Circus Maximus
Rome • Italy

From: Rome Travel Guide

See also: Colosseum

Circus Maximus, Rome, Italy
The Circus Maximus ( Circo Massimo ) is an ancient Roman Stadium that was considered to be the largest Circus in Rome and was used chariot racing and for other entertainment such as battles.

Built around the 6th century BC, the Circus Maximus is situated in between the hills of Palentine and Aventine and in its day would have held well over 250,000 spectators who would come to watch often as many as 12 chariots race at great speeds around the track.

The chariots themselves would have been driven by charioteers who would have drawn either four horses (quadrigas) or two horses (bigas), with each of the races lasting for 7 circuits of the track.

The track was divided by a spina which was a raised platform that went diagonally across the stadium and on which there were several statues of gods. At either end of the spina was the turning point which was called a meta.

There were several Obelisks on the spina, one of which was the Egyptian obelisk called the Flamino Obelisk and which can now be found in the Piazza del Popolo and the other can be found at the Basilicae of St. John Lateran (San Giovanni in Laterano) in the Piazza di San Giovanni Laterano.

After the Circus Maximus fell into disuse, much of the marble and stone that was used around the stadium was used for other buildings.

Attraction Location Guide
The Circus Maximus is just over 1 kilometer away from the Colosseum.