Italica for all you Game of Thrones fans…

I’ve met some amazing people at escuela. Femmie and Jimmy are my new friends from Amsterdam. They just got married and are celebrating their honeymoon first here in Andalusia before they head to the Philippines for a month. They were on a mission to make Thanksgiving special for me and planned an entire day of events. Entonces, I was fortunate enough to have spent Thanksgiving with some really fun gente’s! 

Our first stop of the day would be ‘Italica’. Since I arrived in September,  Italica has been on my ever-growing list in my iPhone notes of ‘things to do in Spain’. The main reason that I haven’t been here sooner is due to the fact that it is the major filming location for Season 7 of Game of Thrones. 

Italica is the ruins of an ancient Roman city only 9 KM from Sevilla in the city of Santiponce. It was founded in 206 BC when the Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio left his wounded Roman soldiers here after a battle with the Carthaginians. This took place during the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage. Shortly after this, it quickly became a municipium. A municipium is essentially a Latin term for a city or town with an important status porque it is recognized by Rome. It was one of the primary  cities in the province of Baetica in southern Roman Spain. Italica is the birthplace of Trajan, the first Roman emperor to be born outside of the Italian peninsula in 98 A.D. The city experienced major development during the rule of Trajans’ successor, Hadrian. The population of the city during this time was said to be between 8,000 and 10,000 people.

Beaumont, Ruby, Nyame, Tom, Femmie, Jimmy, Matthew and me at the entrance of Italica.
The Roman Amphitheater that seats 25,000 speculators. It is said to be half of the size of the Colosseum in Rome.
Justa, me, Ruby, Femmie, and Nyame in the pit next to the dens for animals.
Femmie and Jimmy in the entrance to Italica.
 

This imposing city was steadily abandoned beteeen the 4th and 5th century. The population seemed to have tapered off during this time. However the fact is that we know very little about Italica during this final Roman-Visigoth period.

The Roman villa foundations.

The first official excavations were carried out in 1780 by Francisco de Burna. Then in 1860, a highly trained architect named  Demario de la Rios took charge. With the help of his brother, Jose Amador, a skilled draughtman, the ground-plans of the Amphitheater, houses, drawings of mosaics and the first plan of the city were  at last uncovered. Now, because there was no legal protection for earthly possessions acquired in place at this time, private excavators flocked to the scene. Their end goal was to collect mosaics for their private collections. This list of people included American Archer Milton Huntington who is the founder of the Hispanic Society of New York. In 1911 the law regulating archaeological excavations put an end to this situation.

The Roman villa foundations (and Matt).

Tom and Justa exploring the halls of the Amphitheater.
Beaumont and I exploring the gardens and aqueducts.
This is one of the many perfectly preserved floor mosaics.

Nyame and Femmie statue pose next to Roman Empire Trajan.
 
We walked around Italica for a couple of hours before heading back to Sevilla for Thanksgiving dinner, stopping for coffee in between. Femmie picked a fantastic restaurant in el barrio la Alameda de Hercules called ‘Al Aljibe’ for dinner. ‘Al Aljibe’ is a ‘market kitchen’ restaurant with amazing seasonal food. We ordered 10 platos and shared everything. It was the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Jimmy insisted that I said grace before we ate and it was an honor to do so. I don’t think either Matt or I missed pumpkin pie. 

We ended our evening with a Flamenco show at ‘La Sra Pop Cafe’ en la Alameda. I can honestly say that this was the best Thanksgiving that I have had in a very long time! 

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