With 4 nights planned in Rome in mid-March, is it worth taking a day trip (or half day trip) to Ostia?
Ostia Antica is a beautiful place to visit and the ruins are almost as magnificent as Pompeii, but if it's your first trip to Rome and you have only 4 nights then you might find that there just isn't enough time to pack it all in and leave the city for part of a day. But if you've had enough of the big city after a few days, then Ostia would be a great side trip.
To answer your specific question, yes. It is more of a half day. The train takes almost to the entrance and then it is a short walk. It shaded so it makes for a nice break from tree less Rome.
Is it easy to tour Ostia on your own with RS audio guide and maps? Our son is a huge history buff and we thought one guided tour on our 7 day trip to Rome would be great for him--but only if it gives more insight than the audio guides or "official" tours given at the site (which is why we're not thinking of hiring an outside guide for the Coliseum and plan on taking one of their tours instead). Is Ostia maybe a place to hire a guide or is the audio tour enough? Thanks!
Have you been to Rome before? If you haven't then unless you just want a day out of the city, I probably would recommend not going to Ostia. Not that it isn't absolutely fascinating, but there is so much to see in Rome. If you want a more laid back day in Rome, I would recommend Trastevere and the Villa Farnesina. We were just there in late December and it really still has a little of a village atmosphere. The Villa is breathtaking. Again, I think it depends on your prior experience in Rome.
Thanks for the input. I have been to Rome before, but my wife has not. I'll check out your suggestions to see what might interest her most.
Ostia Antica is one of those daytrips that you can have ready "in your back pocket" just in case you need a break from the intensity of Rome. It's very interesting if you're into Roman ruins, but in Rome itself you do have the Forum, the Colisseum and the Palatine Hill, to name only a few ruins. The Palatine Hill gives you a little bit of the feel of what Ostia Antica is like, even though it was the emperor's palace. Here are some photos and video clips I took at Ostia Antica in May 2008, in case you're interested: Ostia Antica And here are a few photos and video clips from the Palatine in May 2011: Palatine Hill