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.

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

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

George Mountrichas (21 months ago)
It’s ok... Church was closed. A nice stop, if you are driving to a nearby place.
Petr Shirshin (2 years ago)
Interesting place, worth visiting enroute.
neurq2007 (3 years ago)
Not much to see really, but you can ring the bell
Jose Javier Fernandez (3 years ago)
Very historic place in a beatiful setting. Staff is very educating.
Jeroen Mourik (4 years ago)
A rather nice replica of a Roman house based on the ruins next to it. The introduction video gave a good introduction to the Roman occupation if the region and some info on the archeological finds of the site next outside.
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