like for the average ancient Roman. In fact, Ostia Antica is considered by UNESCO to be one of the 100 most important archeological sites in the world!
After exploring the ruins, hop back on the train and make your way to Ostia Lido, the modern-day Ostia, constructed in the 1930s by the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Get off at one of the last two stops: Castel Fusano or Cristoforo Colombo. Then, make your way to the beach by foot (5-10 minutes). It is hard to miss! You will find that the beach is covered in small “day resorts” and you must pay to get into one of these. However, with your admission you will get access to the many amenities that the resort has to offer, including beach umbrellas, lounge chairs, changing rooms, lockers, fresh showers, etc. Relax and enjoy the fresh sea air and the calm, cool Mediterranean once arrived. When you get hungry or thirsty, many of these day resorts have their own bars and restaurants allowing you to enjoy a cold beer or beach cocktail and a delicious fresh seafood lunch or dinner. After lounging on the beach, swimming in the sea, and eating and drinking to your heart’s content, return to the train station with the setting sun and hop on a train back to Rome, content to have escaped Rome’s heat for a day.