30 Nov 2016
Posted in Archaeology, History

What a circus.

After seven years of excavation and restoration, Rome has a new draw: the 2,800-year-old remains of the Circus Maximus, once the largest and most impressive entertainment center in town. Close by the Colosseum, the newly-reopened site brings into focus just how citizens of the Roman Empire spent their leisure time.

Visitors can now climb marble stairs that once led 250,000 Roman nobles, proconsuls, and plebians into the giant stadium to attend chariot races, religious and triumphal processions, staged hunts, and even public executions. Wander through remains of shops, taverns, and brothels that serviced crowds at the monumental stadium, and see betting stalls where Romans placed their wagers before races.

Archaeologists discovered other ancient artifacts during the excavation, including more than 1,000 bronze coins from the third century A.D., fragments of gold jewelry, and a piece of a glass goblet with gold tracery depicting a race horse named Numitor. They also unearthed the remnants of a vast triumphal arch dedicated to Emperor Titus in recognition of his conquest of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

Archaeologists say there is plenty more to unearth in and around the site, including the original chariot race course, which is currently buried 30 feet underground.

For information about a visit to Italy, contact Peter Delgado at pdelgado@rcrusoe.com or call 888-490-8015.

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