|MONASTERY OF SAN ISIDRO DEL CAMPO (NEAR BACKGROUND) AND THE CITY OF SEVILLA (FAR).|
CHECK OUT THE AGAVE AMERICANA IN BLOOM IN THE FOREGROUND (LEFT).
As usual, I'll keep the history lesson short and, I hope, sweet. The Emperor Trajan was born in Italica in 53 AD. He was the first Roman Emperor to be born in a distant Roman province. His nephew and heir, the Emperor Hadrian (born in 76 AD), spent part of his youth in Italica. The area was considered of high strategic value and was officially settled by Roman soldiers who had been injured in a battle against the Carthaginians. In a nutshell, Dave and I walked the streets and saw the remains of a once-powerful and prosperous city more than 2,000 years old. The park is a work in progress. Digs continue and the city is being painstakingly excavated.
|VENUS ENJOYING SOME SHADE NEAR THE PARK ENTRANCE.|
(UNCONCERNED ABOUT THE SUN BEATING DOWN ON HER HEAD... OR ARMS.)
I had read and been told that Italica was fascinating but flat and completely exposed, and that there was absolutely nothing around it of interest for shopping or dining. Not so. The town of Santiponce looks charming and there are a variety of restaurants and shops along the route to Italica. In cooler weather, it will be really pleasant to walk back down the hill to Santiponce to see the ruins of the Roman theater — apparently grand and impressive — and the small public baths. Italica itself is a beautiful walled park with a small but excellent visitor center that clearly and interestingly explains the history of the city in both Spanish and English. Much of the park does bake in the sun with little chance of shade, but down near the entrance are some beautiful gardens and protected spots.
It was a hot day to be wandering the arid paths, so Dave and I visited about 3/4 of the park before heading directly across the street from the park entrance to a very good and very friendly restaurant, Gran Venta Italica (with a patio, a bar, and — even better — a large air-conditioned dining room), for lunch and an ice-cold beer. San Geraldo and I will have to head to Italica together once summer has passed to explore the entire park and the additional excavations in Santiponce, the town within which Italica now resides.
|HOUSE OF THE PLANETARIUM.|
|SANTIPONCE CEMETERY IN BACKGROUND (BEHIND WHITE WALL).|
|THE EMPEROR TRAJAN. BORN IN ITALICA IN 53AD.|
|SANTIPONCE AND SEVILLA IN BACKGROUND.|
|THE HOUSE OF THE BIRDS.|
WITH A CREPE MYRTLE IN BLOOM (TOP PHOTO), TO REMIND ME OF ALICE.
|MORE OF THE HOUSE OF THE BIRDS.|
YOU CAN SEE THE STATUE OF TRAJAN IN THE DISTANCE.
|THE THERMAL BATHS INCLUDED HOT, WARM, AND COOL ROOMS WITH POOLS;|
MEETING SPACES; EXERCISE AREAS; LIBRARIES; AND MORE.
|TRYING TO PROTECT HERSELF FROM THE BAKING SUN,|
AN ARCHAEOLOGIST DIGS UP MORE TREASURES RIGHT BEFORE OUR EYES.
We ended our stroll at the Amphitheater, which was awe-inspiring. I walked the halls imagining the spectators hustling to their seats. We saw the gladiators' small lobby and their entrance to the arena. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get decent pictures of that because a family of five American tourists had noisily commandeered the space for themselves and, by that time, I was too hot, tired, and hungry to wait. Maybe next time.