After a Talk by Elena Sanchez about the Romans in Spain on 1st March, 34 of us we were treated to an excellent Guided visit of Italica, a week later, with Elena as our guide. After an early start (07.30) we stopped for breakfast and then continued to Italica. We each wore ear pieces so that Elena could speak in a normal voice level and we could all hear. We started with the Amphitheatre, which has 2 levels remaining of stone seating. There would have been a 3rd level in wood and in total, could have seated 25,000 People. We heard about the slaves and the wealthy patrons who paid for the “games” between man v man and man v animals which took place in the amphitheatre. Elena also explained about the various rooms which we passed through, one of which has various rules and costs for buying a slave, written on a bronze plaque.
We moved on to the City, to a very wide street with original paving slabs. Elena explained about the drainage system – very sophisticated and also, the way the houses were planned with inner courtyards and gardens. There were also public bakeries with double ovens and shops where all sorts of goods would be purchased. We saw the most beautiful mosaics one with days of the week, one with various birds, others with geometric designs and heard how the Romans have been recycling glass for centuries. Some of the strong colours still so vibrant in the mosaics today are actually not ceramic but pieces of coloured glass. Apparently, archaeologists had been puzzled as to why they didn’t find any broken glass among the remnants of pottery when excavating and they then discovered that the glass was being re-used over and over. We then saw the huge bathing area. This area was not just for taking baths but was where much socialising took place, business transactions would happen and there was a library. We ended the visit by watching an explanatory video.
The area which we walked & viewed is vast and it is by no means fully excavated – there is still much work to be done and it seems likely that we will re-visit !
We then dispersed to have lunch and boarded the bus for our journey home, arriving around 19.00. We all agreed that having Elena to Guide us had been wonderful and although tired after such an early start and long day, we all thoroughly enjoyed the visit.
And these photos courtesy of Garry Kilworth.
Co-ordinator Nerja History Group