Just 8 kilometers northwest of the city of Seville in Spain lies the Roman city of Italica. Italica, which is part of the municipality of Santiponce, is said to be the birthplace of two Roman emperors , Trojan and Hadrian. We have been to Sevilla for three times now but it was the first time that we have heard about the existence of this place, thanks to my constant internet browsing! I became curious of the pictures and informations I’ve read so I convinced Hans to pay this tiny place a visit.
We were lucky with the weather when we visited Italica. It had rained the whole night in Minas de Riotinto, and the forecast for the following day was also not so good. Luckily, the sun smiled at us in Santiponce, and we were able to enjoy a leisurely and pleasurable walk around the Roman city.
Entrance to the Italica Archeological Complex is free for EU citizens and 1.50 per person for non-EU. We stayed at least a couple of hours in the complex, walking and admiring the beautiful place. There was a suggested walking route in the premises ; yes, one just had to follow the arrow. We did not let ourselves be tempted to walk immediately to the Amphitheater as we were planning to see it as a finale of our visit.
Walking around Italica was like walking back during the Roman period as early as 206 BC. Wide and long streets lined up with high cypress tress on both sides, paving stones and curves which dominantly served as main streets back then, the roads are laid out in an orthogonal plan which crossed perpendicularly and formed rectangular dwellings or houses.
These residential homes were of large dimensions and what made them extraordinarily special are the use of mosaics on the floors, which unbelievably still preserved up to this time! Some of the houses with their magnificent mosaic themes and decorations are the House of Neptune, House of Rodio, House of the Birds, and House of Planetarium. It was so impressive to see that the mosaics have been preserved and that we could admire these works of arts. What a privilege!
There are also the ruins of Public Baths and main square. Walking from one area to another, there were various viewpoints where we could see the city of Seville. Also, walking around Italica gave us a Mediterranean feeling – with vast wide open space interrupted by high Cypress trees.
The finale of our visit in Italica was the Amphitheater. It was among the largest in the empire, with an estimated capacity of 20,000 -25,000 people. It has an oval shape, the sitting is divided into three levels separated by corridors; and of course, the most important of these all is the arena, where the fights took place!
Hans and I walked at the amphitheater’s corridors and galleries, imagining how the gladiators felt before they appeared into the arena, how the noise of the public deafened everyone who were present wanting to witness blood on that day; We walked in the middle of the arena, imagining the bloody and ggressive battle for life that occurred here to the amusement of bloodthirsty paying public. And we were glad we didn’t belong to that period!
We walked and walked trying to find the way to the highest level so we could have a better view of the arena, but we couldn’t find it. We always ended up with a locked gate. We almost gave up, until we saw one man on top of the seating area, we followed where he would descend and made our way to the highest viewpoint. We finally found it! And there, we had the most compelling view of the amphitheatre, in all its glory, minus the combatants in it. It was a fitting finale for our short visit in the Roman city of Italica in Seville.
CAMPSITE: Italica, Santiponce
Coordinates : N : 37.44470 W : 6.04285
Parking is situated opposite the Sports Complex of Santiponce, just about 100 meters from Italica Complex.
Our customary pictures together 🙂