Sandra, a hobby writer that loves creating essays about everything inside her head full of knowledge.
Italica is an archaeological precinct dating from the Roman time period, located in Santiponce, a small village outside of Seville, in Andalucia, southern Spain. It was because of this place that I developed a great interest in the Roman empire. Let me tell you what happened....
How it all began.
There is a period of a year, almost a year and a half, that I worked as a tourguide commuting between Algarve in southern Portugal, and Andalucia in southern Spain. I had just broken up with my boyfriend and sticking around in Barcelona where we had shared the last three years together, wasn't really what I wanted to do anymore by then. I started researching for new works, and somehow the company that I worked for found out about that, and offered me a new position with the only change that I had to move down south.
I jumped it without thinking, just wanted to get away and forget. Took my things and left for this new adventure. Now looking back at it I think it was one of the best decisions I've made in recent times.
Riding bikes between Spain and Portugal.
My job was now to make biketours taking people by bike over the borders of Spain and Portugal. When I was on the Spanish side, I was based in Seville, an amazing city, I will write about soon here as well.
One of the tours in Seville went to Italica, an archeological Roman precinct located in Santiponce, a small village outside of the city, a bike ride of about 40 mins. I took people there by bike and explained to them how and what life was like in andalucia during the time of the Roman empire.
Getting the knowledge.
There was just one problem, what did I know about this? When I started, basically nothing. Since moving to Europe, especially when living in Spain, I did catch on alot about history, it's so much more complex here, than home in Canada, however most of it was kings and queens and that kind of stuff, not Roman history.
They ended up giving me a "basic guideline to Italica", a computer printed second hand guidebook, with basic knowledge a guide should know about. It was a base to roll on, but didn't give me any satisfaction.
I decided to "widen my knowledge" researching on the internet. And I became fascinated by these people. The road networks they created. How they marched through europe and winning battles with basic armoury. They had sea trade. All the things they imported and exported. How they managed to conquer basically a whole continent with their war techniques, all the people they fought, all the battles, all the provinces they ended up having, I was now soaked into it.
I researched more and more, now it was borderline obsession, and everything I found something I thought was interesting, I tried to share it with people, but it seemed that nobody could be bothered.
Seeing with my own eyes.
One day they asked me if I was ready to take the tour. A group of people had booked the tour, and I could come and they would show me the the way.
Up on the bike, and off we went. I enjoyed every minute and every second of it. Riding the bike in the spring sun out to Italica. As I wrote before, it took us about 45 minutes to get there, and finally I was standing at the roman precinct. Everything had become so real somehow.
A great day.
We did the tour, and as my "job" that day was to take photos of the group, but also for the webpage and information leaflets, I did my job with pleasure.
Then we went back home again, and it felt like it had been a great day. When I came back to the apartment, I had a nap, and what did I do after that? I wrote my own version of the guide sheets I had been given. Updated it big time. Of course when I showed it to my boss, she was not interested in looking at it, she decided to keep the old guidelines.
I kept my new guidelines to myself for a long time, and every time I found something new, I added it in there. Today the document is so big in my cloud, it could almost become a book.
Source of inspiration.
So it was Italica that inspired me to a new chapter of history, the Roman empire, before, it had all been about the Age of discoveries. It's quite funny to think, when I left Canada, I wasn't even interested in history, I had always been a science girl. And look at me now.
It's been a little over three years now since I left Seville and that company. Three years ago since I did my last Italica tour. Three years later, I am still on and off reading about them. The Romans and their empire. Reading new articles on the internet, sometimes in magazines.
Liz Westwood from UK on May 22, 2020:
This is a fascinating article. Seville is a favourite city of ours in Spain. But we haven't visited Italica. My interest in the Roman empire started with Latin lessons at school. As I have travelled in Europe, it has been interesting to see evidence of its past across the continent.