The Daily Diary of a Wandering Restaurateur
May 1 - Ostia Antica

Any way you look at it, we had a long day. We left Seattle at 12:30 in the afternoon yesterday and arrived in Rome at 4:00 this afternoon via Detroit and Paris. Neither of us were able to sleep much on the plane so by the time we got to Italy, we were pretty much running on force of habit alone.

One of the things we have learned over years of doing this is not to hit the ground running. That gets easier to live up to as we get older, but we got into the habit of staying near the airport the day we arrive. It gives the body time to renew itself ... and makes it easier for the errant bags to find us before we disappear into the bush! All the luggage was on time today (of course, we only checked one bag!) so we piled it in our little car and headed down the road about three miles to Ostia Antica for the night.

We are staying at Rodrigo de Vivar, an agriturismo (officially a farm stay) that has been pieced together from several apartments scattered about in the old town, called a burg or borgo. This is essentially a walled village and offered protection during Medieval days when society was much more predatory. The burg of Ostia Antica is behind the old castle of Pope Giulio II della Rovere and is a magic sort of oasis in the middle of an otherwise busy town.

In Roman times, Ostia was the seaport for Rome but the harbor silted up and the town just died. Romans essentially dismantled most of the place for its bricks, stone and other building material that was then used to construct buildings in Rome itself. As a result, all there is to see of the ancient port city is ruins, unlike Pompeii where many of the buildings remained intact. I suppose being buried under mud and ash for centuries helped a lot!

Around Ostia Antica

Dinner in the Country

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