I have wanted to write about Italica for a long time. That Roman city so close to the center of Seville, so visited but at the same time so unknown, that has a lot to offer and that this summer-autumn, despite the health circumstances of COVID-19, it has been one of the tours that you have most order. In addition, Game of Thrones filmed some of its most important scenes in recent seasons in these ruins, so its popularity has grown even more if possible, do you come to discover it with us?

First things first, where is Italica located and how can I get there? Well, Italica is located in the municipality of Santiponce, just 7 kilometers from Seville and easily accessible by car, motorcycle or public transport (from the Plaza de Armas bus station). It opens every day except Monday and its hours are normally from 9 to 6pm or 8pm depending on the time, but during the health crisis, it currently opens from 9 to 3 in the afternoon. It is free for EU members and costs only € 1.50 for non-members.

What are we going to find in Italica? We will find the ruins of the first Roman city founded in Hispania and outside of Italy, in 206 BC, we know, from the remains that have been found that the area was populated long before by Turdetanos and as it was an existing city, it was ideal so that wounded soldiers could be established after the Punic Wars, the idea was of Scipio the African.

Itálica, little by little, would increase in importance. At first it would be considered a "Latin colony", and in the time of Julius Caesar, it would change its status to that of "municipium civium Romanorum", minting its own currency in later times. The period of greatest splendor occurred at the end of the 1st century and during the 2nd century, when Trajan and Hadrian, both born in Ithalica, reigned in Rome. Uncle and nephew will reinforce the undoubted prestige that the ancient Hispanic colony already had in Rome, being generous with their hometown, expanding it and revitalizing its economy.

We could say that Italica is "divided" into two areas, the Nova Urbs or "new city" and the Vetus urbs or "old city". The first is the one that currently constitutes what we know as the Archaeological Ensemble of Itálica, and the second is the one found under the historic center of the town of Santiponce (founded in 1601). In Santiponce hardly anything has been found since the city is above, but we can visit the theater and the minor baths.

In the new city, its huge mansions paved with mosaics, the great amphitheater, and some more things that we are going to see below would stand out:

The first thing that stands out when entering Italica is its defensive walls of more than 3 kilometers at the time and almost two meters thick. Built-in various phases and of which we only have a few panels left.

The Amphitheater with a capacity of 25,000 spectators, was one of the largest amphitheaters in the empire with three tiers of bleachers. Below the level of the ancient wooden floor of the amphitheater, there is a service pit for the different gladiatorial and beast shows.

The theater is the oldest known civil work in Italica. It is located in the so-called Cerro de San Antonio, to the west of the urban area of ​​Santiponce, taking advantage of the natural slope on the Baetis. It was built between the 1st century BC. and 1st a.D., and its use, surely sporadic, lasted until at least the 5th century.

Trajan's temple. Although no reliable proof of this has appeared, it has been assumed since its excavation, around 1979-1980, that the one baptized as "Traianeum" is a temple dedicated to Emperor Trajan erected by his great-nephew and successor, Hadrian.

Thermal Baths. They were a leisure center that housed, along with other services, the public baths. They date from the time of Hadrian, towards the first half of the second century. It is a large building; it approximately occupies an area of ​​32,000 square meters. They are found in the nova urbs, occupying the extension of a complete block, still partly unexcavated. The structure of the distribution of the pools and furnaces is still preserved. In addition to the baths themselves, with the three rooms (caldarium, tepidarium, and frigidarium), the building housed a library, massage room, sauna, changing rooms and to the south of the main body the arena would extend that would occupy almost half of the building.

In the splendor of Hadrian's Itálica, houses of important and wealthy local families were built in the new city, some of which would undoubtedly be senatorial, which, in addition to following the traditional scheme of the Roman house, with an interior courtyard of which later the courtyards of the Andalusian houses would derive, they had the predominant Hellenistic aesthetics of the time.

Among the houses of Itálica, we have the Exedra, the Birds, Neptune, Patio Rodio, Hylas, and El Planetarium like the most important ones. Almost all of them well excavated, with magnificent mosaics and large rooms. It is believed that some were possibly schools or clubs, due to their great extension.

The American production company and channel HBO chose this special environment to shoot some of the most important and controversial scenes of the well-known macro production, Game of Thrones. Itálica has been the filming location for the series up to three times and was one of the places where the end of the series was "decided". Of course, in Italica, we talk about this and we show you curiosities and photographs of the filming.

In any case, Italica is one of the jewels of our province, which if you have the opportunity you should not miss seeing. If you want to have someone to explain the whole site little by little and in detail, do not stop writing to us at and we will be happy to organize a visit for you.


Pictures by Azul Neon