Italica - Roman city close to Seville, Andalucia, Spain. Report and photographs by Idealspain.com
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Places in Spain - Italica, Roman city in ruins

 

Italica was founded in the year 206BC by General Publius Cornelius Scipio as a place of settlement for soldiers wounded in the battle of Illipa. It also served as an important military outpost. The name Italica gave reference to the first settlers who came from Italy.

Marcus Ulpius Trajan was born in the city in 53AD as was his successor, Aelius Hadrian in 76AD.

 

 

Italica Roman city

 

Located just a few miles north of Seville, in the village of Santiponce lies one of the most important and largest Roman ruins in the whole of Spain. The Roman city of Italica demonstrates wonderful examples of Roman architecture, mosaic work and city layouts.

Italica can be visited every day except Mondays and entrance is free for EU citizens. Otherwise, entrance costs just 1.5€. Group visits can be arranged in advance. Pick up a guide book from the kiosk as you enter the city.

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The massive amphitheatre, one of the largest in the Roman Empire, surrounded by a wooded park, is one of the most impressive we have seen. It is also in reasonably good condition. You can wander through the tunnels where gladiators would once have walked and stand in the den which would have housed the lions. The theatre had a capacity of 20,000 spectators that sat on the three tiers. In the centre of the arena is a great pit which would have been covered by a wooden structure. This was used for gladiator and wild animal sports.

Amphitheatre

The streets are characterised by their great width and even today, the original cobbles and guttering remains. The street layout is of a grid pattern, forming regular squares in which would have stood public buildings and private dwellings. Several of the buildings have been uncovered to reveal intact and well preserved mosaic floors. Mosaics in good condition

Italica can easily be distinguished into two zones. The vetus urbs (old city), founded by Scipio and the nova urbs, founded by Hadrian. The vetus urbs now lies deep beneath the village of Santiponce but the nova urbs is here, on display to the visitor in all it's glory.

Excavations of Italica date back to 1781 and have not stopped since. It is estimated that the city is so large that excavations will never be completed.


Roman mosaics

The city was provided with fresh water by means of an aqueduct and the waste water was taken away by means of underground drains. Some of these can still be seen through grilles placed at the road intersections.

Some of the houses uncovered include the House of the Planetarium with it's hexagonal mosaics depicting the seven Gods that gave names to the days of the week. The House of the Birds, partially restored to show what it may have looked like and the House of Neptune with it's warm thermal baths.

In July, Italica comes to life with the hosting of the International Festival of Italica.

 

Tunnels under the amphitheatre

Entrance to the city

 
 
 
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