The Circus Maximus archaeological area has finally opened to the public. The huge structure, originally meant for ancient Rome’s shows, is now ready to unveil its secrets after an impressive renovation project, in which environmental reclamation and an innovative museum-experience approach have given the whole monument new life.
Pompously described by Pliny as “the fitting site for the people who won the world, as much of a sight as the shows that will be presented inside it”, the Circus Maximus is 600 by 140 meters – making it one of the largest entertainment buildings of all time. Nestled between the Palatine and Aventine hills, it had been built first of all for the people, who as Juvenal stated, “desire and long for two things alone: bread and circus shows” – the “panem et circenses” that have become synonym with superficial appeasement for the masses.
The Circus Maximus saw centuries of chariot races like the ones popularized by the 1959 epic historical film “Ben Hur”, whose violent scenes were filmed in another part of Rome, where the Tor di Valle racetrack was being built at the time. There were also gladiator fights, triumphant events, religious processions, exotic animal hunts, theater shows, and public executions. All for an audience of up to 250,000 people, crowding the steps.
Enjoy the show!
From November 17th to December 11th: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm (last entry at 3pm).
From December 12th: Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 4pm (last entry at 3pm); Tuesday to Friday only by appointment: please call +39 060608