What and where to eat: best restaurants near Circus Maximus
Looking around for the best restaurants near Circo Massimo? this is the article for you.
Enjoy this area, is very beautiful if you want to go for a walk. You can also stay in the park with a book all day long, certainly there are a lot of bars and paninerie where to eat.
In my opinion, one of the best bar here is Bar Bistrot Gusto Massimo (Via del Circo Massimo 5), here you can have a panino or a sandwich or just a coffee.
However, you can even have lunch sitting at a table and enjoying the view of Rome.
If you’re looking for a place to have dinner or lunch, but you’re sick of pasta and pizza (strange but could happen), you can go to 0,75-Zerosettantacinque (Via dei Cerchi 65). Here you can enjoy the best hamburgers of this area, the staff is very friendly and the prices are not too high.
In conclusion, I recommend you a very good place, a little bit fancier offering traditional Roman dishes: Alvaro al Circo Massimo (Via dei Cerchi 53). This is one of the best restaurants in the area. Do not miss their best recipe, the Amatriciana and the Lasagne, definitely worth the visit.
A little bit of history about the Circo Massimo
The Circus Maximus (in Italian Circo Massimo) is an ancient Roman chariot racing stadium in Rome.
Located few steps from the Colosseum, Aventine hill and Mouth of Truth. It was a mass entertainment venue located in Rome.
Situated in the valley between the Aventine and Palatine hills, it was the first and largest stadium in ancient Rome and its later Empire.
Impressive its measures, 621 mt (2,037 ft) in length and 118 mt (387 ft) in width. The stadium could accommodate over 150,000 spectators. Its name talks, Maxuìimus means “huge”, the biggest.
The actual shape follows more or less the old one, but nothing remains of the marble decorations, the tribunes, the shops and fortified walls that used to sourrond it. During Imperial time there were two huge Egyptian Obelisks in the middle of the track and several little temples.
Mainly this stadium was for games and challenges, shows and feats. Most important were the chariot and horse races. Often, chariot races were guided by slaves, challenging against others to be rewarded with freedom.
This place is legendary since the earliest years of Rome. It seems to be that exaclty here happened the event of the Rape of the Sabines. The sabine were a group of women coming from Sabina (a still existing northern area, not far from Rome), invited to assist public games at the Circus and abused there. The reason of this crime, was Romulus’ plan to give a bigger legacy to Roman citizens providing new brides.
After the 6th century, the Circus fell into disuse and decay, and was quarried for building materials. The lower levels, ever prone to flooding, were gradually buried under waterlogged alluvial soil and accumulated debris. Therefore, the original track is now buried 6m beneath the modern surface.
Mid 19th century workings at the circus site uncovered the lower parts of a seating tier and outer portico. Since then, a series of excavations has exposed further sections of the seating, curved turn and central barrier but further exploration has been limited by the scale, depth and waterlogging of the site.
The Circus Maximum Today
In spite of its actual condition, spoiled and looking like a field, it became the model for circuses throughout the Roman Empire.
One of the Obelisks (From Ramses II) is now in Piazza del Popolo. Pope Sixtus V, the one of the Sistine Chapel, wanted the obelisk re -sited there, at the end of the Via Sistina. Certainly to celebrate his restyling of the City in XVI Century. Probably he didn’t expect , erecting the obelisk could be so complicated. But they succeded at the end.
The circus site is now a public park and it often hosts concerts and meetings.
When to go
The perfect periods to come and see the Circo Massimo are two:
Firstly, during winter, especially during Christmas holidays, because of concerts, meetings and parades. Mainly for New Year’s Eve.
Secondly, is May/June, for more or less the same reasons: concerts, demonstrations, meetings.
In addition, in summer or spring this area is really really beautiful and has a very romantic atmosphere, with all the trees with flowers and the first summer fruits, everything is green.
Sun starts to go down very late so you can enjoy every single moment here in this amazing park, included a stunning sunset. Then, you can go for a romantic dinner in one of the best restaurants around.
How to reach Circo Massimo
Circo Massimo is very very easy to reach, because here arrives the subway, more precisely, the B line (the blue one). So if you are close to a subway station, you can’t get lost.
There are even some buses you can take, like for example number 75 from Termini, or the tram number 3.