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Circo Massimo

Circo Massimo (90)

You might be disappointed if you were expecting to see the large remains of a Roman circus, because the truth is that all you will find is a large area of grass in an oval shape.

Once there, you have to use your imagination and think that you are in the place where the largest stadium in Rome was built. Think about the fact that it was here where the mythical horse-drawn chariot races were held, so well represented in the mythical film “Ben Hur”. Occasionally, gladiator contests and public executions were held here as well.

The Circus Maximus was the size of a football pitch and there was room for around 300,000 spectators who sat on the wooden stands of its three tiers.

The stadium experienced several changes and extensions during its history. For example, Augustus added an imperial box and the obelisk that currently stands in the Piazza del Popolo. Emperor Caracalla also enlarged it, while Constantine built a second obelisk, today placed in the Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano. 

The Circus Maximus was used until 549 AD, and later gradually fell into disuse, until becoming the large plain of grassland it is today. Nevertheless, archaeologists say that if it was excavated, one could still find the remains of the doors and the central spina. 

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