A few kilometers away of Seville, were the locality of Santiponce currently is, we can still see the vestiges of what was one of the most renowned cities of Andalusia: Colonia Aelia Augusta Italica. Many sources point out that this was the birthplace of Roman Emperors Trajan and Hadrian. It is particularly due to the later that his city of birth grew and obtained the rank of colonia. Because of this, Italica possessed monumental buildings of huge dimensions, which have lasted like visible ruins for centuries after it was abandoned.
Since the 16th century, the ruins of Italica begin to catch the attention of scholars and travelers. Thanks to them, we have descriptions and drawings of what was left of the Roman city in the hills now planted with olive trees that used to belong to the monks of the neighboring convent San Isidro del Campo. In the 18th century, influenced by the spirit of Enlightenment, excavations were done resulting in the findings of important epigraphic texts and sculptures of great artistic quality. Further on, during the 19th century, during a wave of confiscating ecclesiastic goods, it was possible to do some excavations but under very poor conditions. The names of Ivo de la Cortina and Demetrio de los Ríos are associated with these works, and a wide repertory of great quality drawings are due to them.
During the 20th century, the ruins of Italica have several moments of interest, first when they are declared National Monument with the law of 1911, and later with the impulse given to the archaeological works in the years prior to the great Ibero American Exposition of Seville in 1929.
Finally, in the decade of the 70's excavations in large areas of the city were done to learn which was the urban layout, the current interpretation center was built, and a new period of research began that has produced great results. This corresponds with most of the Italica that we can now visit.
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