Dear Ostia Antica
I am writing you this letter in a very difficult moment, a moment in which the whole world is facing a crisis that has changed our lives, forcing us to stay at home. I miss you so much. I miss walking through the impressive (yet so “cozy”) ruins of the Via della casa di Diana, admiring the nuances of the marbles of the Terme del Foro (that change with the light of the sun), breathing in the smell of the cut grass in the Campo della Magna Mater, getting lost in the labyrinth of your insulae, lying down in the shade of your pine trees, next to the Theater. I miss you because you represents a past full of life and beauty, a reassuring past. I miss you because you are an important part of our identity.
For these reasons, it was with great enthusiasm that I learned that on March 31, 2020 you obtained, from the European Commission, the European Heritage Label. All the newspapers talk about it. For us, who know you very well, it is no surprise that it has been recognized that you played a “key role in the history of European culture”. You were the first colony of Rome, its port at the mouth of the river Tiber, a crossroads of languages, cultures, ethnicities, religions and goods for many centuries. Passionate people from all over the world have walked your streets, admired your mithrea, your mosaics (even your latrines!), studied your millenary stones.
I leave to others the task of explaining the how and why of this recognition. It is enough for me to be confident that we will soon meet again and that I will find you beautiful and welcoming as you have always been.