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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Construction of the Circus Maximus is believed to have been in the late 7th or 6th century B.C. It was originally made mostly of wood and had a capacity of approximately 145,000.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.

You'll find it hard to believe how much there is to do at Circus Maximus. Here are some ideas to get you started:

If you'd like even more options, peruse our Rome things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around Circus Maximus


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Circus Maximus

See all 11,273 Properties near Circus Maximus
Hotel Quirinale NT$2,578
Hotel Quirinale

Hotel Quirinale

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

    Located in Repubblica, this family-friendly Rome hotel is steps from Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, Via Nazionale, and Via XX Settembre. Via Veneto and Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore are also within 10 minutes. Repubblica - Opera House Station is only a 2-minute walk and Barberini Station is 8 minutes.

    47 Boutique Hotel NT$4,792
    47 Boutique Hotel

    47 Boutique Hotel

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

      This family-friendly Rome hotel is located in the historical district, within a 5-minute walk of Mouth of Truth and Tiber Island. Imperial Fora and Colosseum are also within 1 mi (2 km). Circus Maximus Station is 13 minutes by foot and Colosseo Station is 16 minutes.

      Best Western Plus Hotel Universo NT$2,439
      Best Western Plus Hotel Universo

      Best Western Plus Hotel Universo

      Via Principe Amedeo 5/B, Rome, RM
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Rome City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Baths of Diocletian, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, and Palace of Expositions. Repubblica - Opera House Station is only a 4-minute walk and Rome Termini Station is 5 minutes.

        Hotel Artemide NT$4,011
        Hotel Artemide

        Hotel Artemide

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

          Located in Repubblica, this spa hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Baths of Diocletian, Trevi Fountain, and Spanish Steps. Roman Forum and Villa Borghese are also within 1 mi (2 km). Repubblica - Opera House Station is only a 4-minute walk and Barberini Station is 8 minutes.

          NH Collection Roma Palazzo Cinquecento NT$5,239
          NH Collection Roma Palazzo Cinquecento

          NH Collection Roma Palazzo Cinquecento

          Piazza Dei Cinquecento, 90, Rome
             
            5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Esquilino, this hotel is 2.1 mi (3.3 km) from Circus Maximus. Rome Termini Station is only a 3-minute walk and Repubblica - Opera House Station is 6 minutes.

            iQ Hotel Roma NT$2,446
            iQ Hotel Roma

            iQ Hotel Roma

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

              Located in Repubblica, this hotel is steps from Teatro dell'Opera di Roma and Via Nazionale. Via XX Settembre and Piazza della Repubblica are also within 5 minutes. Repubblica - Opera House Station is only a 4-minute walk and Barberini Station is 9 minutes.

              Hotel Raffaello NT$1,726
              Hotel Raffaello

              Hotel Raffaello

              Via Urbana 3/5, Rome, RM
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Monti, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and Teatro dell'Opera di Roma. Via Nazionale and Via XX Settembre are also within 10 minutes. Cavour Station is 5 minutes by foot and Repubblica - Opera House Station is 8 minutes.

                Hotel Colosseum NT$1,808
                Hotel Colosseum

                Hotel Colosseum

                Via Sforza 10, Rome, RM
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Monti, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, and Via Nazionale. Roman Forum and Colosseum are also within 15 minutes. Cavour Station is only a 4-minute walk and Vittorio Emanuele Station is 11 minutes.