I’ve lived in Rome for almost 20 years. My school was in front of the Colosseum, my first job in front of St. Peter’s Basilica, and my house was built on the exact spot where the emperor Nero died.
So, you can say I know the city quite a lot.
And today I received this question about ancient Rome.
The answer is simple.
A railway that brought people directly from the port of Ostia, to the Circus Maximus, the Colosseum, the popular areas of the Suburra, and to the Bath of Diocletianus, also known as « Termini ».
So, you could arrive to the port of Ostia:
And take the train that will bring you directly into town.
At the gates of the city, the line goes underground.
Just after the gates of the city, you will reach the Circus Maximus.
One more stop, and you’ll be at the Colosseum.
Here you can see how the station was built: a marvel of Roman engineering. Check the brick vaults, with layers of bricks carefully put by hand.
After the Colosseum, the railway followed its course, and ended in front of the Baths of Diocletianus, also known as « Termini ». You can see that the station and the Baths had similar kinds of vaults.
For all the trips within the city, the railway was complemented by a large streetcar network. Streetcars were able to navigate the narrow street of Ancient Rome, and you could find a streetcar stop in front of almost every monument.
Unfortunately, not much has left of this once great streetcar network. Several generations of barbarians, wars, plundering, invasions and general neglect have destroyed much of it. Of the original network, only part of lines II, III, V, VIII, XIV and XIX were preserved to this days.
What can we learn from this story? That there is an easy recipe to have a great and successful town.