The Archaeological Area of Ostia Antica consists of the remains of a Roman settlement originally located at the mouth of the River Tiber on the west coast of Italy. Due to changes in the river channel and the coastline, the remains are now about 4 km from the sea. Ostia was founded in the 6th century BC, but the earliest fortifications date from 4th century. The main function of the settlement was originally to protect the mouth of the river Tiber, but later with the construction of a new harbour by Claudius and Trajan the city developed in an active commercial centre that spread beyond the city walls. As the principal port of Rome, Ostia became a place of great strategic and commercial importance in the Mediterranean area. By the end of the 2nd century A.D. the city was still thriving and hosted a population of more than 50.000. It went into decline for the middle of the 3rd century A.D. as the focus of the Empire moved eastwards.
The Archaeological Area of Ostia Antica is a place where goods circulated and different cultures and religions mingled. As a gateway to Rome Ostia was a melting pot of the different people who lived under the Roman Empire and a place with far-reaching influence on land, across the Mediterranean basin and beyond. Evidence of the trade, the exchanges and the diverse population is still visible today in the mosaic floors, the archaeological remains and funeral inscriptions.