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Circus of Maxentius

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The Circo di Massenzio (Circus of Maxentius) is situated in Rome and is the best example of all surviving Roman circuses.

It was built for want of Costantino in 312 d.C. the reason probably being the death of Massenzio in the battle of Ponte Milvio. However, seeing as the excavations have never revealed traces of the sand which should have covered the track, it is presumed that the circus was never used.

The building is 513 metres long and 91 metres in its widest point. From the statues of the divinities present, it is presumed that at the origin of the shows there were religious ceremonies.

In 1825 fragments were found with a dedication to Romolo, son of Massenzio. This allowed the identification of the whole complex.

It is said that in the centre of the circus there was the Obelisco di Domiziano. This was recovered by Bernini and situated on the Fontana dei Fiumi in Piazza Navona.

The Circo di Massenzio, together with the Palace and the Mausoleum, constitute a structural complex that was conceived and realised using the opus vittatum technique which alternates bricks and tuff.

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