I have to say Ostia was an eye opener for me. I think it is one of the most incredible of all ancient Roman ruins, and I’ve seen quite a few. The tranquil atmosphere, even at the height of the season is far more inviting than some of the more promoted sites. Its slow and steady, yet genteel decay, leaves me with the notion that one day, without warning or explanation, everyone living in Ostia simply got up and walked away, doing nothing more than close their doors behind them, never to return.
It is not easy to choose one particular spot within Ostia as my favourite, because each area offers such a fascinating glimpse into Roman life, but I must admit, the Thermopolium of via di Diana holds a special place in my heart. Its state of preservation is astonishing, and quite frankly if I sat there long enough, I’m sure I would see the shade of one of the cooks, preparing his meals for the day, and topping up his dolia, before opening for business.
I love anything to do with ancient Rome and, as Rosie Chapel — my alter ego — have been inspired to set a series of gentle mysteries in Ostia. The central character, Leonidas, owner of a thermopolium, moonlights as an amateur detective. The hustle and bustle surrounding these fast food outlets, where rich rubbed shoulders with poor, lends itself to all manner of intrigue. Still in the planning stage, I hope to have the first one released mid-2018.
Rebecca Norman is an independent author of historical and romantic fiction. Her favourite period is classical antiquity, specifically Ancient Rome and its Empire. Originally from the UK, Rebecca Norman, who writes under the pseudonym Rosie Chapel, now lives in Perth, Australia.
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