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Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo)

Wander this tranquil park, which was once home to the largest entertainment complex in ancient Rome.

Now a long grassy expanse, Circus Maximus was once a colossal sporting venue providing entertainment to the inhabitants of the ancient capital. Stand in the middle of this vast open park and imagine the speeding chariots that once raced around the track.

Construction of the Circus Maximus is believed to have been in the late 7th or 6th century B.C. It was originally made mostly of wood and had a capacity of approximately 145,000. Under the rule of Julius Caesar, the stands were changed to stone to prevent fire damage and the stadium was expanded. The track became 1,968 feet (600 meters) long while the total number of seats was increased to somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000, making it much larger than most present-day stadiums.

The 328-foot (100-meter) wide oval-shaped course has long since disappeared with lush grassland now standing in its place, though it’s easy to picture chariots charging around at breakneck speeds. In contrast, the park now provides a superb place to escape the noise and crowds of the city. Local families and children often come here to rest, picnic or play games. Wander around under the glowing sun, lie in the shade of leafy trees and watch the world go by.

Stroll around the park to where the ancient obelisk still stands. This obelisk was used to mark the first curve on the track. Carry on past this and find a small section of the old stadium. This is all that remains of the original structure, so you’ll have to use your imagination to conjure up an image of how the venue would have looked back when a quarter of the population of Rome came here to be entertained.

Circus Maximus is located just south of the city center between Palatine and Aventine hills, so a visit here can be easily combined with a trip to Palatine Hill, the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Ride the metro line to Circo Massimo station or hop on a bus. There is no restriction on when you can visit and no admission charge.

Popular Activities at Circus Maximus

How about making your stop at Circus Maximus even more unique? Remember to try a few of these things to do:

For many more things to do, check out our Rome things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around Circus Maximus


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Circus Maximus

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Hotel Quirinale $98
Hotel Quirinale

Hotel Quirinale

Via Nazionale 7, Rome, RM
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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    The Hive Hotel
    The Hive Hotel

    The Hive Hotel

    Via Torino 6, Rome, Roma
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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      iQ Hotel Roma $116
      iQ Hotel Roma

      iQ Hotel Roma

      Via Firenze, 8, Rome, RM
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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        Domus Del Corso Flaminio $50
        Domus Del Corso Flaminio

        Domus Del Corso Flaminio

        Piazzale Flaminio 19, Rome
           
          0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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          Domus Del Corso Spagna $45
          Domus Del Corso Spagna

          Domus Del Corso Spagna

          24 Via del Corso, Rome
             
            0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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            47 Boutique Hotel $213
            47 Boutique Hotel

            47 Boutique Hotel

            Via Luigi Petroselli 47, Rome, RM
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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              Hotel Artemide $149
              Hotel Artemide

              Hotel Artemide

              Via Nazionale 22, Rome, RM
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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                Hotel Duca d'Alba $78
                Hotel Duca d'Alba

                Hotel Duca d'Alba

                Via Leonina 14, Rome, RM
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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