An Alternative to Christmas Chaos? Head to Ostia

An Alternative to Christmas Chaos? Head to Ostia

It’s December. There are only 11 days left until Christmas. This is a beautiful time to be in Rome but there are so many things to consider during these busy days before gifts are to be shared and large feasts are to be eaten with family and friends. Surely there’s some last-minute shopping left to do and that alone is enough pressure to make anyone feel slight stress. Factor in the massive crowds and long lines and you’ve got a recipe for a disastrous meltdown. Though Rome’s Via del Corso, its many boutiques and street fairs are ideal for finding fashion, fragrances, food and more, Ostia is an area not too far and here you can kill two birds with one stone. Do your shopping and experience a relaxing break from the fast-paced and often loud city.

Ostia, best known for its long stretch of beach along the Tyrrhenian coast, is oft neglected during the winter months. Though its foot traffic may have diminished a bit, it boasts numerous activities, restaurants and shops. A 30-minute metro ride from Piramide (Line B)/ Roma Porta San Paolo Station (Ostiense), when you emerge from the Lido Centro station you are met with a slew of options. Stop for some delicious seafood at Ristorante La Bussola or Gilda, stop for a drink at the Guinness Cafe or stroll along Viale dei Misenati where you will find low-to-high end shops where you can buy gifts for the young and old.

There’s Radio Londra, Timberland, Ridolfi, many other shops and the abundance of stands with Christmas goodies along the street leading from the Lido Centro station to shop at. For a complete experience, make it a day trip in Ostia. One sunny morning make your way to the beach and enjoy the spectacular views of the sea. The warmth of the sun and the steady sound of the waves crashing against the shore is so relaxing. Even though it’s winter, the warm weather Rome has been experiencing lately should be enough to coax you out the house. You might even be able to have a small picnic on the sand. There’s also still a few seaside restaurants open for lunch and dinner if you prefer to eat and enjoy the sights from indoors. Along the beach there’s a path for bikers and runners if you prefer to spend your day away from the city exercising. Treat yourself and the kids to a movie at Cineland, Ostia’s 14-room multiplex that plays the latest releases (movies are only shown in Italian, no subtitles) and is worth experiencing.

For an interesting historical experience, spend a few hours exploring Ostia Antica an area that dates back to the late 7th century BC. Its museum, ancient buildings and close proximity to the sea help to tell the story about a city that worked its way to becoming the main harbor of ancient Rome. While there, visit the Castrum, ancient Ostia’s military fortress, the Roman gate, the entrance leading from Rome to Ostia and the Theatre, built in 1st century BC. This enjoyable tour will provide you with an alternate view of ancient Rome most are not used to hearing.

Whatever you preference, there’s something to satisfy all your needs in Ostia. Return to Rome well relaxed, shopping complete and ready to celebrate the holidays.