Near Sevilla lies Itálica, a roman town founded in 206 BC to settle victorious Italian veterans from the Second Punic Wars against Hannibal and the Carthaginians – therefore the name.
Itálica thrived especially under the patronage of Hadrian, as it was favoured as his birthplace. The city started to dwindle as early as the 3rd century because a shift of the Guadalquivir river bed left Italica’s river port high and dry whilst Hispalis (Sevilla) continued to grow nearby.
|View into the amphitheatre
Italica’s amphitheatre was the third largest in the Roman Empire at the time seating 25.000 spectators, about half as many as the Colosseum in Rome.
The older part of Italica lies under the present town of Santiponce, but the urbs nova with its many fine buildings from the Hadrianic period was never covered with modern buildings. The result is an unusually well-preserved Roman city with cobbled Roman streets and mosaic floors still in its original place.
|archaeologically conserved mosaic
|Mosaic floor in the house of the birds
|The sun as part of the Planetarium mosaic
We were surprised that all this precious mosaics are still in the open, exposed to sun and weather, and that the colours are still so lively.
After so much history we had to come back to reality in a Spanish bar.
|Flower of the day