Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Inspired by the Ancients

I have always felt drawn to old things be it fossils, antiquities or antiques but Roman things in particular just seem to have some kind of spell over me. Ever since a trip to a Roman Museum in Primary school where I was completely in awe of everything. 

Djenne Beads, Roman Glass and Ancient Inspired Earrings
So you can only imagine my delight (which goes against all my hermit instincts) when my other half suggested that we spend a week in Rome! 
We did some of the many tourist attractions of course....

Trevi Fountain, Colosseum & The Pantheon
The Trevi Fountain, The Colosseum and Imperial Fora, The Pantheon, The Vatican Museum, The Sistine Chapel, St Peter's Basilica and many more but by far my favorite was Ostia Antica!!!
Before Our trip I had not even heard of it, but a few guide books later and it sounded intriguing....

Some 2,000 years ago, ancient Rome's lively international port city was right on the beach and at the mouth of the Tiber (ostium means "river mouth"). In the ensuing millennia the sea has retreated several kilometers and the river has changed course dramatically. Ostia was founded in the 4th century BC, first as a simple fort, but as Rome grew, the town became ever more important, as the distribution point for imports from around the Mediterranean. 
Grain was the most vital commodity, to feed Rome's one million inhabitants, and so huge storage bins (horrea) were built here. Goods were sent up to Rome on river barges. 
Ostia's heyday ended in the 4th century AD, and it died completely as an inhabited area about 1,000 years ago." 
DK Top 10 Rome

I had also read that it was not as busy as Pompeii and you could walk in and around the ruins (and let the children run free), but I was not expecting what I found!!!

The View Three Floors Up
The sheer size of of Ostia is some what amazing, I was expecting a small fishing village not a HUGE City with buildings standing three stories high, a theater, many bath houses, temples, a christian basilica and a synagogue.

There was just so much so see, even with a whole day we did not manage to get around everything, at some points it felt like we were walking through a maze, there were rooms (including internal gardens), windows and doors everywhere.

Here is an aerial photo I found online to give you a better idea of how incredibly big Ostia really is....

Photo by Paolo Fusco
And it is still being excavated, we saw some work being carried out as we were wandering around and I read online that they believe there is still a large amount that has not yet been unearthed.

There are stairs cases leading down into tunnels and up into amazing views, and little hidden places to poke around in every direction and so many beautiful and inspiring things to see and wonder about.

Stairs and Tunnels
With buildings called The Baths of Neptune, The Temple of Hercules and The House of Cupid and Psyche, you can only imagine how excited I was roaming around and the suprising thing was that all the children thought it was by far the best day of the holiday too.

Domus of the Nymphaeum
One of the bigest surprises had to be the mosaic floors, for some reason I had not thought there would be many in a fishing village but they were every where! Some were quiet simple designs and only partially uncovered from the surounding dirt....

Small Section of Mosaic Tiles Peeping Through the Grass
While others such as the ones in the Baths of Porta Marina were just spectacular....

Floor Mosaic from the Baths of Porta Marina
I now have a strong disire to micro mosaic my bathroom floor.

According to the tour guide we over heard the following mosaic was part of the design on the bedroom floor of someone very wealthy.

Mosaic Bedroom Floor
This partially uncovered delight was hidden away in one of the many not so grand looking nooks and crannies and I almost did not see it!

Partially Uncovered Mosaic

There is also a Tavern with a sales counter and a painting showing the foods available and Tabernae (stalls) of the Fishmongers, with a selling table and beautiful mosaic tiled floor.

Top the Tavern and Bottom the Fishmongers
And so many stunning sculptures....

Top two from the grounds bottom two in the Museum
Including this rather impressive statue of emperor Trajan found in the Schola of Trajan - 2nd century AD (now found in the Museum of Ostia), I just love the detail on his armour!

Emperor Trajan

What I did not see any of at Ostia however was my favorite Roman things, jewellery and glass, it is mostly just the buildings, mosacics and sculptures. This did not how ever leave me any less inspired so I headed off to etsy to gather some Roman style inspiration for you....

Roman Style Treasures For Your Jewellery Making Pleasure 

Now I am off to make some jewellery inspired by my trip, I hope you have a wonderful day.


  1. I knew nothing about Ostia Antica prior to this blog. An amazing place!

  2. Whoa! I would have stumbled around eyes to the ground the whole time! Wonderful that you can explore Ostia at your leisure and get a feel for the scope of the city. Without ropes, and busloads of tourists...

  3. We were really impressed by the old port of Ostia, too. A perfect antidote to the mob scene at the glad only hermits make it there!

  4. Wow, you have made me want to see Rome too.


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