Greco-Roman Catalunya: Three Cultures in Ancient Spain


June 29 - July 9, 2016

Raymond L. Capra, Ph.D. Seton Hall University program of Classical Studies

This trip will visit Catalunya, Spain to explore the development and interaction of three distinct cultures, Iberians, Greeks and Romans. Iberia became part of the greater Mediterranean world with the arrival of the first Phoenician traders who come to south in the late ninth/ early eighth century BCE. The first Greek traders were there by the middle of the eighth century. In the early sixth Greeks founded a small city on the northeastern shore of the peninsula, always called by the name which connotes it mercantile origin, Emporion. In the late third century BCE this city becomes the entry point for the Roman conquest of the Peninsula at the onset of the second Punic War.
Our tour will begin in the lovely city of Girona, which was originally an Iberian hill town until its conquest by the Romans. To commence our study of antiquity we shall visit the Archaeological museum of Girona, housed in a twelfth-century church and cloister; the next day the cathedral of Girona, seated upon the foundations of the ancient Roman temple, an early medieval ‘Arab’ bath complex. The following day we shall visit Sant Martί d’Empúries, then the ruins and site museum of Empúries, the site of the Greek polis and also the Roman town. The region is rich in Iberian sites, and we shall visit the most impressive of these, Puig de Sant Andreu (Ullastret) with its massive fortification walls and museum. The following day we shall make our way to Barcelona with a visit along the coast, Mataró (Roman Illuro), with a visit to the city’s museum and the Roman villa of Torre Llauder, upon entering Barcelona we shall first visit the MAC, the archaeological museum of Catalunya. The following day in Barcelona (Roman Barcino) we shall walk the Gothic Barrio, the old part of the city and visit the Museum of City History of Barcelona containing the remains of a Roman street corner, the Roman necropolis and the city’s cathedral, Santa Eulalia, dedicated to an early Christian martyred by the Roman governor. Monday upon leaving Barcelona we shall visit a spectacular late medieval monastery, Santa Maria del Poblet, the burial place of the kings of Aragon, after lunch in the medieval, walled city of Montblanc we shall then continue on to Tarragona visiting a Roman aqueduct on the way.

The final four days shall be spent in and around the city of Tarragona, Roman Tarraco the capital of the province and long the most important city in eastern Roman Hispania, with one day a visit to Lleida (Roman Ilerda). Our visit includes the aqueduct, the circus, a forum, amphitheater, the biblical museum and Cathedral and cloister—built upon the Imperial Roman forum, the paleo-Christian necropolis and the archaeological museum of the city. Outside of the city we shall visit a Roman triumphal arch built on the Via Augusta, a Roman funerary monument, two Roman villas, and a rock quarry from antiquity. In Lleida we shall visit the Archaeological Museum and then the Seu Vella, a glorious medieval cathedral, and the 12th century castle atop the city’s acropolis.
The lunches are multi-course Mediterranean affairs at selected restaurants with fine wine (if that is desired). In the evening there will be ample opportunity to enjoy the rhythm of Spanish life and culture.

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Possibility of bus transfer from Barcelona airport to hotel in Girona

June 29, Wed. Day 1: arrival day at hotel in Girona by 1:30

2:00 PM: Walking tour and visit to Girona Archaeological Museum
Welcome dinner in Girona
Overnight: Giron

June 30, Thurs Day 2: Girona

AM: Arab Baths
Museu del Ciutat of Girona
PM: Visit to Girona Cathedral and the treasury therein
Overnight: Girona

July 1, Fri. Day 3: Empúries and Ullastret

AM: Bus to Empúries (Greco-Roman ruins)
Site museum and tour
PM: Ullastret (Iberian fortified hill-town)
Site museum and tour
Overnight: Girona

July 2, Sat. Day 4: Barcelona

AM:  Museum of Matarό
Guided tour of Roman Villa of Torre Llauder
PM: MAC Barcelona
Overnight: Barcelona

July 3, Sun. Day 5: Barcelona

AM: Museu del Ciutat
Temple of Augustus Pillars
PM: Cathedral and Cloister of Barcelona
Overnight: Barcelona

July 4, Mon Day 6: Monastery of Poblet and Montblanc

AM: Bus to Monastery of Santa Maria del Poblet
PM: Visit Montblanc
Visit Roman Aqueduct
Bus to Tarragona
Overnight: Tarragona

July 5, Tues Day 7: Tarragona

AM: Roman Colonial Forum and theater remains
Archaeological Museum of Tarragona
Roman Circus and Tower
Roman Amphitheatre
Overnight: Tarragona

July 6, Wed Day 8: Lleida

AM: Bus to Lleida
Church of Sant Laurenc
Museum of Lleida
PM: Seu Vella of Lleida (Old Cathedral and Castle atop city’s acropolis)
Overnight: Tarragona

July 7, Thus Day 9: Tarraco Imperial

AM: Museu Biblic
Cathedral and Cloister
Paleo-Christian Necropolis

July 8, Fri. Day10: Tarraconensis

AM: (in bus) Torre dels Escipions
Roman Arch of Bera
Roman Villa of Els Munts
Roman Rock quarry, El Médol
PM: Roman Villa of Centcelles
Farewell dinner in Tarragona (Sadoll)
Overnight: Tarragona

July 9, Sat. Day 11: Depart for USA

AM: early bus to airport in Barcelona

Price: $2,375.  Single Supplement $400.

Price Includes:

  • Hotels (2 and 3 star and centrally located in each city)
  • Air conditioned motor coach throughout Catalunya, Spain
  • Entrance fees to sites and museums
  • Local guides
  • All breakfasts
  • Lunches June 30 to July 8
  • The welcome and farewell dinners

Not Included:

  • Airfare to and from Spain
  • Dinners except for June 29th and July 8th