Rome Sights

Circo Massimo (Circus Maximus)

  • Between Palatine and Aventine hills Map It
  • Aventino
  • Archaeological Site/Ruins

Published 03/30/2016

Fodor's Review

From the belvedere of the Domus Flavia, you can see the Circus Maximus, the giant arena where more than 300,000 spectators watched chariot races while the emperor looked on from this very spot. Ancient Rome's oldest and largest racetrack lies in a natural hollow between two hills. The oval course stretches about 650 yards from end to end; on certain occasions, there were as many as 24 chariot races a day and competitions could last for 15 days. The charioteers could amass fortunes rather like the sports stars of today. (The Portuguese Diocles—one of many such "miliari"—is said to have totted up winnings of 35 million sestertii.) The noise and the excitement of the crowd must have reached astonishing levels as the charioteers competed in teams, each with their own colors—the Reds, the Blues, etc. Betting also provided Rome's majority of unemployed with a potentially lucrative occupation. The central ridge was the site of two Egyptian obelisks (now in Piazza del Popolo and Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano). Picture the great chariot race scene from MGM's Ben-Hur and you have an inkling of what this all looked like.

Sight Information

Address:

Between Palatine and Aventine hills, Rome, Latium, 00153, Italy

Map It

Published 03/30/2016

Advertisement

Map View

Map of



What's Nearby

  • Sights

See all sights in Rome

Add Your Own Review

When did you go?

Minimum 200 character count

How many stars would you give?

Experience

Ease

Value

Don't Miss

Advertisement

No Thanks

Love To Travel?

Get FREE e-mail communications from Fodor's Travel, covering must-see travel destinations, expert trip planning advice, and travel inspiration to fuel your passion.

Thank You

Now sit back, relax, and check your inbox to start planning your next travel adventure.

Please tell us more about the type of travel you're interested in. Check all that apply.