Visit Itálica Spain – Birthplace of Roman Emperors

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Itálica is the best preserved and one of the most popular Roman ruins in Southern Spain. Located close to Seville, the archaeological site of Itálica is a must-see when visiting Seville. The ruins of Itálica are a short trip from the city and one of the best value-for-money attractions in Spain.

Visiting Roman city Itálica

Itálica Spain was the first Roman city founded in Spain and the first Roman city outside of Italy. The settlement dates from the 2nd century BC through to the 4th century AD.

It was a settlement of some note and was officially called Colonia Aelia Augusta Itálica and was one of the earliest Roman settlements. Today it’s considered to be the best Roman ruins in Spain. Surprisingly it seems not to feature on many people’s lists of what to see in Seville, which as we found out is a big mistake!

The great Roman General Publius Cornelius Scipio chose Itálica as a place to settle his war veterans who fought Hannibal and the Carthaginians in the Second Punic War. Itálica was so called as because of the Italian origins of the veterans who made it home.

The Roman town of Itálica’s reputation and status in the Roman Empire thrived as it was the birthplace of 2 mighty Roman emperors Trajan and Hadrian. These two emperors played a big part in Roman history and this prosperous city.

During Trajan’s 19-year reign, Rome reached its maximum size territory. Trajan was responsible for extensive public building programs and the introduction of social welfare policies in ancient Roman settlements.

These feats earned Emperor Trajan the reputation as the second of the five good Emperors who presided over an era of peace and prosperity in the Mediterranean world.

Italica Spain,
The ruins of Itálica

During the reign of Hadrian, he built the wall that crossed Great Britain and resided over the construction of the Pantheon in Rome, Italy. Hadrian’s Arc sits proudly outside the Colosseum one of the most well-known Roman ruins in the world.

Hadrian is considered the 3rd of the Five Good Emperors. Hadrian officially named Itálica, Colonia Aelia Augusta Itálica. It’s possible that a third emperor Theodosius I was born on the Iberian Peninsula.

Italica Spain
This was the 3rd largest Colosseum in the Roman Empire

Spanning over 50 hectares near the river Guadalquivir, the Itálica Roman ruins showcase various structures that offer invaluable insights into the Roman way of life. The archaeological excavations began as far back as the 17th century.

One of the most striking features is the Roman amphitheatre, which is considered one of the largest in the entire Roman Empire, accommodating up to 25,000 spectators.

The ruins of Itálica encompass well-preserved cobbled Roman streets, mosaic floors, columns, and even elaborate statues, all serving as a testament to the grandeur and sophistication of ancient Roman architecture and design

From the moment you enter the archaeological site, you are funnelled toward the famous amphitheatre of Itálica. There is a room off to the side of the entry gate that shows a short video history and some small artifacts. It also showed how these amazing Roman ruins of Italiaca were found and excavated.

Italica Spain

This is Itálica Spain

We absolutely loved visiting Itálica, it was amazing wandering around the ancient streets, Roman Ruins, and the beautiful gardens just inside the entrance. The 3rd biggest Colosseum in the Roman Empire was built here. In its prime, the Roman amphitheater in Italica Spain could hold 25,000 people!

We walked the well-worn Roman path through the archaeological excavations towards the arena. You walk through the entry to the arena and it opens up in all its glory in front of your eyes. There you are standing on the arena floor as the only person. To be alone in this once great area was a thrill beyond words.

Italica Spain
The Dragons Pit as seen in Game of Thrones

As I slowly closed my eyes trying to hear the people that once filled this area I tried to imagine what it would have been like to have been a warrior in the Amphitheatre. I channelled my inner Russel Crowe and picked up some dirt from the floor of the Roman theatre.

To say it was special is an understatement.  Anyone who has visited Roman Ruins, monuments in Rome, and other popular destinations will tell you that you share the experience with thousands of others. Not so at Itálica Spain, I shared the experience with my wife, children, and the Ghosts of Itálica.

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Family Travel Tip: Bring food and water with you to the ruins of Italica. There was a cafe on site but it was closed the day we were there. Only opens in the summer. There are some shops located outside the boundary of Italica Spain.

Italica near Seville is by no means just a Roman amphitheatre and nothing else. It was a thriving city of over 8000 people and Italica’s buildings included homes, markets, stores, traders, families, and more.

The ancient city of Italica as of late is one of The Game of Thrones locations in Spain where the Hbo show was filmed. Roman Ruins of the Italica Colosseum featured in the last episode of season 6 of Game of Thrones. It was the meeting place of John, Daenerys and Cersei. A little CGI was added to make it look larger. Game of Thrones returned again in Season 8 to film at Italica once again.

The archaeological site of Itálica is set out in a grid like many modern cities with an elaborate urban centre. The original cobblestone roads are still present, so you walk in the footsteps of Roman Emperors as you explore the town.

Splendid mosaic floors are still present in the foundations of some of the past buildings and they are fascinating to see. Columns and even a statue of Emperor Trajan have survived. Mind you Trajan’s head did not survive ancient times! Parts of Itálica are covered by the m modern town of Santiponce including the Forum.

The Forum was the centre of the civil and religious life of any Roman city.  Seville Archaeological Museum holds the famous marble colossus of Trajan and many other fine pieces that have been excavated over the years from Itálica.

It showcases Roman Seville and we highly recommend visiting if you have time in Seville.

Italica Spain
The statue of Hadrian at Itálica, Spain

The archaeological park of Italica is well preserved as no modern larger city was built over it. The Italic settlement was abandoned because of a lack of a water source. Don’t get me wrong Itálica was pillaged over the years mainly by the city of Seville.

The outside walls of the amphitheatre Itálica were pulled down to build a dam on the nearby Guadalquivir River. By the Royal Order of 1912, Itálica was declared a National Monument.

That is something that I can only describe as a tragedy. It was not till 1810 that the first law protecting the fine buildings, public baths, and Roman ruins was enforced ending over 1000 years of the site being looted by a larger city, that being Seville. It was a great day as the Roman ruins in Spain would be protected

Italica Spain
The foundations of the former Roman Town of Italica Spain

I think it’s the unseen that makes Italica Spain so special. The unseen in a city? Unlike many ruins, these days that are surrounded, overshadowed and on the verge of being swallowed by their surroundings, the ancient city of Italica Spain sits in a field.

Views in most directions are fields and trees with only the modern town of Santiponce Spain visible from the highest point. That for me makes these Roman ruins in Spain special, quite unique that they can be so close to Sevilla but so peaceful and uncrowded. This historic Roman Iberian settlement seems to sit side by side in a peaceful co-existence.

One where Sevilla does not send many people Italica way and Italica can feel safe from the encroaching city. Look no further than Italica for things to do in Seville, while tripping around Andalucia and its surrounding area.

Italica Spain
Amazing Mosaics of Italica Spain

After visiting the archaeological ensemble of Italica you might also want to explore Cotidiana Vitae. It is a Roman-themed visitor centre in Santiponce that transports you to the Roman era. Inside, you’ll find a meticulously recreated Roman house from the earliest Roman settlements in the 2nd century AD, complete with bedrooms and a kitchen.

Additionally, there’s a depiction of how Italica would have appeared during ancient times, and an engaging audio-visual presentation detailing the construction of this Roman town. Cotidiana Vitae is located at Plaza de la Constitucion 11, Santiponce.

How to get to Italica – Seville day trips

Taxi: We recommend that you get a taxi to the Roman ruins. for this Seville day trip to Italica, We caught a taxi from near the Seville Cathedral to Italica Santiponce. It costs under 20 euros to be delivered to the main entry gate in a bit over 10 minutes.

Family Travel Tip: We visited in winter and found when we left the Italica site there were no taxis around. We were lucky the bus was to arrive 45 minutes later. Check the p21 bus schedule and try and time your exit as there is only 1 mid-day bus.

Italica Spain
The Roman amphitheatre for gladiatorial combats

Seville to Italica Bus: The M-170A bus operates on weekdays, starting at 6:40 AM and ending at 3:25 PM. The route has a total of 9 stops, beginning at Plaza de Armas and ending at Italica. The bus takes around 40 minutes to complete the journey to these earliest Roman settlements.

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Italica must be one of the best value-for-money attractions in Spain.

  • Citizens of the EU, with ID: free entry.
  • People from other countries: 1.50 €.

Italica Seville’s opening hours

The ruins of Italica have varied opening days throughout the year when visitors can come and see this Roman period town, home to over a hundred columns and remarkable mosaics.

ruins of roman baths at Italica in Spian
Roman Ruins of Italica in Seville Spain


  • Tuesday to Saturday: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
  • Sundays and holidays: 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.
  • Monday (except the eve of a holiday): Closed.


  • Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
  • Friday and Saturday: 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.
  • Sundays and holidays: 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.
  • Monday (except the eve of a holiday): Closed.


  • Tuesday to Saturday: 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.
  • Sundays and holidays: 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.
  • Monday (except the eve of a holiday): Closed.


  • Tuesday to Saturday: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
  • Sundays and holidays: 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.
  • Monday (except the eve of a holiday): Closed.


  • January 1 and 6
  • May 1
  • December 24, 25, and 31

Know before you go! Our top Seville travel tips

Located in the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula in Spain is Seville. Seville is the largest city in the region of Andalusia. Seville is famous for its flamenco dancing, Bull Fighting and tapas.

Tourist attractions in Seville

The city has a long history of being occupied by both the Moors and Christians, who both left their mark via culture, architecture, and cuisine.

There are so many things to do in Seville and having the best place to stay in the city to explore is extremely important when you travel. Here we’ve got some information to get you planning your vacation to Seville to make it completely hassle-free.

Where to stay in Seville

You’ll never be short of options for your accommodation in Seville. In Seville, you find a range of hotels, apartments, and hostels when visiting the ruins of Italy. You will be sure to be able to find something to fit singles, couples, families, and groups on every budget for visiting the ruins of Italica


  1. Hostels: Seville has numerous hostels offering affordable dormitory and private room options. Consider staying at hostels like The Nomad Hostel, Oasis BackpackersPalace Sevilla, or La Banda Rooftop Hostel for budget-friendly stays with a social atmosphere.
  2. Guesthouses: Look for budget-friendly guesthouses like Hostal Jentoft, Hostal San Vicente II, or Pension Nuevo Pino for comfortable and economical stays in the heart of Seville.


  1. Boutique Hotels: Seville has charming boutique hotels that provide excellent value for money. Check out options like Hotel Casa 1800 Sevilla, Hotel Amadeus, or Hotel Boutique Doña Lola for a comfortable stay with a touch of elegance.
  2. 3-Star Hotels: There are numerous well-rated 3-star hotels in the city centre, such as Hotel Don Paco, Hotel Casa Del Poeta, and Hotel Las Casas de El Arenal, offering a balance of affordability and quality.


  1. 4- and 5-Star Hotels: For a luxurious experience, indulge in the 4- and 5-star hotels located in the city centre. Consider iconic options like Hotel Alfonso XIII, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Gran Meliá Colón, or EME Catedral Hotel for opulent stays with top-notch amenities.
  2. Palace Hotels: Seville is renowned for its historic palace hotels like Hotel Palacio de Villapanés and Hotel Mercer Sevilla, offering a taste of royalty and exquisite services.

Remember that Seville is a popular tourist destination, so it’s advisable to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. Staying in the city centre will allow you to easily explore Seville’s historic sites, vibrant neighbourhoods, and delicious cuisine on foot.

How to get to Seville

  • San Pablo Airport is located in the south of Spain, ten kilometers northeast of the Seville city center. You can fly directly to Seville from destinations both domestically and internationally. You can search flights to Seville with Kiwi flights
  • Seville is serviced daily with trains from Madrid, Barcelona, and other cities both domestically and internationally. You can book trains to Seville with Omio
  • Seville can be reached directly from 13 cities and indirectly from anywhere across Europe. Flixbus tickets start at € 5,99. Book your bus ticket to Seville with Flixbus.
  • If you plan to road trip to Seville you can hire a car at any International airport and dealership across Spain and Europe. Book with RentalCars for the largest options.
  • Maybe you want to make a trip cross-country? An RV is a great way to travel around Europe and includes a visit to Seville.

Getting around Seville

The old town centre of Seville is easy to navigate on foot. The Seville metro runs from 06:30 to 23:00 and until 02:00 on Fridays and Saturdays. A single ticket costs 1,40€ or a one-day ticket including unlimited travel on the Metro is 4,50€.

Seville’s bus system runs from 06:00 to 23:30. Perhaps the most convenient lines are the circular C1, C2, C3 & C4 lines, which take you near some of Seville’s most iconic monuments. A single bus ticket costs 1,

Weather in Italica Seville

Seville has a Mediterranean climate. The weather in Seville features very hot summers and milder winters. Due to its inland location of Seville in the south of Spain, the city has plenty of warm weather.

Summer heat in the high 30 thirties makes sightseeing in Seville in summer a hot and sweaty affair. The mild temperatures of Autumn and spring offer a better experience with averages around 20°C.

Winter you will find is not bitterly cold in this region making travel to Seville and the visible remains of Italica possible all year round.

The Italica ruins are so much more than a Spain Game of Thrones location it is a piece of living history waiting to be experienced, visit Italica today. It is one of the less touristy landmarks in Spain. The Roman monuments in Spain are famous for their historical significance and architectural beauty.

We hope this article from us here at Wyld Family Travel has you inspired to take a trip to Seville. There are so many great things to see and do in Spain For more amazing ideas on where to holiday in Spain click through to our Spain Destination Page for more brilliant inspiration.

More travel inspiration for your trip to Seville

10 thoughts on “Visit Itálica Spain – Birthplace of Roman Emperors”

  1. Great tip with packing your own food! I always realize too late that either like you experienced, the cafe on location is closed or the cafe costs an arm and a leg for a bottle of water and a cookie. I was actually hoping to visit Seville and didn’t realize that Italica was so close – it wasn’t on my list before but now I’ll have to see if I can add it onto my “to-go” list!

  2. If it’s good enough for Scipio I reckon it’s worth a visit 🙂 a big part of my advice for Spain would be to calm ahead and check things are open since it can change last minute. I lile the way you prize the unseen in Italica.

  3. I had no idea there were such amazing Roman ruins in Spain! I’ve been to some in Tarragona near Barcelona but these are much better preserved – the mosaiics are incredible!

  4. This place looks so incredible! I’m a huge fan of ruins and this is something Id be interested to see in person. Thanks for sharing

  5. The fact that Italica has all the characteristics of a Roman historical site sans the crowd already got me interested. Now when you mentioned the place was also featured in Game of Thrones the nerd in me grew more curious! I think I would love visiting this place. Thank you so much for writing about this less known place. Also those floor mosaics are unbelievably beautiful!

  6. We are visiting Italica in June. Can anyone tell me if it is easy to self guide? Are there audio guides available at the site?

    • Thank you so much for the quick response Mark, your blog has been very helpful.

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