The Italica Roman ruins, birthplace of emperors, in Seville

Italica is a collection of spectacular Roman ruins in Andalusia, just a few miles outside of Seville. The earliest people came from Italy around 206BC, when the place functioned as a settlement for Roman soldiers injured in the battle of Illipa.

These remains are the most important archaeological evidence in all of Spain, as they contain some of the most spectacular early Roman architecture, city layouts, and mosaics. It includes a massive amphitheater that could seat 20,000 spectators in its prime to watch gladiators and exotic wild beasts combat. You may actually walk into the passages where gladiators once walked and stand in the lions’ lair. The pit, which would have been covered in wooden slats and used for gladiator sports, can be seen right in the center of the arena.

Italica
By ABC de Sevilla

A little bit of history

Itálica (named after the Itálica Peninsula from afar) was founded during the Second Punic War, which fought Rome against Carthage. The Romans were victorious thanks to “El Africano” clever strategies, who decided to build a hamlet to serve as a resting site for soldiers injured in battle during the Battle of Ilipa (in present-day Alcalá del Ro). And this was the beginning of Itálica, which flourished until the 4th century, when the Roman Empire began to fall.

Itálica is historically significant for three reasons: it was the first Roman province on our peninsula, it was the birthplace of the emperors Trajan and Hadrian, and it is home to the world’s third largest amphitheater.

Italica
By 20 minutos

What to see in Italica

The Roman theater

The theater was built between the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD and was in use until the 5th century, when the city began to decay and it was completely abandoned, causing inhabitants to utilize it as pens, warehouses, and even burial grounds in medieval times.

Despite this abandonment, there is evidence of the building and its location in 18th-century writings. Besides, it is not until 1940 that part of its steps are discovered. Thanks to work on one of the houses on the hill. However, it is not until 1970 that small studios were started, which ended in 1980. And the Itálica Theater was brought to light after several stages of restoration.

Italica
By Wikipedia

The Amphitheater

The amphitheater, which is known for being one of the Roman city’s symbols and icons, is without a doubt one of the most impressive places to view in Italica, as well as the archaeological site’s oldest civil construction. The Itálica amphitheater was one of the largest in the empire, with a capacity of 25,000 spectators and three tiers of stands, nearly double what we can see today. There is a pit beneath the ground that gladiators and beasts used before their shows and that may still be seen today.

Italica
By museos de Andalucia

The Roman thermal baths

The hot springs, which in this case were made up of two complexes, the Major Hot Springs or Reina Mora Hot Springs in the old city and the Minor Hot Springs or Trajan’s Hot Springs in the new city, which was unfortunately at the time the most despoiled area of the city, are another place to see in Italica.

Both had several rooms, such as hot water pools, cold water pools, and warm water pools, as well as the shroud and an exercise room.

Italica
By diario de sevilla

The aqueduct

Although there was evidence of a first aqueduct in the city, which carried water for 37 kilometers from Tejada la Nueva to Itálica, thanks to some writings and various visible remains, and after some work by the Confederation Guadalquivir Hydrographic Survey in 1974, some remains of what was thought to be a single aqueduct, which brought water to what is now known as the old city, were discovered.

Following that, and in response to the requirement for more water as a result of the construction of the new city, an extension was built to deliver water to this new part of the city.

Other buildings

The House of Exedra (one of the largest in Italica), the House of Neptune, the House of Birds (the best preserved, with a well and a cistern where rainwater was stored), and the Planetarium House (whose mosaic represents the seven planets that give names to each day of the week) are just a few of the houses to see in Italica (Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and the Sun, which means Sunday).

Italica
By Wikipedia

Tickets and schedule

For European citizens (remember to bring proof), admission is free; for everyone else, admission is 1.50 euros.

Italica’s schedule is as follows: 

  • From January 1st to March 31st: Tuesday to Saturday, from 9am to 6pm. On Sundays and holidays from 9am to 3pm. It closes on Mondays.
  • From April 1 to June 15: Tuesday to Saturday, from 9am to 8pm. On Sundays and holidays from 9am to 3pm. It closes on Mondays.
  • From June 16 to September 15: Tuesday to Sunday and holidays, from 9am to 3pm. Besides, it closes Monday. 
  • From September 16 to December 31: Tuesday to Saturday, from 9am to 6pm. On Sundays and holidays from 9am to 3pm. It closes on Monday.

For more information Check the website.

How to get there

The quickest and most convenient option to get to Itálica is via car. Besides, you can  take the opportunity to visit towns such as Osuna or Marchena. Take the N-630 road to Mérida from the Seville exit.

You can also get to Italica from Jerez de la frontera , as it is only an hour away from Seville.

Cadiz is only an hour and 15 minutes away from Sevilla. Only 120 kilometers. 

Curiosities

Game of Thrones Italica is one of the places where the seventh season of Game of Thrones was filmed. It’s where the dramatic Dragon Pit takes place. Besides, where many of the characters meet for the first time. Filming for the eighth season will begin in the spring of 2018.

Places to visit near Italica

There are several well-preserved Roman baths and a Roman theater in the adjoining village of Santiponce.

If you haven’t previously done so, Seville is a must-see destination. It is without a doubt one of our favorite cities in Spain. Where you can see the Cathedral, Alcazar and enjoy the day in the beautiful city.

El Rocio is a short distance away. Besides, people consider it is one of Spain’s most beautiful communities.

More local travel suggestions can be visiting Jerez de la Frontera or Cadiz, since they are only around an hour away.

If you need more information or any help, don’t hesitate to get in  touch with us in our website or write to us at info@alsherry.com!

Leave a Reply

+ twenty nine = thirty four