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The Circus Maximus – Once the Largest Stadium of Imperial Rome

Today, the Circus Maximus is little more than a grassy esplanade, situated behind the main area of The Roman Forum and Coloseum, alongside the Via dei Cerchi.
Said to have been built in the 7th Century BC, the famous venue gained its real fame from the chariot racing and mock battles staged during the reign of Julius Caesar and onwards until about 550AD.

The huge grandstands could hold up to 300,000 Roman spectators in one sitting, with extensive betting on the outcomes of the fights and races taking place.

The Circus Maximus   Once the Largest Stadium of Imperial Rome

The arena had a central, dividing, barrier (The Spina) and several devices for keeping times and lap counts. The Emperor Augustus built the Imperial Box, under the Palatine, and added several obelisks that are now featured in other parts of the City.

To visit the Circus Maximus you can use the Metro (Line B, Circo Massimo), and it’s easy to combine this with sight seeing at either The Coloseum or The Roman Forum. The banks of the River Tiber are also nearby, and you could cross the river via the Ponte Palatino on your way towards The Vatican.

Although you’ll only see an oval outline, this still evokes images of intense competition and rivalry that are a contrast to many of our other recommendations, and is a sight you really should see when you travel Rome.