There is much to do in Rome, but when you’re ready for a break from sightseeing, if not crowds, head to the sea. You won’t be the only one on the little train to Ostia, but the sights, sounds and sun make the trip more than worthwhile. Ostia, a satellite city of Rome is twenty miles away and roughly forty minutes by train.
The il trenino, or Little Train will take you from the Piramide subway stop in Rome to the city of Ostia. For roughly $1, you can sit back in comfort for the forty minute ride and take in the countryside while the other throngs of tourists battle traffic. The train will make many stops in Ostia, but the beach is best accessed from the last stop, Cristoforo Colombo.
Across from the Cristoforo Colombo stop you’ll board a bus to take you the few miles to a long stretch of public beach. If you’re more discerning and would like a few more features for your day than a public beach would allow, you can take advantage of the many private beaches along the road.
In these privately owned locations you can rent a changing cabin where you can store your things or just change in locker room and use a locker. The private locations also have other items for rent or sale such as umbrellas, drinks, snacks, and in some cases, full meals in associated restaurants.
The best time for the beach is the warm months between May and September. As the beach is Ostia is the most popular with Romans, it will likely be very crowded, especially if you travel to the city over the weekend. Don’t plan any solitary walks along the water’s edge on this seaside trip, but you can plan an interesting day of people watching, cold drinks and hot Italian sun.
If you haven’t spent time on a European beach, be prepared for more skin than you might expect. Bathing suits on both men and women are small, in some cases tiny, and many of the women also accessorize their look with much gold jewelry. This doesn’t mean you must wear a tiny bathing suit or bring along your gold chains, but local customs might differ from the beach you’re used to.