Welcome to Ostia Antica
Founded in the 4th century BC, the city started life as a fortified military camp guarding the mouth of the Tiber – hence the name: Ostia is a derivation of the Latin word ostium (mouth). It quickly grew, and by the 2nd century AD was a thriving port with a population of around 50,000.
Decline set in after the fall of the Roman Empire, and by the 9th century the city had largely been abandoned, its citizens driven off by barbarian raids and outbreaks of malaria. Over subsequent centuries, it was plundered of marble and building materials and its ruins were gradually buried in river silt, hence their survival.