Baetulo ‘In vino veritas’
Roman Amphiteatre in Badalona. Xavier Estruch / Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 2.0
Baetulo was founded ex novo around 100 BC as one of the first colonies of Hispania Tarraconensis. But it was largely in the time of Augustus that it became a prosperous city on the Mediterranean coast, famous for its production and exportation of wine, as evidenced by the wine amphorae from Baetulo found throughout the Empire. Today, the remains on display of this Roman colony, which gave rise to the current Badalona, are some of the best preserved of Catalonia.
With the first official excavations, in the first third of the 20th century, the first finds began to appear. However, the museumisation of the city’s Roman heritage began in 1955, when the baths of Baetulo were discovered in a wonderfully preserved state. The Museum of Badalona was built on top of these baths and was opened in 1966.
After the reforms carried out in 2010, this premises displayed, in a circular route of over 3,000 m2, the baths (preserved in their entirety), the decumanus and cardo maximus, with a complex of houses (insulae) and shops (tabernae), as well as the remains of the sewers. The route takes in the permanent exhibition, which includes pieces such as the Tabula Hospitalis. The jewel of the Museum, however, measures just 28 cm high: it is the Venus de Badalona, one of the most important female representations from Catalonia. The sound effects, the lighting and the elements of historical reconstruction complete the space allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the world of ancient Baetulo.
Other elements from Roman Badalona that can be visited are the House of the Dolphins (with high-quality mosaics and remains of the original wall paintings), the Garden of Quintus Licinius (with the remains of a Roman swimming pool) and a stretch of 38 metres of water conduit with a barrel vault, which provided drinking water to the houses, the fountains and the baths. These demonstrate the heights of splendour the city had reached.
Plan your visit
What can I do?
With the guided visits to the Museum of Badalona, you can discover the main areas of Baetulo.
Badalona holds the Magna Celebratio festival on the last weekend in April. In addition to the historical reconstruction activities, there are open days of Roman heritage and the opportunity to visit those spaces that are usually closed to the public such as the House of Ivy, the Roman Theatre and the remains in the Plaça de la Constitució.
Baetulo Virtual 3D
The virtual historical representation of Baetulo in the first century AD.