Sunday, 21 February 2016

Spain 2016 - Italica, Roman ruins near Seville

Two of the things Nicky wanted to do while she was here were; visit a castle and see Roman ruins. The first happened yesterday and today we were off to do the second. She found this site while searching on the internet and Google maps said it was an hour and 40 minutes away. Once we got to Santiponce, North of Seville (near the airport) we got a little off track and stumbled on the Roman Theatre. Unfortunately it was closed to the public so we wandered around the outside taking pictures.
We were taking pictures through the fences.
It would have been lovely to walk through.
Instead we walked through some picturesque narrow streets to find our way around the outside of it.

From a a distance we thought this was a viaduct but it was the facade of the theatre.
They obviously haven't finished with it yet as there are piles of marble columns yet to be erected and a partially uncovered Roman road.
Back in the car and we found the entrance to the main site. Spain is not making a lot of money from their archaeological sites. Mum and Dad were free (due to EU passports, not age) and Nicola and I were E1.50 each (just over $2).
After the washroom, we went in to the audio visual presentation which was very good, with English subtitles.
Coming out of the AV presentation. It was a warm (20 deg), sunny day and the site is beautifully laid out and treed.
First; fortification. We had bought ham and cheese sandwiches, olives, apples and a bottle of white wine. Ready to take on the Romans now.
Directly in front of the entrance is the Amphitheatre. Mum and Dad started with that. Nicky and I ended there. We headed up the hill first.
The city had wide roads with curbs and drainage.
Italica was established as a military post in 206 BC. The Emperor Trajan was born here and he and Hadrian (who spent time as a child here) contributed to its expansion and establishment as an important city.
Reproduction of the statue of the Emperor Trajan. The original is in the Seville Archaeological Museum.
I understand the need to protect and preserve but he is so much more impressive in situ.
Then my camera battery died. But I had a spare. When I put it in the camera, it was "exhausted" to. Swear words!!!!! The rest of the pictures are taken with my phone and with Nicky's help I figured out how to put them on my computer for the blog. Always good to learn something new.
I love mosaics. Maybe because I love tiles. Maybe because they remind me of the rugs we make. Whatever, I find them fascinating. The best I ever saw where in Cyprus but these were a close second, though it surprised me that they were not covered or protected in any way.
I saw rug patterns in these and Nicola saw quilts. Each to their own hobby.
Not all the mosaics have been restored. We saw a bucket of little tiles ready to be put back on a floor.
I can see the quilt patterns in this one.
Patterns are impressive, but even more impressive, are pictures.
Pictures of the Gods with Venus in the centre.
There were an amazing number of mosaics at this site but I think I have to move on.
We saw Mum walking up the hill, directed her to the mosaics and she went back to get Dad so he could see them. Lots of walking, uneven ground, uphill but he loves this kind of thing. We walked over to the baths but they are not completely excavated yet and not that impressive so back down to the amphitheatre. Wow.
Its huge, oval, and although in ruins you get a real sense of the place.
The estimated capacity is 20 to 25 thousand. Seating divided into 3 levels (just like today's bullrings)
A small portion has been restored with some of the ornate stonework.
A central pit (covered) to hold the animals and equipment used for the games.
Passage between the arena and the gallery (under the stands)
We could walk around the gallery and see the various areas for entrance, access to the stands and rooms for the competitors.
It is a truly magnificent site.
There are fields, laid out into the road grid pattern, waiting to be excavated. The forum and some other public buildings are under the town of Santiponce and may never be uncovered.
We were desperate for the coffee we had just outside the entrance and then drove home for supper. Exhausted but a great day.

No comments:

Post a Comment