Juliobriga was the most important urban centre in Roman Cantabria, as stated by numerous Latin authors including Pliny the Elder. The site has traditionally been identified with ruins in the village of Retortillo in the municipality of Campoo de Enmedio.

Its founding, during the Cantabrian Wars (29 BC-19 BC), made it a powerful symbol of Roman domination of the tribes of the Cantabri. The city was named after the reigning emperor Augustus and his adopted family name, the gens Julia, with the Celtic toponym element -briga, common in Iberia. Due to its strategic location in the Besaya valley, it was able to control trade between the Douro river and the Bay of Biscay. Juliobriga grew slowly, reaching its peak between the end of the 1st century and the early 2nd century AD. Following that, its population began to decline, until the city was completely abandoned in the 3rd century.

The ruins of Retortillo were first identified with Julióbriga in the second half of the 18th century by Enrique Florez. Numerous historians and archaeologists have worked on the site since, including some of Spain's foremost.



Your name


Founded: 29 BCE - 19 BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Spain


4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

H J (2 years ago)
Don't bother unless roman ruins are your thing! Closed for lunch between 2 and 3.
Michael Magerkurth (2 years ago)
Really nice experience...adventure, great walking area and fun emersive location. The keeper, coordinator...was super helpful and passionate about this location and surrounding region...he was the perfect host for this experience.
Jim Crowe (3 years ago)
A reconstruction of a Roman villa adds to the actual remains. Climb the steps of the later church for a panoramic view. You can ring the bells too (quietly!).
Gary Crutchley (3 years ago)
We enjoyed the guided tour of the house/museum as well as the surrounding area. Combine this with visits of other tourist attractions in the area (nacimiento del Ebro, castillo de Argüeso) and you have a great day out for all the family.
George Mountrichas (4 years ago)
It’s ok... Church was closed. A nice stop, if you are driving to a nearby place.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Trencín Castle

Trenčín Castle is relatively large renovated castle, towering on a steep limestone cliff directly above the city of Trenčín. It is a dominant feature not only of Trenčín, but also of the entire Považie region. The castle is a national monument.

History of the castle cliff dates back to the Roman Empire, what is proved by the inscription on the castle cliff proclaiming the victory of Roman legion against Germans in the year 179.

Today’s castle was probably built on the hill-fort. The first proven building on the hill was the Great Moravian rotunda from the 9th century and later there was a stone residential tower, which served to protect the Kingdom of Hungary and the western border. In the late 13th century the castle became a property of Palatine Matúš Csák, who became Mr. of Váh and Tatras.

Matúš Csák of Trenčín built a tower, still known as Matthew’s, which is a dominant determinant of the whole building.