The Roman city of Italica in Santiponce 8 km from Seville is proposed to obtain the category of World Heritage by Unesco in the year 2020. This would suppose a fourth monument / historical place of the city of Seville with this distinction after the Alcázar, the Cathedral and the Archive of Indies, all named Unesco World Heritage in 1987.

Italica has some ruins of the II century d. C exceptionally preserved, some mosaics that are counted among the best in Spain and an amphitheater, even in occasional use, that had once a capacity for 25,000 spectators. Also this city was historically the cradle of two of the greatest Roman emperors: Trajan and Hadrian.

Let’s get to know her a little better.

Origin of Italica

Italica was founded by General Scipio, a prestigious Roman military man in 206 BC, as a settlement for veteran soldiers already retired from the Second Punic War. But that first city of Italica lies under the current town of Santiponce. The ruins we can visit today are an
extension of the city during the time of the Emperor Hadrian in the second century AD, this area was owned by the nearby monastery of San Isidoro del Campo, because it belonged to their properties they were never urbanized, but on the other hand it was object of extensive
plundering and theft. From its abandonment in the 4th century to the 18th century (and officially until the beginning of the 20th century) a plan for the protection and assessment of its historical content was not carried out. This was thanks to the Sevillian archaeologist
Francisco de Bruna, but by then many of his marbles and mosaics had disappeared.

Roman City

Today it remains of its ancient splendor a spectacular amphitheater in which could fit up to 25,000 spectators, the famous Colosseum in Rome had room for 50,000. In this way, this dimension made the amphitheater an exceptional place for a small provincial town like
Italica.

Here the gladiatorial games were celebrated while in the nearby theater the theatrical representations of tragedies and Greek and Roman comedies took place: Sophocles, Aristophanes or Juvenal.

We can also walk through its ample rich houses, many of them still paved with beautiful mosaics. Let’s not forget that the Italica we visit today was an urbanization for rich families. Each house occupied half a block. Most of them had two floors, a main courtyard or atrium and a back garden where there was a small altar for the home gods. The outer part of the houses was rented for Tabernae, that is, shops: bakeries, hardware stores …

In addition, the life in Italica counted on thermes (public baths), gymnasium (place so that the young people did sport, but that also were schools) and palestra (track of races).

And of course, temples to the different gods of the Roman pantheon and to the Emperor Trajan himself, considered as divine. In the same entrance of the amphitheater, Nemesis (goddess of warriors and Vengeance) and Celestis (goddess of Heaven) were worshiped in
small temples. An ex-voto or offering in the form of a footprint testifies to this.

italica

Who were Trajan and Hadriano

The first Roman emperor was Augustus in the early first century AD. Over the years the imperial Rome extended its borders from Hispania in the West to Britain in the north, from Mauritania and Numidia to the South to Dacia and Parthia to the East, Rome was the most
powerful empire ever known. The greatest extension was in the second century with the emperor Marcus Ulpius Trajan, born precisely in Italica. Trajan was emperor from 98 AD until 117 AD.

His successor Publius Elio Hadriano (was his nephew grandson) kept the borders and was considered one of the best rulers of Rome, traveled throughout the empire and enlarged his city of origin with temples, an aqueduct, statues and the most important amphitheater of the
Baetic province. Hadriano ruled from 117 AD until 138 AD. Its legacy is the city that we know today just 8 km from Seville.

Where we can see the best pieces of Italica

In the same Italica of course from the amphitheater to the theater, passing through some of the houses and buildings with beautiful mosaics such as the Planetarium or the one in the House of Birds.

In the Archaeological Museum of Seville (located in the Plaza de América in Seville). There are also mosaics, the best sculptures coming from Italica, including Diana (goddess of hunting), Mercury (god of commerce) and Venus (goddess of love). And especially the statue
of the emperor Trajan deified.

In the House of the Countess of Lebrija. In this Sevillian palace located in the central Calle Cuna we can see the floors and pavements that the Countess Doña Regla Manjon, great lover of Classical Antiquity, recovered from Itálica and Santiponce 100 years ago. For this reason it is considered the best paved palace in Europe.

italica

Italica Viva

Two thousand years later, in the 21st century, the Roman city continues to have a cultural use on a regular basis. There we were able to attend the International Festival of Dance of Italica and the Festival of Roman Theater that take place in a unique setting. They are not
ruins only, Italica is still alive.

In the Plaza de los Venerables, in the heart of the Santa Cruz neighborhood, we have now the opportunity to contemplate since last November 8th an interesting exhibition of two of the most famous artists of Seville. It is one exhibitions of the autumn that is part of the events of the 500th anniversary of the birth of Murillo (1617-2017).

The paintings come mainly from the Prado Museum, also from the National Gallery of London, private collections and the collection of Focus Abengoa that houses the exhibition.

Diego de Silva Velazquez and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, two illustrious Sevillians, have in common many features that this exhibition, organized by the Focus Abengoa Foundation, now show us.

Diego Velázquez, the painter of the Court

Exposición Velázquez y Murillo en el Hospital de los Venerables

 

The eldest of them, Diego Velazquez was born in Seville in 1599, he began to work and painted his first works in this city, first like disciple of the painter Herrera the Elder, after with Francisco Pacheco, also painter and writer, of who soon would become son-in-law after marrying his daughter.

Nevertheless the career of Velazquez took an unexpected turn when he received in 1624 the call of the young king Felipe IV to go to Madrid to become the painter of the court. The rest of his career was done in the capital, so today only a few of the pictures of the brilliant painter are in Seville. Velazquez died in Madrid in 1660.

Bartolomé Murillo, the painter of the Immaculate

Exposición Velázquez y Murillo en el Hospital de los Venerables

Bartolome Esteban Murillo was also born in Seville but in 1617. Unlike Velazquez, he remained in this city until his death in 1681 and in his long life he worked for churches, convents, monasteries and for the famous Cathedral of Seville where even today there are some of his best works.

Both painters represent the baroque style and left to us the best works of the painting of seventeenth century.

The exhibition raises as a common thread the fact that the artists could get to know each other. There is no documentary evidence, but it is quite probable that Murillo knew the works of the first period of Velazquez, in those time in churches and schools in Seville. And also it’s quite possible that the mature Velazquez had news of the fame of a young Murillo, who in the middle of the seventeenth century became the best and most famous painter of the southern city.

The exhibition of the Hospital of Venerables bring us pictures of the two painters on the same themes. They represented scenes such as The Holy Family, the Immaculate Conception, the patrons of Seville Justa and Rufina or the endearing customs scenes that reflected the society of their time.

The study of light, the use of chiaroscuro, colors, themes .. similarities and differences between the two Sevillians, one from the Court of Madrid and another from the perspective of southern convents and monasteries.

A curiosity about Velazquez and Murillo

The graves of both artists in Madrid and Seville respectively are today missing.

Velazquez was buried in 1660, the year of his death, in the church of San Juan Bautista, in the Madrid of the Austrias, that was destroyed in time of Napoleon. Some remains of the crypt have been found in the Plaza de Ramales, where a column with a cross recalls the famous painter.

Something similar happened to Murillo. When the sevillian Church of Santa Cruz (in the present Square of Santa Cruz) in the time of the Napoleonic invasion was demolished, the remains of Murillo got lost. There is only one plaque on a facade of the plaza that reminds of the city’s best-known painter.

Where you can see the exhibition

Exposición Velázquez y Murillo en el Hospital de los Venerables

Foundation. In addition to being a beautiful example of the Baroque Seville arquitecture, it has an interesting cultural activity organizing conferences, courses, organ concerts and exhibitions such as this that we are lucky to see until late February.

Don’t miss

The magnificent baroque church, decorated with Valdes Leal frescoes and the best painters and sculptors of the 17th and 18th centuries. Mention aside it is the modern organ of baroque inspiration that is considered one of the best of this type in Europe and that is usually used in the season of concerts in the same church of the Venerables.

The recessed patio, an original aesthetic solution of the architect Leonardo de Figueroa and that also had the practical function of collecting much more water of rain than a well or normal cistern. Essential thing in a building dedicated to Hospital.

The Marques of Pickman an Englishman who came to live in Seville, saw a good deal on the recently abandoned Carthusian monastery of Santa Maria de las Cuevas. The English porcelain was so fashionable at that time and found its place in Seville in this monastery converted into a ceramics factory. This began in 1841 and lasted more than 100 years. Today we have in the Old Monastery various ceramic panels manufactured here and are especially remarquable the unmistakable baked earthenware ovens.

The Crafts in Seville ceramics date back to Roman empire, and Santa Justa and Santa Rufina, martyrs in Roman times and protective of the city, already manufactured ceramic in Triana, across the river Guadalquivir.

Ceramic was essential in Islamic times for the decoration of palaces and houses. Tiles, tile basin edge … later in Christian times also the tiles were influenced by moorish handicraft but with new Renaissance models and technic. The Italian Niculoso Pisano resident in Triana quarter revolutionized the ceramic art and introduced the painting on flat tile. Some masterpieces of this artist are the Oratory of Isabel the Catholic in the Cuarto Real Alto of Alcázar and the Gate of the Monastery of Santa Paula.

Many years the production center were small and medium workshops at Triana district. But Pickman gave new impetus to the craft and became real industry in the nineteenth century in Seville.

El Monasterio Santa María de las Cuevas

The old monastery

But the monastery already had within its walls a long history before Pickman. It had been founded at the start of the fourteenth century as one of the most important monastic centers of the new Christian Seville. Large extent on the outskirts of Sevilla and looking at the region of Aljarafe was chosen by noble families such as the Riberas for their burials. Christopher Columbus himself stayed here and promoting their friendship with the monks prepared a part of his expedition to the New World. Years after his death his ashes rested in this place for 30 years before leaving for the island of La Española (Dominican Republic) in the Americas. A statue erected by the widow of Pickman remembers the discoverer.

Later in the seventeenth century Francisco de Zurbaran the best painter of monks in the Catholic Spain, full of palaces and convents, left us portraits of the sober and silent Carthusian. This collection of three paintings is now in the Museum of Fine Arts of Seville.

Like so many other convents was the subject of the confiscation and closure in the nineteenth century. That was when Pickman entered the scene and ceramics arrived in the Monastery.

But the history of Santa Maria de las Cuevas continued when the recent and legendary EXPO 92 ‘hosted here the Royal Pavilion.

After 1992, The Cartuja factory dependencies were transfer to another place and the monastery became the Contemporary Art Center after a comprehensive restoration in 1997, retaining function today.

So today we have in this original place an old monastery, a former ceramics factory and the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo that programmes temporary exhibitions and concerts.

The charm of the monastery

The monastery is surrounded by the garden of the monks, beautiful full of orange trees and other native plants, it’s perfect to get lost and find tranquility just steps from the center of Seville.

I like the mix of Moorish cloisters with ceramic panels from the nineteenth century made by Pickman. The Renaissance tombs of the Ribera next to contemporary art. I love strolling among ceramic furnaces scattered through the gardens competing in height that give the ancient monastery an unmistakable silhouette.

I like to approach the tree called “Beautiful Shade”, Ombu or Phitolaca Dioecius that, according to tradition, was planted by the son of Christopher Columbus more than 500 years ago.

Also I like cycling through orchards and centenaries orange trees and be amazed with the modern recreation of the giant Alice in Wonderland.

I like the quiet air outside the tumult of the city that should be the same for Carthusian monks centuries ago. And I like to remember the mythical EXPO ’92 that left us a substantial footprint in all Sevillians of more than 35 years.

In the middle of the desert heat in the summer in Seville, the Barrio de Triana provides us an oasis at the end of July. And it is in the pottery-maker neighbourhood of Triana. That period that takes place each summer the trianeros call it “señalaítos days” on Velá Santa Ana. In this edition of the Velá it will be held from 21 to 26 July, having its epicenter in the Square Altozano, Betis street and San Jacinto street.

If we go back to the historical context of this festival, the Vela de Santiago and Santa Ana (that’s his full name) has its origin in a procession that was held in the parish of Santa Ana in the late thirteenth century.

This holiday, so ingrained in the Triana district, has a large impact on the city, not only for being one of the events of the summer, but for having maintain the flavor of the traditions that developed in it for centuries, so it is a reference in all parties and block parties that take place in Seville and surroundings.

Within these acts and traditions maintained over time, the opening takes place in the courtyard of the Hotel Triana. This patio is decorated typically creating an environment of considerable beauty.

The Velá (the Fair)

The most striking thing is the environment that created between Calle Betis and Isabel II bridge. El Puente de Triana shows lanterns and flags that provide the historical and special colorful bridge at nightfall. A typical Triana picture by adding the ephemeral tents that are mounted in the Calle Betis next to the bridge. These tents have a similar structure and aesthetics to the stalls of the Feria de Abril in Seville but it is reduced the space and it is free entry.

Meanwhile, San Jacinto Street looks completely dressed and artistic lighting . Many activities are organized, especially since in recent years this central street has been pedestrianized. At the junction of this road with calle Betis is the Plaza of the Altozano, in which a large scenario serves as an attraction for all present performances quite varied and satisfied young and old.

As with all festivals in Sevilla, cuisine enjoys a prominent role within the Vela de Santa Ana, being one of the main attractions the grilled sardines on the backs of the tents, a pleasure to taste them with views of the bridge and classic festive Seville.

La Velá Santa Ana 2014

Of the most striking activities in the Velá definitely is the “Cockaigne”. An ancient game that involves trying to catch a flag located at end of a greased wooden pole, placed horizontally on a barge by the bank of the Guadalquivir. Young trianeros make a display of skill on the pole for the award also taking a dip you will definitely compensate for the high temperatures that summer living in Seville.

The religious sphere

In the religious sphere, the most relevant events cluster around 25 and July 26 (Days of Santiago and Santa Ana, respectively) and always in the popularly known as Triana Cathedral: The parish of Santa Ana wreaths she succeed, liturgical worship as rosaries, levees and some special moments of beauty. In the night of 25 to 26 there is a concert of Band of bugles and drums of the Three Falls of Triana, this year they have received one of the most impportan awards of its type. They play some short musical pieces called “Joys of Santa Ana “from the bell tower of the ancient parish accompanied by luminaries.

Since July 26, Triana say good-bye to his Velá Santa Ana with a firework display at midnight from the Puente de Triana. A week worth living by both: Sevillian opting for the city instead of the nearby beaches, and tourists to be decided by the Guadalquivir City as a holiday destination in summer.

La Velá Santa Ana 2014

Special interest was the Visigothic excavation as it was assumed here ther was once the basilica of St. Vincent’s where St. Isidore of Seville was buried. However this hasn’t been found but yes the presence of more numerous human remains from graves. Also from different periods were found pottery, coins, religious objects as reliquaries, tombs bones …
In 2014 after the end of the archaeological excavations, a crypt will teach us the historical remains found here.The courtyard of flags will keep their original appearance since the crypt will be underground. Also an interpretive center in the house No. 15 will open.
From ancient Roman Hispalis to Sevilla through the Islamic Isbilya the Patio de Banderas reveals its secrets.

La statue en question était un cadeau de la Hispanic Society of America à l’occasion de l’Exposition de 1929. Cette fondation culturelle a été fondé par Archer Huntington et son épouse Mrs.Huntington était l’artiste chargé de faire la sculpture.

Ce n’est pas la seule sculpture Cid , nous découvrons les mêmes dans différentes parties du monde : New York , Buenos Aires, Valencia , San Diego et San Francisco.

La présence du Cid à Séville est documentée à la fin du XIe siècle . La Isbilya (Seville) musulmans gouverné par le roi Al- Mutamid a reçu le Ambassade chrétienne de Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar , chevalier Christian , mieux connu comme El Cid .

Il est l’un des lieux les plus emblématiques de Séville, entre la Place d’Espagne et de la Manufacture de Tabac . N’oubliez pas de visiter.

Under the name of Nur ( light in Arabic ) there are more than 150 objects of Islamic culture from the ninth century to the twentieth century.

Spain was for centuries bridge between East and West . Talent, craft and science together in a rich civilization.

The hospital of Venerables was from Baroque a retirement house for elderly priests and boasts an stunning architecture in his church.The building is articulated through a beautiful interior patio .

For the past few years has the Velazquez Center , a collection of Baroque painting about 3 paintings of this painter from Seville.

Apart from diving into the seventeenth century, the Foundation Focus Abengoa revitalizes the culture of this city today with this essential exhibition..

This church is especially famous for hosting two Easter brotherhoods: the brotherhood of Christ of Love and Jesus of Passion.

Both have carvings of great value due to the prestigious Baroque sculptors Juan de Mesa and Juan Martinez Montanes.

The church is located in the square of the same name. El Salvador is a Baroque church built in the early eighteenth century and was completely restored a few years ago. It offers one of the most richly artistic heritage of Seville.

Until September 15 have the opportunity to visit at night the terraces and also the crypt. These guided tours under the name Sacred Footprint, they are held in groups of 10 people.

To get to know more: http://reservas.cubiertasdelacatedral.com/

The tradition tells that it was theEnglish pirate Francis Drake who captured three thousand sherry boots that became very famous in the British court for the first time.

In the eighteenth century British businessmen settled in Jerez and found their land was ideal for growing vines , there the famous Sherry wine became popular . Wineries of British families proliferated : Garvey, Williams, Osborne or Byass … exporting their prized wines to the British Isles and they would display in the world.

Today wine cellars are one of the economic pillars of this city . And it has been named 2014 European capital of wine .It has more than 1 million annual visitors , attracted by the fame of its wines . At the level of well-known French and Italian wines , Jerez offers culture and a product of high quality

This leads us to recommend the tours, walks and visits to first thing in the morning. Before 11 in the morning it is a pleasure to walk around the neighborhood of Santa Cruz, few visitors, narrow and mysterious passages, reminding the Jewish past in their streets. Enjoy the silence and the sound of water in the fountains.

When night falls it’s the best time for a refreshing drink at one of the terraces, most of them with the “mist” system recently installed.
We propose a stroll around the shopping area, that Sevillians call “the center”, with pedestrian streets covered by awnings and take a refreshing mojito in “Mushrooms” popular name for Metropol Parasol in the Square of Encarnacion, geographical center of the ancient city and point reference of the city, combining tradition and modernity.