Did you know Rome is technically a coastal city? After a short journey from the historic center you can find yourself at Rome’s official port on the Mediterranean sea.
On this page you will find answers to:
Lido di Ostia (often referred to simply as ‘Ostia’) is the main town in Rome’s tenth municipality, with the whole Ostia area being home to around 80,000 people (via Wikipedia, 2016), including myself and my girlfriend since August 2021!
Ostia Lido is located approximately 25km from Rome (as the crow flies).
An important distinction is that the modern town of Lido di Ostia is not where the ancient Roman town of Ostia was located – in fact, during ancient times, the area where the modern town is was underwater!
Over the centuries, geographic changes and government land reclamation resulted in the coastline changing. It is now 2.5km further south-west, compared to where it was during ancient times.
Nearby Ostia Lido, and outside of Rome’s historic center you’ll find the following points of interest:
The wider Ostia area has been continually inhabited for over 2600 years.
The ancient town of Ostia (now known as Ostia Antica - more on this below!) was the first official port of the city of Rome and it was also likely Rome’s first colony.
The modern town of Lido di Ostia came into its own from the end of the 1800s, when the newly unified Italian state undertook a series of land reclamation projects across the country.
Ostia was earmarked as one of the areas requiring reclamation as there had been swathes of malaria-infested lowlands and swamps here.
Specialist teams and their families relocated from the Ravenna area in Emilia-Romagna to undertake these works - they had extensive experience in such projects as their home region features a lot of wetlands, parts of which had been slowly reclaimed over the preceding centuries.
As the land was built up and extended out to sea, the modern town of Ostia Lido was built during the first decades of the 20th century - called then ‘Ostia Nuova’ - a.k.a New Ostia.
During the fascist period, Ostia Nuovo was renamed to Ostia a Mare (Ostia ‘on the sea’), but was locally known as ‘Lido di Roma’, meaning ‘Rome’s Beach’. Skip forward a few years and in 1949, the name ‘Lido di Ostia’ was officially adopted.
Much of the architecture - a combination of Italian rationalism and Roman neoclassicism - from Ostia’s early history is still visible in the town. However, some key examples such as the grand pier pictured above (inspired by piers such as the one at Brighton in the UK) were destroyed by retreating Fascist forces in 1943.
Following WW2, Ostia grew substantially from a small village on the outskirts of Rome to a large town/mini-city. It quickly became a popular destination for Italian tourists (and still is!), and in more modern times started to attract international visitors for its proximity to Fiumicino airport and the Roman ruins at Ostia Antica.
Prior to Lido di Ostia, the main town in this area was Ostia Antica - located less than 3km from Ostia Lido (inland). Today both the modern town and the adjacent ancient Roman ruins are known as Ostia Antica.
During the time of the Roman Republic and Empire, Ostia Antica (referred to back then as just ‘Ostia’) was the main port of Rome (along with Portus, located on the opposite side of the river Tiber outlet to the sea).
Today the ruins of Ostia Antica can be visited and offer visitors an insight into a lost world – visit it for yourself and discover the fascinating history of the ancient port on this guided tour.
Full disclosure; I have lived in Lido di Ostia since August 2021 and love it! Like with all Romewise content, if we didn’t wholeheartedly believe in our recommendations, we wouldn’t publish them.
There are several reasons why you should consider visiting Ostia Lido:
Keep reading to find out more!
Getting to Ostia Lido couldn’t be easier!
These trains go multiple times per hour with a journey time of around 30 minutes, starting early in the morning and ending just before midnight, making a full-day visit more than achievable.
This train line is part of Rome’s metropolitan public transport network so you only need a regular 1,50€, 100 minute travel ticket (two tickets required for a round trip)! For more info about Rome’s public transport, visit our dedicated page here.
Another option of course is to drive – Ostia Lido does not feature a limited traffic zone which restricts access, and as the town follows a modern grid-layout, the roads are easily navigable.
Public parking in Ostia is almost always free – for easy access to the beach and the restaurants in the town center area, I’d recommend parking centrally.
Getting a taxi to and from Ostia Lido from Rome is also super straightforward. You should budget between 60€ and 90€ per trip (120€-180€ for a round trip) depending on your exact location if starting your journey in central Rome.
I would recommend using this Ostia-based company (you can reserve via email in English) who I have found offer the most competitive prices and a high level of customer service.
As Ostia Lido is a normal town you can visit at any time of the year.
However, as Ostia’s local economy is tourism-heavy (mostly Italian tourists, and in particular, Romans visiting to go to the beach at weekends and during the summer months!), a lot of restaurants, bars and shops close, or limit their hours ‘out of season’.
There are no fixed dates for these closures as it depends on the weather and national holidays.
Ostia’s weather, while similar to Rome, is differentiated by two things:
For the above reasons, we are fortunate in Ostia to have consistently good weather – one of the main reasons I love living here, as someone who moved to Italy from the UK!
For recommendations on what to pack when visiting Ostia and Rome, refer to our dedicated page here.
Worst case, if you forget to bring something, there are plenty of shops to grab essentials in!
Ostia Lido offers a range of things to do for a visitor - you certainly won’t be bored here if you make a day trip from the center of Rome! Here are my top recommendations:
There are multiple ‘free beaches’ where you can set up wherever you want without charge (not always the case in Italy).
However, I’d recommend going to a beach club - for a small cost you can hire a comfortable lounger for the day (on average 8€ per person) with the option of adding an umbrella/parasol (at an extra cost) - a must at the peak of summer!
Elyssa, Romewise’s founder - recommends Gambrinus and for myself, it’s always Bahia. However, all beach establishments in Ostia are worth considering as the local government keeps a close eye on the businesses they issue operating permits to, ensuring they maintain a high level of service.
Eat and drink - you are spoiled for choice for great venues in Ostia! Click here to jump to the next section where I detail some of my favorite spots.
Shopping - while not offering the same level of choice as the center of Rome, you’ll find a handful of designer boutiques and shops in Ostia, as well as a vibrant market scene - particularly at the weekends.
Within 20 minutes driving distance you’ll also find the Castel Romano Designer Outlet which features 100s of shops with many of the same high-end brands you’ll find in the center of Rome. You can also book a tour to visit the outlet here.
Walking/hiking/biking - From Ostia you’ll find several routes for exploring the nearby surroundings by foot or bike - two of my favorites are:
Water sports - if getting out on the water is your thing, Ostia is the place for you! From boat rentals to swimming, you’ll find all kinds of aqua-activities here.
The one notable exception is surfing; the conditions in Ostia do not lend themselves to providing a good surf experience, but if you head a short distance down the Lazio coast, you’ll find several places to get out there with your board.
Of course, everything is weather dependent and seasonal, and providers change on a regular basis so I would recommend doing your research prior to arriving.
In particular, be sure to check out the Porto Turistico di Roma - the so-called ‘tourist port of Rome’ - where you’ll find an array of businesses offering boat hire, water excursions, fishing trips and more. You’ll also find an extensive range of bars and restaurants.
When I moved to Ostia I was pleasantly surprised by the range of places to eat and drink. There is something here for everyone, with a wide variety of dining options.
Here are a few of my favorite spots: