Ostia, officially called Lido di Ostia (lido means “beach”), is a busy urban center in its own right, a kind of satellite city 30 km southwest of Rome. It’s a major destination for Roman beachgoers. Living in the north side of Rome, I rarely chose this as a summer beach-day destination, finding Maccarese or Fregene closer and more appealing to me. But far from the summer bustle, Ostia Lido offers a nice promenade to stroll on, lovely liberty style villas to admire, and warm spots where to rest and have coffee.
I love this place in winter!
Families gather here, elderly meet up for a game of cards in one of the many bars on the beach. I love its casual and relaxed atmosphere.
Ostia was said to have been founded by Ancus Marcius, one of the kings of Rome, in the 7th century BC. Although probably founded for the sole purpose of military defence — since through the Tiber’s mouths armies could eventually reach Rome by water — the port became an important commercial harbour. Many of the goods that Rome received from its colonias and provinces passed through Ostia
Ostia lived a new life during fascism, when it was renamed Lido di Ostia, or Ostia Lido, and a comfortable road was built to connect it with the seaside (dedicated to Christopher Columbus); it became the beach resort of Rome, and was connected by a railway, while the first projects for the Fiumicino airport were drafted out. The town was re-organised in a pure “fascist architecture” and divided into a coastal side, distributed in small villas used as second houses by the Romans, Summer Camps for children. Between 1922 and 1943 the Fascist regime sponsored and encouraged the construction of dozens of children’s summer camps or colonie. The number of colonie constructed, their spread across the country, and their architectural and urban prominence illustrate the importance of youth and wellness in Fascist ideology. The regime sought to use colonie projects as a means to control and regulate the bodies of children, particularly those from urban areas and working-class families. (
In the 1960s Ostia began to be used as a beach and a holiday site and is still part of the territory of the “città metropolitana” of Rome.
Ostia Lido offers nice beach resorts and a spicy movida which increases during spring and summer. Young romans swarm to Ostia on week nights to dance and drink at the beach kiosk and bars, and on week ends to enjoy some fun in the sea breeze.
HOW TO GET THERE
Piramide (Metro B) station. At the top of the stairs, turn left and head toward the Roma Porto San Paulo station. Take the train (use the same ticket that you used for the bus and metro, it’s good for 75 minutes). Get off at Lido Centro. From there, take the Bus 62, 05 or 15 to the Paolo Tuscanelli street, which goes along the beach.
SEE ALL THE PHOTO: OSTIA LIDO