founded in 206 b.c. about 9 km from the present-day sevilla, italica is the remarkably well-preserved ruin of a roman city that had about 8,000 residents. most of what you’ll see was was laid out under the patronage of hadrian a couple of centuries later. it takes about 30 minutes on a bus from the station in sevilla to the end of the santiponce line. it was a drizzly day mid-week and we were the only ones there.

the amphitheater seated 25,ooo and was the 3rd largest in the roman empire. the restoration is really successful — enough for you to understand what was there — without disney-fying it.


standing in the arena or walking though the passages beneath the structure, it’s pretty easy to imagine what it was like with gladiators there…

and they had little feet…


helen took this one…

a beautiful stone drain:


there are amazingly intact mosaic floors at the site.


the river shifted sometime in the 3rd century (probably silting up due to deforestation), leaving the city cut-off and abandoned. the town of santiponce was built on the oldest – pre-roman part of italica, but most of it remained uncovered by later buildings. excavations began in 1781 and continues. the entire site will never be uncovered.