One of the most beautiful aspects in Ostia Antica is the black and white mosaics that, seemingly, are everywhere.
But it is not just the geometric pattern floors that are stunners. In Ostia Antica, you’ll find gods and goddesses, fanciful sea creatures, and celebrity boxers depicted for all eternity. In the photo at the top of this post, Neptune (holding his trident) rides through the sea drawn by galloping sea-horses, surrounded by mermen and sea creatures (that giant shrimp looks rather tasty). Appropriately enough, that mosaic graced a bathhouse.
Ostia was Rome’s most important port, and many of the mosaics demonstrate the importance of commerce at this once bustling city. Some terrific ones are at the the “Forum of the Corporations,” located behind the theater. This is where “corporations” of ship-owners, importers, grain traders, and even wild animal importers had their shops, and indicated their business in the mosaic out front — in short, a permanent business sign, for which no translation would ever be needed.
This is just a tiny taste of the hundreds of wonderful mosaics still in-situ at Ostia Antica. I can’t recommend a trip to this ancient place highly enough.