On the weekend of July 9,10 and 11th we took short trips from Rome… each one by train.
We took a train from Rome to the closest beach to the city…. Ostia. Ostia is the ancient port area for Rome. It is located where the Tiber River runs into the Mediterranean. It takes about 30-35 minutes to get there by a combination of the subway and bus. There are five stops that the train makes along the beach. We opted to go to the end of the line and then come back. All the Italians we talked to said we needed to go either further south or north of Rome along the coast to see the really beautiful beaches…. The beaches at Ostia were not that nice. The last stop of the train landed us in an area that was very sparsely populated and had only beaches that were private. You needed to pay to get to the beach and by paying you had access to umbrellas, lockers, showers, pools, etc. The pools all appeared to be above ground and filled with little kids. We did notice that all the kids had bathing caps on - including the boys.
We got back on the train and took it to Ostia Centro and wandered down to the beach. This area had a more `Miami Beach' feel. Not too many hotels here and we got the feeling that this was a `day trip' beach. It was a Friday night in the summer and the beach was packed with families and young people. We found a nice restaurant and had a nice meal.
On Saturday we took a subway and bus combination to Cerveteri. This is a site that was once a vibrant town for the Etruscan civilization. Thisis Hynda in the main square of the town.
You go to Ceveteri to visit the Necropolis where the Etruscans buried their dead. It is about a twenty minute walk outside of the current town. There are about 2000 people buried here and they are from the 7th century BCE to the 3RD century BCE. It is believed that the Etruscans were the ones who founded Rome in the 9th century BCE and the first documented king of Rome was an Etruscan. They had a pretty advanced society and seemed to specialize in pottery with men with giant penises. We have been to a number of museums that either specialize in Etruscan art or have sections devoted to the Etruscans. (Note: Neither Hynda nor I are sure of the plural for penis??) The Etruscans were expelled from Rome in the 5th century BCE and gradually they were conquered by Rome and absorbed into the Roman Empire and disappeared as a distinct people.
The grave sites in the necropolis are actually tufa-cut tumuli (mound shaped tombs). The entire site is laid out as if it were a city - with streets and piazzas. It was like a city of the dead.
This is the Kleinchik at the entrance to the park.
This is Hynda at the entrance to one of the tombs. You can climb into all of them. Some have very elaborate rooms carved into them - similar to what you would expect from a 7th century BCE house.
As you can see some of them are overgrown with weeds and bushes.
There were acres of these and all carefully laid out in a street-like pattern.
On Sunday we rode our bikes to the train station and took a train to Nettuno - a beach community one stop past Anzio where we had been two weeks ago. We read in a guide book that there was a 40KM bike trail to a small medieval fortress from 15BCE called Torre Astura. We biked and never found it but the biking was beautiful. Wound up biking over 35 miles along a beautiful beach called Parco Nazionale Del Circeo. It was very much like biking along the stretch of Rehoboth Beach (Delaware) where the bay is on one side and the ocean (in this case the Mediterranean) is on the other. We had lunch in Nettuno which had an old city with narrow streets and old houses.
We stopped in a small town on the sea called Foce Verde for lunch.
A snack in Nettuno.