While in Rome, we also took a brief day trip to Ostia to see the ruins of the ancient Roman sea port. As we discovered, Ostia is an easy 30 minute train ride from Rome- we sipped cappuccini, met our guide at the station, and were off.
The site dates back to the 7th century B.C. but the visible structures date from the 3rd century B.C.
The visit was interesting on a number of levels. Beyond the obvious allure of walking around structures that have been in place for several thousands of years, I was astonished by the quiet of the place- there were only a handful of visitors. This, at the peak of tourist season, while Pompeii gets something like 2.5 million visitors annually. I'm still scratching my head, wondering why this isn't a bigger tourist destination- it is undeniably impressive and extremely accessible from Rome. Still, I couldn't have imagined doing it without a guide to show us around. The ruins are mostly unmarked and I expect it would have been difficult to get a good sense of what things were if we hadn't had a well-informed guide. As it was, we past a very pleasant couple of hours wandering about and getting more than our money's worth in information on the Ostia of yore. All in all, an excellent excursion.