Circo Massimo, or Circus Maximus, is the location for this weekend’s concerts. Will you be there?
In the centre of the city situated between the Aventine and Palatine Hills, two of the Seven Hills on which ancient Rome was built (and ideal spots for watching an open-air concert if you don’t have a ticket, I’d have thought), the Circus Maximus was primarily used for chariot racing and is immortalised in the classic film Ben-Hur. The last chariot race is recorded as having taken place here in AD 550.
Once the ancient city of Rome’s biggest stadium with capacity for about a quarter of its population, with expansion it remained the Roman Empire’s largest; in its heyday measuring some 620 metres long.
At the height of the Roman Empire’s power, constructed out of marble and stone, this is how Circo Massimo is believed to have looked with tiered seating running the entire length of its oval circuit.
Archaeologists continue to discover Roman artefacts here, so please treat this UNESCO World Heritage Site with the gentle respect somewhere of such historical and cultural significance deserves. Although numerous concerts – including Live8 Rome, in 2005 – and mass gatherings to celebrate recent sporting triumphs have been held here, the site now functions largely as a public park and is more used to welcoming joggers and dog-walkers. Another special site where rattling of locks should be done with great care, then.
Wishing everybody fortunate enough to be in attendance a wonderful couple of nights in Rome. Enjoy.