OSTIA posts



Here I will publish my short articles on Ostia Antica… see list below


See also the series: How the Tiber floods of the 16th century forever changed the landscape of Ostia.

This series of short notes refers to the catastrophic floods that afflicted the Lower Tiber valley, peaking in the 16th century AD. We know about these floods from written sources and through geoarchaeological investigations. The floods with the highest levels ever reached by the Tiber occurred in the years 1530, 1557 and 1598.

Several factors contributed to this particular concentration in time. It seems that in this period there was a change in the equilibrium of the land-river-sea system. The change of land-use in Central Italy in the late Medieval and Renaissance periods may have been one of the triggering factors: the clearing of land on steep slopes caused an increase in erosion, which, in turn, caused an increase in the solid charge of the rivers, and thus of flood frequency and intensity, the rise of the valley level and the progradation of the coast line.

A secondary cause of the flood intensity would have been the presence of obstacles in the river in Rome such as obstructed bridges and floating mills. A final contribution to the changed environmental balance may have been the start of a colder and rainier climate phase peaking in the 16th-19th centuries (the “Little Ice Age”). The break-through of the sharp meander of the river near the castle in 1557 was the apotheosis of the events, which forever after changed the landscape of Ostia and its surroundings.

List of OSTIA articles

Fiume Morto
The historical salt works of the coastal plain of Rome
The hidden harbour of Claudius
How the coastline of Ostia changed over the centuries