ITALICA - Roman ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE
The Roman ruins of Italica, with remarkable mosaics and an impressive amphitheatre, are located 9 kilometres to the north of the city of Seville, just outside the village of Santiponce.
Nearby you can also see a well preserved Roman theatre. Both are signposted from the the main road.
Italica was the birthplace of three Roman emperors - Trajan, Hadrian, and possibly Theodosius. One of the earliest Roman settlements in Spain, it was founded in 206 BC by Publius Cornelius Scipius to house legionaries after the battle of Ilipa, which saw the Carthaginians (from North Africa) were defeated.
The town rose to high social and military status in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, when Trajan and his nephew Hadrian were in power. Hadrian named the town, which had a population of 8,000, Colonia Aelia Augusta Italica. The area was a major producer of grain and olive oil, and some families with private farms became very wealthy exporting to Rome.
From the 3rd century AD the town lost its affluence, possibly due to a problem with its port on the river Guadalquivir. Throughout the Middle Ages and until the last century, the ruins were used as a source of building materials - for the road from Merida to Sevilla in the 19th century, and for grand houses in Seville - look out for marble columns around the city.
What you can see today
Fortunately the 25,000-seater amphitheatre, which was one of the largest in the Roman Empire, has partly survived (two storeys out of three). The central pit was used for animal cages (bears and wild boar) during gladiatorial combats. In 2016 it was used as a filming location for Game of Thrones (see below).
Beyond this, on and around the wide main avenue or Cardus Maximus, about five large houses of prosperous families have been excavated, some with well-preserved, colourful mosaics, including floors with exquisite design of birds, Neptune, and the planets. These mansions measured up to 15,000m2-
You can also see the remains of the Traianeum, temple of the Emperor Trajan, Termas Menores and Mayores (baths), and the sophisticated sewer system normally seen in larger cities.
Also worth visiting is Cotidiana Vitae, a Roman-themed visitor centre in Santiponce, with a reconstruction of a 2nd century AD Roman house, complete with bedrooms and kitchen, a plan of how Italica would have looked, and an audio-visual presentation showing the construction of the Roman town. Plaza de la Constitucion 11, Santiponce.
Filming Game of Thrones Season 7
In autumn 2016, Seville was abuzz as various Game of Thrones actors arrived to film for Season 7 in the Atarazanas (Royal Shipyards) and Italica. The episode which featured Italica was the climactic final one, first shown in August 2017, in which three members of major houses have a historic meeting about a common enemy in the amphitheatre.
A simple platform was built over the pit, with the steps nearest the main doorway (eastern end) used by one character to make a dramatic entrance before the assembled bigwigs. You can also see the characters walking along the path towards the amphitheatre.
CGI was used to add extra height to the western wall, with arches where statues would have sat, so that it bears a closer resemblance to its original state.
Avenida de Extremadura, 2
41970 Santiponce (Sevilla)
Tel: +34 600 141 767
Email: [email protected]
1 Jan - 31 March and 16 September - 31 December:
Tuesday to Saturday: 09.00-18.00
Sunday and public holidays: 09.00-15.00
1 April - 15 June:
Tuesday to Saturday: 09.00-20.00
Sunday and public holidays: 10.00-15.00
16 June - 15 September:
Tuesday to Sunday and public holidays: 09.00-15.00
Last entrance 30 minutes before closing time.
Monday (excluding bank holidays): closed
Open on bank holidays, except:
1 and 6 January
24, 25 and 31 December
EU citizens with proof of nationality: free.
Other nationalities: 1.50 €uro
The 170A and 170B buses to Santiponce leave from Plaza de Armas bus station in Seville. The 170A is more frequent, leaving every half hour, with the journey taking 30 minutes.
The 27km-long Vía Verde of Itálica is a footpath along a former railway line used for transporting pyrite from the Aznalcóllar mines northwest of Seville to the city's port on the Guadalquivir river. From Itálica, you can join the vía verde 4km south at Santiponce, via the N630. From Santiponce, you can either head south to Seville or northwest to Gerena along the vía verde.