Measuring more than 2,000 feet (610 meters) long and 387 feet (188 meters) wide, and capable of holding an audience of 150,000, the Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo) was built on the plain between Aventine Hill and Palatine Hill in the sixth century BC. Five centuries later, Julius Caesar gave the venue its distinctive shape—especially suited to chariot racing. The stadium was enlarged repeatedly over the next several centuries, and Emperor Trajan completely rebuilt it in the early second century. Its last recorded use dates from the sixth century, after which the site fell into disuse and became a public park.
Today, as one of the most important sites dating from imperial Rome in Italy’s capital, the Circus Maximus is best visited as part of an Ancient Rome guided tour, which also includes skip-the-line access to the underground chambers and arena inside the Colosseum and the ruins of the Roman Forum. You can combine private Circus Maximus visits with an Aventine Keyhole tour, for the iconic view of St. Peter’s Basilica through the famous garden door.