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Circus Maximus highlights

October 29th, 2007

rome circus maximus_5Outside Circus Maximus
Most of Rome’s ancient sites are within a square kilometer of each other. I include Circus Maximus on this list. Here, you’re just around the corner from an entrance to the Palatine archeological site. It’s well worth the admission price because the structures have been nicely preserved so you get an idea of how the ancient Roman Senators lived. The Palatine hill also looks out over the city for some great photographs, particularly of the Colosseum. The cheap tour of the surrounding ruins lie below the hill, along the dusty tracks leading through the Roman Forum, the civic and governmental center of ancient Rome.

Up the street is the Colosseum (believe me, you can’t miss it). The frightening length of the line moves quickly, but try to get there very early in the morning, or later in the afternoon if you have only a day or two in the Rome. The Colosseum interior has been updated in recent years to include a museum that highlights the ancient decorations that once adorned the arena, with murals, busts, and finely carved columns. When I first toured the Colosseum in 1983, these pieces were housed in other museums scattered about Rome. Having them on site now gives visitors a better appreciation for the original grandeur the Colosseum projected.

Just east of Circus Maximus sit the historic Sanit Giovanni e Paolo and Saint Gergorio Magno churches, two fine examples of Roman renaissance architecture. Further along Viale Spellman avenue stand the Villa Celimontana within its ornamented gardens.

Two blocks west of Maximus is the Tiber River, along which you can walk for miles. And for my odd list of Roman sites and restaurants, jump to the Rome city page.

Directions to Circus Maximus
Circus Maximus has a subway stop, “Circo Massimo” (on the blue line route), across the street from its west end. This is the Piazza di Porta Capena, a huge connection between six roads. The north-south street, Via di San Gregorio, leads up past Palatino, alongside Costantino’s Arch, and on to the Colosseum. All of these sites are within a few blocks walk.

Rome’s subway system is easy to use and a fast alternative to walking to the major tourist sites. From almost anywhere you stay in Rome’s hotels, hostels or short-term apartments, you’ll not be far from a subway stop.

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