Welcome to Ostia, an ancient city a mere 30 minute train ride from Rome. I'd never actually heard of this city until we got to Rome and one of our travel party mentioned that a friend had visited and recommended it. We set aside a whole day to venture out of the big city and I'm glad that we did.
At first glance, Ostia looked like a few rows of decaying brick ruins, and we were a bit upset at having paid what we deemed a rather steep 10 Euros/person to get in (there are discounts… I managed to get in for 6 Euros by showing my military ID and telling them that I am a teacher… Note: my ID says nothing about teaching and there is a sign that says that teachers get in for free. I guess I found a happy medium of sorts), but the city is gigantic.
We didn't spring for the audio guide, didn't have a private guide, and there are only a few signs posted throughout to give you some semblance of what used to take place here, but I kind of liked not being totally clued in.
Of course, we had some background from having had such a wonderful guide in Pompeii and Ercolano last summer, so we were able to kind of figure out which ruins had once been shops and which ruins had once been homes and that was helpful, but overall, I enjoyed being able to run free through the city.
It's also a pretty spectacular place to play hide and seek.
Dress from a street vendor last summer in Rome